Study after study has shown that one of the most essential traits of any leader is the ability to cast a vision. Not only does it inspire others to follow, it points them in the right direction.
A clear vision is at the center of any high-performing team and is the basis for strategy. Without vision, the people perish.
When crafting a vision, consider the following sights.
What does the future hold for the industry?
In the early days of personal computing, Microsoft’s sole goal was to put “a computer in every home.” They clearly envisioned a world where personal computing technology became ubiquitous.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates dared to dream. He envisioned what life might be like if everyone had a computer at their fingertips. He envisioned moms taking conference calls from the car, students doing their homework on tablets, and professionals collaborating in real-time on digital documents that included spreadsheets and presentation materials. He could describe a world that had been reinvented by the personal computer.
Foresight provides a glimpse into the future. It requires imagination and creativity and is borne out of a broad understanding of industry trends. It helps the entrepreneurial leader to paint a picture of what can and will be.
What about our organization will help shape the industry?
Apple has always envisioned a world where users love using technology. Yet, they have painted a picture of technology getting out of the way to the greatest degree possible.
Apple founder Steve Jobs fought the status quo. He painted a picture where technology was simple to use and intuitive. He imagined a world without instruction manuals, where small children could use technology by simply picking it up. He realized that Apple’s creative core was significantly different than their engineering-oriented competitors and he saw how Apple could push the industry to be more aesthetically pleasing by leveraging this asset to its fullest potential.
Insight provides a glimpse into how our organization will participate in the future of the industry. It is borne out of a deep knowledge of an organization’s assets and how they can be leveraged to bring about foresight. It helps the entrepreneurial leader paint a picture of why we are relevant and how we will participate.
How do the unique assets that we have integrate with each other and the rest of the ecosystem?
Uber has reimagined the way people move throughout the world. They clearly see a world where our mobile phones become the hub of transportation and are used to create a more enjoyable experience.
Uber’s founder, Travis Kalanick, crafted a bold outlook. He saw on-demand and reliable pickups. He imagined cashless transactions. He integrated this vision into an already thriving ecosystem. He realized that the ecosystem he developed was valuable to others and he wove his vision into an underutilized portion of the transportation industry (Black Cars).
Cross-sight provides a glimpse into the ecosystem. It is borne out of a deep understanding of your own differentiated assets and a broad understanding of the industry. It helps the entrepreneurial to paint the picture of how the vision will interact with the rest of the world.
Vision evolves – it becomes more clear, if you will – over time. As an industry changes, so does the reality of the future. As an organization matures, additional assets can be leveraged for ultimate impact. As an industry evolves, additional integration points may arise. But, as the vision evolves, it continues to pull a company. It is the magnetic force that pulls us.