For Impact


The Altitude Framework

Daily Nuggets | | Tom Suddes

The For Impact ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK is one of our most referenced and utilized tools (by our team, our coaches and our clients) – TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF THEIR GAME!

We use Altitude to order thinking, communications, and storylines. We use it to develop Engagement Tools. And, we use it to think through the Flow of a Visit.

The Altitude Framework works great for Presentations, Agendas, Meetings, Speaking, Strategic Plans and Action Plans.

It’s also a great Framework to respond to questions. “At what altitude is the best or most appropriate response?” And, it’s a powerful coaching model. “Let’s talk about this issue at this particular altitude.”

We have color coded our Altitude Framework (Blue, Red, Green) to lay out our content, our guides and our books. And, it allows us to talk shorthand and reach decisions ten times faster than a normal process.

One of the reasons that this framing device has been so popular is its obvious simplicity. Everyone can understand the hierarchy of WHY, WHAT and HOW and they intuitively get the connection between VISION, STRATEGY and EXECUTION. Following are some ways to help you understand and apply ALTITUDE.

30,000′   View From Airplane A Green Blur Telescope
14,000′   Top of Mountain A Forest Binoculars
3′   Nap of the Earth A Tree Glasses

At 30,000′:

An airplane’s cruising altitude, plenty of blue sky, a great view, etc. At 30,000′, our brain even seems to work better!

At this altitude/level, it’s all about your vision, your aspirations, your raison d’etre. It’s a place to think and talk about your mission, your meaning, your values. It’s a place for Guiding Principles, Big Hairy Audacious Goals And Definite Chief Aims (as Napoleon Hill calls them).

My good friend Christopher Celeste pointed out that leaders and visionaries have the ability to see the horizon. Obviously, you can’t do that from 3’. There’s a good view at 14,000’, but an absolute gorgeous view at 30,000’. You can see the curve of the earth, the rising and setting of the sun. The perspective at 30,000’ is unmatched. This is where you can think about making Steve Jobs’ “dent in the universe”… and dream about CHANGING THE WORLD!

At 14,000′:

It’s the view and perspective from the ‘top of the mountain’. (In the Rockies, they’re called ‘fourteeners’). The air is thinner, raptors soar. If 30,000’ is about vision, 14,000’ is about focus.  A place to talk about Strategic Plans and Business Models and Funding Models, and finding clarity around Priorities. At 14,000′, Everything’s A Project (EAP)! Every project has goals, time lines, a team leader, a team, a budget, constraints, etc.

At 3′:

Literally, it’s ‘boots on the ground’, ‘feet on the street’. It’s tactical. It’s execution. It’s ACTION!

Download our Guidebook for more ‘On Altitude.’