Leading with your vision

October 27, 2020
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Getting continuous feedback is a must. But leading with your vision is even more important.

There’s a fine line to lead with a vision and doing something nobody cares enough to hand over their money to buy it. The difference is timing. If you’re ahead of the market you cannot get reliable information from the market.

They don’t see yet what you’re already seeing. The time lag can be significant and you may run out of money before others align with your view. There’s a great chance that the future resembles your vision but does not rhyme enough to work for your company and product.

When to read weak signals from the market and act upon them or just trust your gut feeling and keep going is something that you have to learn by doing. John Bogle had a vision and it was only years later he learned there was a theory about his beliefs and even after a successful confirmation by academia it still took many decades for his vision to bear fruit in a substantial manner. The name of the book where the story is told? Stay the Course – The Story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution.

Disruptive innovations are unfamiliar, strange and speak a different language. They are foreign with their mindset, assumptions and even the starting point. To accept and embrace them you may need to give up something first.

If you’re not willing to let go something familiar and ordinary, you’re not ready and open to give a chance to the new. It’s harder to be an outlier that does the heavy-lifting of figuring things out by oneself and change the paradigm in one’s outlook.

Many rely on peer confirmation and social acceptance. With new products and radical innovations, these are not available in the early phases. It calls for independent minds that are not afraid to stick out of the crowd and look strange.

Tiny pockets of the future are around us. Some people figure out some aspects of the future faster than the rest of the people. They are the trendsetters, innovators, misfits or just plain visionaries.

When you’re building new innovations the signals the first adapters send may not align with the later early adapters and masses that follow. Their values and motivations may differ so much that there’s not enough common ground to call it the same target market.

Even if you succeed with the very early adapters you may still fail with the mass market.