The business world moves fast – faster than ever before, thanks in large part to new technology and higher expectations from customers in an ultra-competitive landscape. And for leaders, it’s about constantly moving their company forward or being left behind.
Being “in the moment” is crucial, but one key factor separating successful companies from mediocre ones are visionary leaders who can look far ahead, see the change that needs to be made and empower others to make it happen, says Mari Tautimes, a prosperous business owner and author of #KeepGoing: From 15-Year-Old Mom To Successful CEO And Entrepreneur.
“Visionary leaders guide companies to positive change and significant growth with great ideas and long-term decision-making,” she says. “They inspire and empower their team. They unite the company with a powerful common goal that aligns departments and builds strong relationships.
“The vision stems from natural curiosity, a passion for potential, and a quest to improve not only the company but the lives of others. Being a visionary leader is a superpower. It’s being able to envision a future that’s better, possessing the drive towards that, and actively selling others on your ideas. When this superpower is tapped into properly, it can change the world.”
Tautimes offers these tips to become a visionary leader:
Create space to visualize. Tautimes says coming up with a vision, like many creative thinking processes, requires time alone to focus. “It could be getting exercise, sitting at a sidewalk cafe, or any way you can kick-start the creative process,” she says. “Develop a systematic approach to tapping into your vision. Take clarity breaks during the day, where you get away, unplug, and free think about the future and your business.”
Be a risk taker. A visionary leader creates change, and change doesn’t come without risks. Tautimes says such leaders are willing to struggle and step out of their comfort zone. “You need to have a true stomach for risk and not be plagued by this pesky inconvenience to need to know how something can be done,” she says. “You have the belief that it can be done and the team will help you figure out how. You need to keep in mind that achieving the vision and reaping the rewards are worth the pain along the way. Otherwise you’ll stop pushing forward and the dream will die. And when your team buys in and sees you stepping out of your comfort zone, they’ll be empowered to do the same.”
Communicate passionately and listen thoroughly. A visionary leader must communicate the vision with a consistent passion that pulls everyone on board, Tautimes says. But the vision may never be achieved if the leader doesn’t listen to and accept some advice from team members. “A visionary leader doesn’t just stampede through everybody and ignore all the naysayers,” she says. “Without the support of others who can keep the visionary grounded, the project will fail. While visionaries create the ideas that shape the future, there’s usually a huge support system behind them that assists with execution.”
Know your industry inside-out. Being a visionary leader requires curiosity that leads to learning in-depth about their industry, including market trends and relevant data. “A visionary leader needs to gather lots of information, which helps them make accurate observations and define and refine their business vision,” Tautimes says. “They make connections in networking and are constantly gaining knowledge and growing. When the right opportunity comes into their view, they know when to strike.
Set practical goals that motivate the team toward the vision. ”It might take you years to reach your vision, but you have a clearly stated picture of it, and you’re excited thinking about it,” Tautimes says. “To help maintain your enthusiasm and that of your team members, and to continue momentum, set goals along the way that are milestones of progress toward the vision. Define a time frame for those next few goals.”
“Creating a vision for a business and following through on it requires boldness, commitment, communication and boundless energy,” Tautimes says. “Visionary leaders who truly stay focused on the vision while keeping everyone on board and moving forward can see great success.”
Mari Tautimes (www.maritautimes.com) is the author of #KeepGoing: From 15-Year-Old Mom To Successful CEO And Entrepreneur. She rose from administrative assistant to CEO of her family’s businesses and sold them for $16 million. An entrepreneur for over 20 years, Tautimes is a speaker, trainer, EOS Implementer® and mentor, sharing her story of perseverance and success to help others create fulfilling lives.