The Vision Code: In Search for the Golden Ratio of Vision
Vision is a key leadership skill that can be developed
Writing a book is an exploration of new terrains. It is about exploring solutions to grand problems or areas of business that not been much explored before. Writing a book is a journey to self and to the minds and hearts of readers.
Here I have an interesting observation. What I have done to a book matters a lot, but what matters most is how the book or this journey impacted me.
A few months ago, I finished my latest book, The Vision Code, which is published by Wiley in January.
This book impacted me more than anything else I have done in my life before.
It took a bit more than a year to put pages together. At the same time, this journey is much longer as I was looking for answers to simple, yet difficult questions for many years.
What vision is? How a strong and compelling vision comes? Or What stands behind that ‘Aha’ moment? What common leadership and personal traits are shared by visionaries? Where execution loses vision? If we consider vision as a mental or psychological construction then what elements of it are the most critical? How do visionaries prepare or reinvent themselves to make a vision a reality?
The most important question I raised to myself is – How to turn vision into a practical business tool and make it assessable to many leaders across the globe?
So, I set myself for a search for the golden ratio of vision.
Life does not matter without a purpose. Life is meaningless and our obligation is to make it meaningful, whether we talk about personal life or business.
There are millions of not happy families. There are millions of businesses that are meaningless and they are dying as insects because leaders are not thinking about making their businesses meaningful.
The difference between meaningless and meaningful and valuable for you and others is VISION! I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to be.
If you have no vision, why are you here? If all you are doing is eating, breathing, and going about daily tasks then what kind of value you bring to this world.
We are living in a time of leadership blindness. Less than 0.1% of leaders have a vision. So, the vast majority of leaders are not leading people. We hardly know where we lead ourselves and others. We think about the past a lot, we think a bit about the present, and we think very little about the future.
Modern leadership depends on vision and direction. If we are getting better with a direction, many still struggle with vision thinking it unnecessary or that it is beyond them.
When there is no vision, no amount of effort or money can help. With vision, real change can be achieved. The world is conquered by visionaries and surrenders its advantages and opportunities to them unconditionally.
Having a vision is like looking at the present from the future’s standpoint. Being a visionary is similar to putting your own signature on the future while being here and now. A visionary defines how soon the future reality will come. In this sense, vision is like a time machine.
We can even think about innovation, sustainable development, or simple life happiness without vision. We need to have a clear vision to master the future.
What is important to consider that vision doesn’t have gender, nationality, or age. Vision is not for a selected few.
Vision… we consider vision as a gift, something mystical, given, and not accessible. We see it as something very unconscious. As Carl Jung said – ‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate’.
I’m blessed to be in one room with the global visionaries and thought leaders. In a search for the answers, I had incredible discussions with nineteen exceptional visionaries from across the globe, top global thinkers and CEOs from the USA, UK, Canada, Russia, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, and India.
These nineteen visionaries allowed me to reveal how they think and act on their visions. I share their incredible stories and very practical views in every chapter of The Vision Code.
I’m very grateful to my respondents – Marshall Goldsmith (#1 Leadership Thinker in the world; Martin Lindstrom (#1 Branding in the world); Garry Ridge (Chairman and CEO of WD-40 Company); David Katz (Founder and CEO of Plastic Bank); Stuart Crainer (Co-Founder, Thinkers50); John Spence (one of the top 100 business thought leaders); Feyzi Fatehi (CEO of Corent Tech, Inc.); Olga Uskova (President and Founder of Cognitive Technologies Group); Mark Thompson (World’s #1 CEO Coach, 30 Global Gurus, and a Venture Investor); Asheesh Advani (President and CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide); Adam Witty (Founder and CEO of Advantage Media/ForbesBooks); H.E. Ms. Sania A. Ansari (Chairperson at Ansari Group Ltd); Thomas Kolditz, PhD (Executive Director, Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University, Brigadier General (Retired); Prof. Amit Kapoor (Chairman of Institute for Competitiveness, India); Alex Goryachev (Managing Director at Cisco Innovation Centers, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “Fearless Innovation”); Noel Ferguson (Founder and Executive Chairman of Institute of One World Leadership (IOWL); Prof. Nabhit Kapur, Psy.D (Founder of PeacefulMind Foundation); Raphael Louis (Leader and President of the National Coalition Party of Canada (NCPC); Dr. Babalola Omoniyi (Founder and Executive Director of Pan African Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (PALEDEC).
Vision is an aspiration for the future that we strive to make a reality today. Vision is a future reality created today for the benefit of others. Vision is accessible only if you prepared to think beyond the present and is a process of creation.
Vision is greater than an organization, is greater than a person himself. So, it is not a statement crafted during a Board meeting. It is a force that created within you – and powerful enough to make a positive difference to the world.
Vision is not a gift what is often believed. Vision is the six-step process. I explain this process in my forthcoming book, The Vision Code, in which I cracked the code of vision, demystified it, and presented vision as a practical business tool.
I call this six-step process – CAVIAR
Clarity of Creation
Vision comes when your conscious awareness of a problem you want to solve reaches its peak.
So, it doesn’t come overnight. It is not about you walk down a street and a strong vision comes to you for no reason. It takes time and effort.
Vision grows from the deepest aspirations which become a very focused solution to a grand problem.
It must be well supported by the ability to manage it. So, Ability.
Vision is much greater than you or your company. A leader must be capable to lead his vision and grow with it.
You nurture and develop this competence through five critical elements:
- courage to think differently and boldly
- learning, as you must learn all the time to be able to give people more and manage more complicated tasks
- you must grow your inner excellence as leading is not a physical work but psychological
- you must be confident and credible, which is about how you deliver promises to others/ without credibility your vision wouldn’t have this magnitude
- knowledge bank, or consistent engagement and contribution of all involved in terms of growing your vision strong.
Vision is pragmatic and must be fully functional and executable.
There is no such thing as a weak vision, this is more of an illusion if it is not fully functional. Every strong vision has six firm criteria – stimulus, scale, spotlight, scanning, simplicity, and excitement and passion.
Vision reflects the highest purpose of leadership – acting for and with people, and care for their needs.
In personal or business life, if we don’t see others benefiting from the future that we envision for them then it is not a vision. It must reflect a value created for people involved in the course of our lives.
Without stimulus, the vision collapses immediately because it is not grounded to people and their desires.
Vision should be of great breadth and depth and must have a potential for extension. Vision never leads to or accepts a dead end.
Scale is simply about adding value and exploiting opportunities that come as vision grows. Scale is about the ever-growing impact of a vision.
In simple terms, vision doesn’t have a period at the end.
Scanning is vital for listening to pain points, spotting trends, and seeing where and how value can be added.
Visionary leaders see what other people don’t see. You catch and fix your eyes on things like – here is painful, here is very good, here is tough, here is a change needed. Attention to these signs and clues helps to craft the most effective path to success.
Vision assumes responsibility, immediate and extended because of its impact on people’s lives.
Why spotlight and what is it? Business success begins with responsibility. Visionary Leadership is like being on Broadway for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with a spotlight on everything you do. A visionary leader’s duty and responsibility is to help people become the best version of their selves.
Vision is elegant thinking about complicated things. Great vision is genuinely easy to understand. A vision is not a vision unless it’s understood. Simplicity lets people believe in vision.
Actually, all visionary leaders are big on simplicity and clarity. They are simple in speech, in life habits, in enjoying life, in interacting with people, and about themselves.
Simplicity raised to the level of art defines their exceptionally structured thinking. They don’t beat around the bush but get straight to the point.
Excitement and Passion
Vision is a strong emotion itself. Excitement and passion give an emotional power to a vision.
I know from my experience, these strong emotions have woken me up in the middle of the night, driving me to take notes or make me desperate to find someone to talk about my vision.
Actually, passion is a very serious business itself.
Influence is about communicating and sharing vision. What’s the difference between communicating and sharing? We communicate facts and we share stories and emotions.
For a vision to become influential, we need both – communication and sharing.
People love hearing stories but what they love more, they want to be a proud part of that story.
The true magic in communicating vision lies in the ability to encourage ownership of the vision in others. The ownership of vision can be defined by realizing who owns the results of the vision.
Acting or Executing
Vision stands and lives on acting. Without execution, vision is another dream only. It demands strong leadership – strong culture, effective communication, focus and will, enabled decision-making, and high quality and clear metrics.
Strong leadership is not about consensus. It is about showing people their place in that prosperous future that we strive to create together and lead them there.
By the way, your vision will be judged based on your promises and people’s expectations.
Therefore, it is not about pleasing everyone but delivering your promises to take people into that promised prosperous future.
The higher we climb, the further we see and the more opportunities we can explore.
Vision is like a movie or a novel. It’s every stage has a sign – to be continued. Vision dies if not developed further.
I share different questionnaires and self-assessment forms throughout the book that you can use immediately. The findings discussed in The Vision Code were tested in the businesses in the USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Switzerland, France and Russia and proved exceptionally effective.
Vision is the core property of those who are shaping the future today and we can’t ignore it without ignoring future prospects; whether business or personal.
I invite you to join me on this journey in search of the golden ratio of vision regardless of whether you are a mature leader or at the first stages of your growth.
The reward will be not just a well-crafted vision but the ability to lead others in making that vision a reality.