I hear so many people say “the trouble with our company is that it lacks vision” or “The trouble with him is that he lacks vision” and just as I mentioned in my blog “Who are they”, a few weeks back, this is mostly about blaming everyone else but yourself. “they should have seen it coming”, “They would never allow it”, “they are never open to new ideas”. The same applies to vision and the apparent lack of it.
However it is important that I do not raise your expectations too high here, by confusing ‘eureka’ invention moments with vision. More often than not, it is not the inventor that is the visionary but an ordinary team member that sees a useful application for what they have just invented. In much the same way, leadership vision is not so much about inventing something new but understanding the complexity of the problem and then focusing people to work together, in the right direction, in order to solve it for good.
In this way, with enough time, effort and practice, everyone can become a visionary. It’s just like learning to cook. Here’s how:
Identify two or three things you see around you that you find annoying (this can be anything from an unreliable multifunctional printer to world hunger, take your pick). Imagine ( visualize) what your world would look like if your annoying problems were solved.
Group your problems into clusters and then (the toughest part) give each cluster your ‘vision’ by applying an inspiring title, such as: (for the case of the printer) ‘The paperless office’.
Set up a series of goals (measurable objectives) that could bring this eventuality about.
Give your vision a time frame
At first visionary exercises are extremely difficult, but played out in a group, and with practice, it gets much easier. (The trouble is that we tend to only try these things in haphazard ways, without proper structure and with real life situations that are too close to home, where our emotions cloud the real issues).
When President Kennedy gave his nation nine years to go from nothing to putting a man on the moon and bringing him safely back again, he overtook the short term technological advantage that Russia had over the US. In doing so he turned his nation into the leading technology player in the world, thereby secured its long term financial strength.
Not every vision needs to be a ‘Kennedy’ moment, but vision is vision and just like with any recipe, it needs to have the right blend of practicality (solving a real problem) and imagination.
Have a good week