It’s an eye chart developed by ophthalmologist Herman Snellen to estimate visual acuity. If you have ever done an eye test, chances are you have seen one. The value of the chart is determined by the accuracy of the output. You should not be diagnosed with a need for glasses if your eyes are good, end vice versa.

This accuracy is determined by one key variable – distance. When taking the test, each patient must stand the same distance from the eye test chart. If you stand closer, you will score higher. Unless you get right up against it so the letters start to blur.

Strategy works the same way. If we zoom too far out from reality, the output becomes less accurate and therefore less valuable. If we get to close to the details, our ability to forecast get blurred by operations and tactical requirements.

The key to accurate strategic diagnosis is getting the distance just right. This is a very tricky balance to strike. Most of our staff are too close to separate the detail from the useful. Most boards are too far removed from reality to provide useful insight.

Find an expert to show you how far away to stand.

Mark Rabe

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