Related somewhat to my last entry about courage and taking the pawn early…(and yes, the metaphor of business-as-chess is both useful and perhaps overused)…but bear with me.
I think one of the traits that separates great leaders from merely good ones is an ability to visualize the future. To visualize complex systems and literally what they look like and how all the moving parts inter-relate. With a visual picture in mind–or in plain view–it becomes easier to move an organization to change. I have found, time and time again, that if you can literally get people to see the future you want to create, they have more energy to go build it.
Which brings me to another question: Leaders are trained to be numeric, but not necessarily visual. We can count, analyze, forecast, but we can’t necessarily see. That’s why I’m fascinated by the work of Edward Tufte, who teaches the gift of visualizing information in a way that people can take action on.
You can also read some of my own musings on the topic at the American Institute of Graphic Arts website — click on Launch >>> process of designing solutions. At this URL, you can see how viewing the world through a visual lens can help you solve problems in business in new ways.