High Port, Zoom Out

November 28 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

When we investigate deviations from expected outcomes, it is easy to fixate on who was involved, what happened immediately leading up to the unwanted event, and what went wrong. Context is everything.

High Port, Zoom Out

U.S. Special Operations Forces teach a weapon position called High Port. This is where the weapon's muzzle is pointed up. This allows safer movement in close quarters, prevents friendly fire incidents, allows quicker switching to hand-to-hand combat, and facilitates better awareness because it allows for a better viewpoint of the unfolding situation. When your eyes are fixated on the individual in your scope or sights, that is all that you see — their actions, not what is going around them or why they might behave in a concerning situation. Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter created a dynamic model called the Zoom framework, where she encourages leaders to zoom in to understand details, subtleties and nuances better, then zoom out to make sense of what is going on and get the big picture.

Many things influence human behavior. People do things for a reason. Focus on the reason, not the individual. Keep the tools you use to investigate unwanted events at high port. Zoom in to understand, then zoom out to understand why.

"High port your weapon, take a step back, look around, and all of a sudden, you can see what to do." — Jocko Willink

"Leaders need multiple perspectives to get a complete picture. Effective leaders zoom in and zoom out."" — Rosabeth Moss Kanter

"Zoom in, to get a new perspective. Zoom out, to see we're all connected" — Ringo Starr

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

Subscribe to our newsletter