Who’s the Visionary on your team? Hint: chances are it’s not the leader. Contrary to popular myth, “being a visionary” is neither a prerequisite for leading, nor is it bestowed upon the chosen few as they ascend to their lofty perches above us.
Many Visionaries labor in relative obscurity, often ignored or worse yet, mocked, because of their unique way of looking at the world and the issues in front of them.
If you are leading and are interested in building or creating something more than efficient machine with your team, you are well-served to seek out and cultivate those individuals who are capable of seeing patterns and pictures in the environment that the rest of us miss.
You know these people. They are the ones that sit quietly in meetings while the inane debates rage over how to solve grossly tactical issues and they will occasionally look up and say, “Why don’t we?” or, “What if we did it this way?” After a few moments of silence, someone will usually chime up and say, “Yeah, Mary has a point, what if we..?” With a simple comment or observation, the entire direction of the conversation shifts…often for the better.
Consider this most famous of exchanges:
Lucy Van Pelt: Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by. If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud’s formations. What do you think you see, Linus?
Linus Van Pelt: Well, those clouds up there look to me look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean.