Vision is identified as one of Matter’s top soft skills that is linked to performance and career success. Contrary to popular belief, soft skills like vision can also be learned and developed just like any hard skills. Matter helps professionals tease out blindspots and areas for growth in skills like vision through regular peer-to-peer feedback.

What Is Vision

Definition of Vision: Possesses innovative ideas about how things can be vastly improved in the future.

What sets dreamers apart from visionaries is the latter’s ability to see the infinite possibility that can become the future and know how to get there. Visionaries are pragmatic and thoughtful. These leaders can rally an entire organization behind a shared vision and chart the best course to success. They are effective at turning an ambitious vision into tangible blueprints that make impossibilities manifest into actions.

Visionaries You May Know

Ginny Rometty: Being at the helm of IBM requires a visionary who can visualize the possibility for a future that is intertwined with technology. In 2013, Rometty delivered a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations sharing her vision for life in a “smart” world, even before the first wave of smart technology like 4G, in-home voice-activated devices, and self-driving cars. Today, smart devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home Mini, and Nest are an integral part of many U.S. households.

Leymah Gbowee: With no political background or position in Liberia, Gbowee had an ambitious vision to transform her nation by working outside of the system. In 2003, Gbowee organized the women of Liberia into a non-violent peace movement that ended the country’s decade-long civil war. Her success shows that anyone with a vision can make an impact, no matter their given role. Gbowee was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in 2011.

Brian Armstrong: Armstrong was among the first to see the potential value of cryptocurrency. He also recognized some problems cryptocurrency faced because there was no easy way for mainstream investors to start getting onboard. Coinbase created a safe environment for investors to begin buying and saving cryptocurrency without in-depth technical knowledge.

Why Vision Is Important

  • Innovation: Adaptive leaders understand that it is better to strike first than to strike back. The ability to anticipate market trends and competition will keep your team and company on top of your industry.
  • Collaboration: Results can be muddled or off-mark when all the team members don’t share the same common goal. Sharing a common vision is vital to team collaboration and success.
  • Motivation: What inspires and motivates your team? A shared vision. Understanding this will enable your team to collaborate and march toward shared goals.

What Vision Isn’t About

  • Perfection: Having a vision of the end goal doesn’t mean you must know exactly how to get there. Being able to find scrappy, unconventional solutions to problems along the way is key to making your vision become a reality.
  • Doing It Yourself: The best results are achieved when groups work together to bring about desired actions. Keeping a monopoly on ideas can limit the team’s effectiveness and morale.
  • Acting Without A Plan: Remember that it’s all a dream unless you provide a workable blueprint to achieve your desired results. Acting on an idea before thinking it through can be a waste of time and resources.

Abilities That Lead To The Mastery of Resourcefulness

Being concise: If you want people to remember your company’s vision, you need to shorten the vision to one to two sentences. Examples: “Starbucks will be the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.” and Pixar: “To tell stories.” .

Continuously share the vision: The primary job of a leader is to continuously communicate the vision of the company. What’s obvious for a leader is often less clear for others as people forget, get distracted, or drift off course. It is nearly impossible to over-communicate the vision.

Inviting participation: Early Google employee Marissa Mayer keeps a sign-up sheet outside her door for “office hours” that she held each day at 4:00 p.m. She gave team members 15 minutes to voice their opinions or pitch new ideas. People want more than a paycheck. Open the door and invite in the ideas.

Selling the benefits: People want to know one thing, “What’s in it for me?” Don’t leave them guessing. Consider sharing what it would mean to them in terms of growth opportunities, promotions, and ideally how they will achieve the mission they signed up for when they joined the company.

Sharing customer stories: Our brains are programmed more for stories than for abstract ideas. Stories can include the real stories of how your products are improving the lives of your customers. Stories can also include personal anecdotes, helping to establish a closer connection between leaders and teams. Stories make connections. Tell more of them.

Sharing progress: Great leaders ensure they communicate and engage people in understanding and executing on their vision. In addition, leaders must share progress towards achieving the vision. Engaged and informed employees are essential to retention and growth.

Sharing the details: Many leaders have a tendency to only share the big picture of an idea because it tends to be more inspiring and exciting. However, sharing the details of a vision is just as important as the picture so everyone knows what they are working towards.

Explore Roles That Benefit From Vision

Who can benefit from practicing vision? Matter is helping professionals at all levels get actionable feedback to improve their vision.

  • CEOs who are looking to become better leaders and cultivate company culture
  • Designers who want to grow their professional and soft skills
  • Freelancers who work without a traditional team and want feedback
  • Project Managers looking to improve their cross-functional collaboration skills
  • Software Engineers who aspire to become a tech lead or manager

Explore Complementary Skills to Vision

Vision shouldn’t be practiced in a vacuum. Improve your vision by exploring and developing these complementary skills.

  • Design Thinking: Utilizes the design thinking methodology to solve problems and create solutions
  • Inclusiveness: Creates an environment that values individual and group differences
  • Influence: Convinces others to listen and do things that positively impact the team or company
  • Leadership: Convinces others to listen and do things that positively impact the team or company
  • Presentation Skills: Delivers effective, understandable, and engaging presentations to a variety of audiences

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