Think like a Visionary
You? A visionary?
Maybe you find it difficult to think of yourself as a visionary. It’s a term reserved for innovators and people with household names, and it’s a label that sounds extremely hard to live up to.
But visionary thinking – or principles of it – can be applied to situations that you face every single day. Inventions, tons of capital, and lab goggles are not required; and you’re instantly more strategic, persuasive and positive when you approach everything the way a visionary would.
Double Vision: Value & Time
To be an everyday visionary, you’ll need to wear two pairs of shades – one to help you zone in on value, and another pair that helps you focus on the future.
Somehow, a misconception about value has creeped into our collective consciousness. Many people hear the word and instantly think it means the cost of something is low, or the price has been reduced. But actually, to measure the value of something, you need to understand how useful it is.
Here’s an example: When buying clothing, if something can be worn (used) more than one way, you can wear it more often. The value of the garment increases because it’s versatile, so you get a lot of mileage out of it; without an increase in price. When software is versatile, application usage increases, and normally more employees require access. Often this means you’ll need more licenses; which increases total price. In this case, the price is higher because of value.
Value is all about usefulness. Ask yourself how whatever it is that you’re evaluating or working on can be applied or utilized, today and in the future. The more practical possibilities you identify, the greater the value. And possibilities help you craft a vision of the future.
Since visionaries have their eye on the future, possibility and potential are important factors when making decisions. That’s where time comes in. How will what you’re working on today be different in 3, 5, or 10 years? What can you do today to future-proof your work?
No one knows for sure what the future holds, but a visionary conducts research (backwards and forwards), uses business intelligence, stays on top of industry trends, looks at roadmaps, and refers to long-term business plans. When determining value (usefulness,) visionaries consider cost and impact over time.
Put it into Practice:
When making decisions:
During the hustle & bustle of the business day, it’s easy to say yes (or no) based on cost alone. When the price tag is too high; it looks complicated; or it will take too much time or resources; we simply can’t afford it. Next.
- Try this instead: Making quick business decisions is often necessary, but everyday visionaries approach decisions more strategically. Ask for real-world case studies that demonstrate usefulness and dispel complexity. When time and resource consumption is an obstacle, there’s probably an app that can help. Research time-saving software solutions that automate complex business processes. As part of any evaluation process, download demos and conduct pilots to uncover hidden value and make informed decisions.
In the midst of change:
Change is challenging, it happens often; and it comes from inside and outside your business. When you’re trying to be productive, fumbling around with new software isn’t exactly fun (unless you happen to work in tech.) Even the most dedicated employees get frustrated outside their comfort zone when operational procedures they know by heart suddenly change. Business leaders, included.
- Try this instead: To combat resistance, everyday visionaries stay focused on value over time (even if they’re struggling with change themselves.) Most people resist change ‘for the sake of change,’ when rationale isn’t clear. To promote adoption, acknowledge change; and help your team make sense of it by sharing the long-term vision. When you and your team aren’t ready, look for training opportunities to prepare everyone for implementations and industry changes that are on the horizon.