Being a visionary means thinking about the future and taking action to make that future happen. Since every person thinks about the future, being a visionary is a natural skill every person possesses. So the question shifts from “Are you a visionary?” to “HOW are you a visionary?”
When leading teams or even an organization, you will have your preferred style of thinking about the future, but your style alone may not be seeing the whole picture that needs to be considered when initiating something new, better or different. When you understand the diverse ways of thinking about the future and engage the preferred styles of all your team members, you will turbo-charge your ability to not only envision the future, but also take action to make it a reality.
There are four perspectives that people use to think about the future. Using all four Innovation Styles® will boost your ability to envision the “whole future.”
Those who prefer the Visioning style like to imagine the ideal, long-term future and can clearly see it in their mind. They will want to set long-term goals that produce an optimum end result. This style of innovative thinking will help the team think beyond its current boundaries and will make sure they don’t lose sight of the long-term goal.
Those who prefer the Experimenting style see the future as a set of processes and stages and will want to map out how to get from point A to point B successfully. They will want to gather lots of data, facts and research to compose a proven method that will move the new initiative forward. This style of innovative thinking will help the team take risks in stages and keep an eye on verifying key milestones along the way.
Those who prefer the Exploring style are eager to discover new future possibilities. They thrive at helping the team see new and novel ways to do things and will lead the way into uncharted territories. This style of innovative thinking likes a sense of adventure and will help the team explore many unique ways of getting there.
Those who prefer the Modifying style like to focus on short-term, relevant future outcomes. They like to build upon what is already at their disposal and what they can do right now to reach the nearest milestone. This style of innovative thinking will help the team be highly efficient at seeing where improvements can be made to the existing plan or structure.
Where many visionary initiatives fail is when there is not a represented or balanced mix of these styles. When you engage all four styles with your team you can more easily see, plan out, and create the future you are wanting to make happen. Where some may clearly see the long-term future, others will see the steps needed for relevant, short-term progress. Some will be on the lookout for unique opportunities, while others will make sure any risks are taken in verifiable steps. Engaging all four styles will not only bring out the best of your team members, but will also result in a more productive and efficient team.
Watch these videos to learn more about how Innovation Styles® can boost leadership effectiveness: