A. Visionaries see the world around them for what it could be. This outlook may apply to specific aspects of the job,
such as large projects, or to the general landscape of the company. Regardless, the true visionary has three attributes,
and it’s well worth identifying these in yourself:
1. You must have a keen eye for possibility, even when things are difficult, risky, or seemingly impossible. You can look
through the clutter of the present, with its phone calls, emails, meetings, and demands, and see the potential for your
Of course, this vision must have a foothold in reality. Anyone can speculate profit margins that break records, a standing in
the community that’s beyond question, and accolades that come from even the most unlikely places. True visionaries do imagine
these things and use them as guideposts as well as a destination.
2. You must have the ability to create plans to help your organization continuously reach its next level of potential. You
intuitively gauge the if-only quality, as in “We could become the leading producer if only we had enough capital to invest.” Or,
“If only we had more skilled employees we could capture that market in the entire region.” You allow for a high level of if
only because you know that most of them are merely to-do lists you need to fulfill.
Remember, though: if your gut tells you that the if-only are insurmountable, listen to it. Look into the reasons why. Then lead
your group toward removing those obstacles so you can keep moving. Steve Sullivan, a senior vice president at the Liberty
Mutual group, witnessed his company bolt into the Fortune 100 list and secure an impressive presence worldwide in an amazingly
short time. How did they succeed?
Says Sullivan: “ At one point, everyone in our universe was heading into broad financial services, But our CEO and president,
ted Kelly, said taking that direction would distract us from primary objectives. He knew that if you do something really well,
you should do more of that”. So, Liberty Mutual went against the grain and the company realized huge success. Kelly took
risks that were informed by his intuition, his visionary ability. But he supported that vision with a deep understanding of the
3. You must be able to communicate your vision with everyone colleagues, employees, shareholders, and clients so they not only
hear it but also see and experience it on a deeper level. In the process, you’ll fuel their energy ad excitement. You’ll get
them talking and thinking about it, giving their input, and finding ways to get closer to it in spite of the obstacles,
dips, and curves that naturally spring up along the way. In a sense, a visionary is a master at marketing her vision.