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Exploration, Focus and Adaptation

June 30, 2015

by Jeanine Izzo

Steve Bike Myanmar

Exploration, focus and adaptation are all important components of progress, yet we can easily get stuck in one mode.  This either prevents us from getting to a desired result (circling in exploration) or it leads us to an inferior result (blinded focus).

Exploration provides a new breath of ideas.  The mere act of wandering, reading, writing, doodling, brainstorming, dreaming, discussing and experiencing breeds a combination of freeing the stuck mind and generating additional options.  This mode keeps ideas and potential solutions coming because one idea compounds on top of, or because of, another.  The number of possibilities helps us determine recurring themes, feel a sense of abundance and an energetic excitement.  Exploration is both necessary and enjoyable when we’re working to get more of what we want.  This applies to achieving business success as well as personal endeavors.  At the same time, it can also create overwhelming thoughts of how to handle the inflow of options generated by you and/or your team’s activity.  In other words, how do you choose what to bring forward?

This is where focus comes into play.  When you want to see movement toward bringing the possibilities to life, select one idea or area to focus on and begin breaking down the ideas to actionable, specific, goals.  This dedication to streamline and create intent to an outcome drives progress…it shapes the idea…allowing you to refine it as you whittle it down by taking away the excess material like a sculptor.  Ultimately, you will generate a piece with greater impact than just the idea alone.  I’ve found this to be true whether working with a team to decide on features for a new product introduction or with selecting a topic as the focus of my next article.
At first, focusing can feel restrictive because you have limited the options.  However, this is where the adaptation mode becomes important.  Just because you choose to focus, doesn’t mean that the spark of new ideas has died out.   In fact, as the work progresses, new options will come to light.  And, just by starting in one area, the path will reveal itself with more clarity.  Adaptation requires flexion and discipline.  Decisions will have to be made along the way related to possible adjustments.  You’ll want to weigh the  benefits to making the adjustment (or switching course altogether) against the drawbacks of leaving it out (or staying the course).
Determining where to draw the line between exploration, focus and adaptation can be a tricky decision, yet it is also necessary in order to further progress.  In the workplace, most times these decisions are driven by a deadline, budgets and/or customer satisfaction.  In personal situations, it’s helpful to set up some check points so that exploration doesn’t become a lingering distraction for progress.
Forward Moving Tips:

Exploration – Options for when you are looking for more ideas.

  • Go somewhere you have never gone before
  • Engage in a new activity…or one that you put on the shelf
  • Put your team on the line…the manufacturing line, or in front of the customer/end-user
  • Take your team out of their environment for a meeting, social event or development exercise
  • Brainstorm ideas by yourself or with others on ways you could explore/innovate more
  • When you are exploring, pay attention and record any resulting fresh perspectives
  • Note: although it may sound counter intuitive, setting a timer (or creating other boundaries) can be immensely beneficial

Focus and Adaptation – Options for zeroing in on an idea with confidence.

  • Understand what ultimate goal you want to acheive through your efforts
  • Review your brainstorm list, categorize related items together, determine where your energy (or the need) resides.  Start there!
  • Take action forward
  • As new ideas surface, allow for a quick evaluation and decision on if/how you will adapt
  • Keep the ultimate goal in mind
  • Note:  In many cases driving to the completion without regard for value can leave your customers, the business and you feeling unfulfilled.  In most cases, increasing usability and enjoyment will be worth some additional effort.

For assistance with moving forward with more focus, confidence and success along your journey,  Contact Viage Partners today.

© Viage Partners 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Viage Partners with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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