What’s Your Range?

Grammy-winning singer Mariah Carey has a five-octave vocal range.  She can stretch her voice to reach those super-high notes, and she can also swoop way down low to hit those rich, deep tones.

The best entrepreneurs and business leaders have a similar ability: they can zoom out to a 50,000 ft. view of their business, but also have the ability to zoom way down to deconstruct the finest of details.

Steve Jobs was legendary for this.  He had world-changing vision and had the big picture desire to put a “ding in the universe.”  He also had the ability to zero in on the minutia.  He sweated the small stuff.  He would agonize over the tiniest details and knew the intricacies of his designs and his business.

My business partner Dan Gilbert is the same way.  He reinvented the mortgage industry at Quicken Loans and is now rebuilding Detroit into a vibrant, tech-centric city.  Although he has vision to spare, he can break down business problems to a molecular level.  When we consider new startups for investment, he wants to know the big vision as well as all of the littlest elements that will allow an entrepreneur to execute her dream.

What’s your range?  Just being a “detail guy” or a “big picture girl” no longer cuts it.  In the fierce battle of today’s competitive landscape, you need to be able to zoom in and out in order to enjoy the thrill of victory.   If you are lacking one or the other, it’s time to further develop those skills if you want to achieve your full potential.

Now here is the good news: Your range is expandable.  You can train yourself to zoom in or out, and while it sounds cheesy, it all starts with believing you can do it.  Stop focusing on your imaginary limitations, and celebrate your ability to grow.

If you currently have a smaller range, you will take your game to the next level by expanding it.  Pretty soon you’ll win that new business deal, or land that highly coveted promotion.  The more valuable you make yourself, the more rewards you’ll enjoy.  Start pushing yourself to hit the high-highs and the low-lows (bigger, bolder vision and specific, methodical details) and you will rise quickly up the success curve.

The famous opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti grew his range throughout his career as he ascended to world-renowned status.  Expand yours, and you can enjoy a similar level of achievement.  And it’ll feel even better than hitting that high G flat.