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.
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.
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.
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.
Who can benefit from practicing vision? Matter is helping professionals at all levels get actionable feedback to improve their vision.
Vision shouldn’t be practiced in a vacuum. Improve your vision by exploring and developing these complementary skills.