Organizational transformation

Getting a New Perspective

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • In order to change something for the better, you have to know what the original state is.
  • Sometimes the hardest thing to do when you want to improve certain aspects of your organization is to remember to first pull yourself away from what's right in front of you.
  • Getting a clear perspective not only provides you with a better sense of scale (which impacts how realistic you can be in terms of scope), but a clearer picture of how almost nothing works in isolation from the whole.

In order to change something for the better, you have to know what the original state is. This photo of the Earth from the Apollo 8 mission to the moon in 1968, brought to the public eye a new perspective that had never been seen before. Stewart Brand, who put the picture on the cover of his Whole Earth Catalog in the same year (and who ran a campaign prior to the photo called, "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?), had this to say ":

"For the first time humanity saw itself from outside. The visible features from space were living blue ocean, living green–brown continents, dazzling polar ice and a busy atmosphere, all set like a delicate jewel in vast immensities of hard–vacuum space. Humanity's habitat looked tiny, fragile and rare. Suddenly humans had a planet to tend to. The photograph of the whole earth from space helped to generate a lot of behavior—the ecology movement, the sense of global politics, the rise of the global economy, and so on. I think all of those phenomena were, in some sense, given permission to occur by the photograph of the earth from space." (read the full article by Brand here)

Sometimes the hardest thing to do when you want to improve certain aspects of your organization is to remember to first pull yourself away from what's right in front of you. Getting a clear perspective not only provides you with a better sense of scale (which impacts how realistic you can be in terms of scope), but a clearer picture of how almost nothing works in isolation from the whole.

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