Take a drive through the beautiful Western North Carolina mountains, especially around Asheville, and you will see why the city has used the above saying as their tagline.
Chamber of Commerce thinking aside, being aware of your altitude also helps when reviewing your priorities in order to get things done. In order to fully understand your priorities, you need to know what your work is. Using an aerospace analogy by management consultant David Allen in his book Getting Things Done, the conversations you need to be having have a lot to do with altitude:
50,000 feet: Life – this is the “biggest picture” view you can have. Why does your organization exist? The primary purpose for anything provides a core definition of what its “work” really is. All goals, visions, objectives, projects, and actions both derive from this, and lead toward it.
40,000 feet: Three to Five Year Vision – projecting three to five years into the future generates thinking about big categories like organization strategies, trends, and transition circumstances. Decisions at this altitude could easily change what your work might look like on many levels.
30,000 feet: One to Two Year Goals – One to two-year goals add a new dimension to defining your work. Meeting goals and objectives often require a shift in emphasis of your job focus.
20,000 feet: Areas of Responsibility – You create or accept most of your projects because of your responsibilities, which for most people can be defined in ten to fifteen categories. These are key areas in which you want to achieve results and maintain standards. Listing and reviewing these responsibilities gives a more comprehensive framework for evaluating your inventory of projects.
10,000 feet: Current Projects – Creating many of the actions that you currently have in front of you are the thirty to one hundred projects on your plate. These are relatively short term outcomes you want to achieve.
Runway: Current Actions – this is the accumulated list of all the actions you need to take – phone calls to make, emails to respond to, errands you need to run, and the agendas you want to communicate to your boss or team.
Though these altitude analogies are somewhat arbitrary, they provide a useful framework to remind you of the multi-layered nature of your “job” and the resulting commitments and tasks it demands.
Mastering the flow of work at all the “altitudes” you experience provides a “flight plan” that will help you accomplish a great deal and feel good in the process.
Fasten your seat belts and make sure your tray tables are in the upright and locked position –