Going Deep Can Be Game Changers

I think it was Andy Stanley who advised us to go deep rather than wide. In Stanley’s context he was referring to leadership – put your energy in one area or one individual and really focus on this to make a significant impact.  The opposite, or going wide, is trying to do a little with everyone and everything and the impact isn’t likely to be nearly as profound.

Put another way; focus on everything and you focus on nothing.

I was reminded of this (deep rather than wide idea) when my son shared with me the news that the non-profit where he works (Grace Centers of Hope (GCH)) was informed that they won a contest sponsored by Crain’s Detroit. This contest was for Best-Managed Nonprofit focused on the successful deployment of technology.

I’ll avoid the temptation of telling you how proud I am of my son (well, apparently not completely), whose efforts were integral in developing the technology at GCH that allowed them to win.  But here are a couple of thoughts I had after I heard about the award.

Thought One:  My son put in countless hours working on this – he was focused, hyper focused on this endeavor.   Could he go this “deep” on everything? Nope, that’s impossible.  In fact, much of our time in our jobs is spent going wide.  But the “game changers” are made when we can go deep on an issue…and the truth is the windows of time to go deep are likely limited.  A customer issue that needs to be addressed now, an employee that needs immediate attention, a  rapid change in the market – they don’t wait, you either recognize them and (deeply) address them or you let the opportunity slip away.

Thought Two:  If you are in management – create an atmosphere where new ideas readily incubate and can be discussed without fear of the heavy and judgmental hand of management (i.e., this is no time to be a boss).  Allow employees the latitude to take their skills and passions and go deep when they recognize that window of opportunity is open.  When your employees are free to follow through on their ideas; they benefit, the organization benefits, and the customers benefit.

Congratulations to Grace Centers of Hope and may you continue to foster new ideas as you carry out your mission.

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