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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Tech and Innovation - Three Types of Visionaries

Tech and Innovation

Three Types of Visionaries

Elon Musk

Who am I? What do I do? Where do I lead my people? These three are from the list of most important questions any true leader should ask themselves. These questions are particularly crucial when it comes to visionary leadership. Simply stating – ‘I’m a leader’, or, ‘I’m a visionary leader’ is too general. 

Vision is a space of value that is clearly defined by a visionary leader’s promises and doesn’t tolerate vagueness. Therefore, what you do for people as a visionary leader should be clearly defined.

There are three types of visionary leaders – inventors, space creators, and people visionaries. Think where you are, or aim to be, in one of these three types.

Inventors 

There is a common belief that visionaries are only those who invent something. Some types of technical geniuses with screwdrivers or keyboards who aim to turn technologies into practical solutions. This is true. Inventors are disruptors of reality whose role is to come up with innovations that serve humanity, creating something that was unthinkable before. 

John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper of Motorola come up with the first handheld cellular mobile phone in 1973. In 1974, two computer scientists Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn invented the Internet communication protocols. Today, we can’t imagine our lives without the Internet or mobile phones. 

Feyzi Fatehi, the CEO of Corent Tech, is a technology visionary and inventor of the modern SaaS (Software as a Service) enablement and operations technology that is now used by businesses across the globe. His vision was to “Democratize SaaS” in an absolutely cost-effective way and instead of spending years of programming, do it in a matter of hours or days, and therefore empower a new generation of SaaS entrepreneurs.  That vision has become a reality. What Corent’s team has done is considered by some as the first-ever major disruption in the history of the software industry – turning software into a consumable, commercial service without a single line of programming.

Inventors have a vision of how to help people do more, go further, and be more productive. 

Space creators

Our progress is defined by our ability to create new market spaces and how we use upcoming opportunities to move forward. Having a vision for a new market space is nothing short of visionary genius. New spaces allow the creation of more value for people and change the way we live. Every new space is a tremendous ecosystem in which many benefit and flourish. 

Electrical cars were invented in the late 19th century. Elon Musk is not an inventor of electrical cars. He is a creator of an e-mobility space in which the rules of how we drive and serve cars are rewritten. 

Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s #1 leadership thinker is the father of leadership coaching.  Marshall created the space of leadership coaching about forty years ago. This market space is growing every year with thousands of leadership coaches helping leaders to become more successful. His vision stands on value to all involved, encouraging more engagement with every communication. Marshall is a creator of a space where leadership got the meaning of growing people, not superiority over them. 

Every new space created by such visionaries is a springboard for a new phase of evolution. 

People visionaries

Acting for people and their needs is the highest purpose of leadership. Vision or strategy without people is only a pile of paper. 

People visionaries are the most overlooked type of visionaries. However, people visionaries have the most long-lasting effect on people. They are grandmasters of people’s growth and care. 

Many remember Jack Welsh, a former CEO of GE. He didn’t invent anything or create a new market space. Jack Welsh had a vision for people and was great at growing them. 

When Alan Mulally joined Ford Motor Company as CEO in 2006, Ford’s stock was trading at $1 per share, the company was going to post a loss of $17 billion (the worst in 103-year history), and worldwide employee engagement reflected that reality. When Mulally retired from Ford in 2014, Ford earned $7.2 billion and the stock was traded at $17, and the employee approval rating was at 91%. He has a profound leadership and management system, “Working Together”, that creates a culture of love by design for people and for the company.

Garry Ridge is the ex-Chairman and CEO of the world-famous WD-40 Company. Garry Ridge led WD-40 Company for more than thirty years securing its global success by cultivating his team which showed the highest employee engagement in the world – 93.5%. After retiring from WD-40 Company, Ridge helps leaders as a culture coach.

People visionaries are even more important today as there are multipliers of human capacities. Even such seemingly traditional industries as oil, banking, insurance, or healthcare are about people, not processes. Success is in people first and foremost and this is why people visionaries are so demanded and regarded. The impact of people visionaries travels the furthest, even across generations. 

Who you are or who do you aim to be? 

Many leaders, particularly young ones, have a misbelief that only inventors are visionaries and that being a true visionary is beyond their capacity. This is wrong. 

Vision is not a gift. Vision is a way of thinking that can be taught. Vision comes from your aspirations and can be created in either of these three areas of visionary leadership, or even two simultaneously. You decide to make an impact and create value for people on a local, national, industry-specific, or global scale. The world needs more visionaries who will make the future bright and prosperous.


Written by Oleg Konovalov.
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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Tech and Innovation - Three Types of Visionaries

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Dr. Oleg Konovalov
Dr. Oleg Konovalov, author of The Fisherman’s Path to Leadership: 224 Lessons From The Wisdom Of Nature and The Vision Code: How To Create And Execute A Compelling Vision For Your Business, is a thought leader, business educator, consultant, and coach with over 25 years of experience operating businesses and consulting with Fortune 500 companies internationally.


Dr. Oleg Konovalov is an Executive Council member at the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.