The most underrated and often overlooked leadership skill is Visualization. Great leaders must have two things: A vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate that vision clearly. Vision does not create execution, but it makes execution meaningful. It is their North Star. For Disney, it is “happiness”, for Amazon, “number of purchases per month”, for Apple- “to be the best”, Airbnb- “night booked”, and Space X- “making affordable space flight a reality”.
Leadership, in many ways is a journey of learning, refining, and applying in a multitude of essential Soft-Skills. Skills like communication, coaching, accountability and relationship building show their importance rather quickly. Others fly under the radar like emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion and positivity that most learn through the school of hard knocks. As important as all these skills are to being a successful leader there is one attribute that most people overlook and undervalue. That skill is Visualization.
When leaders lack vision, it limits results, depletes energy, and creates a culture that struggles to embrace change.
A visionary leadership is inspiring, empowering, and serving in order to elevate others over an extended period of time. It is extremely difficult to create an improved state for a long time without first delivering a vision of a vastly better future than exists today.
The best leaders are visionaries. They have in view what is possible in the future, They have a rough idea how to get there and major challenges that will need addressing. “Vision is the capacity to see beyond what your eyes can see.” Visualization is more of a conscious action, with structure and intention. The secret to successful visualization is to fuel your image with all your five senses to make your image come to life, where you are fully entrenched in your feelings. Visualization plays a crucial role in most of the processes that you can use to influence and reprogram the way your unconscious mind thinks because its primary language is images.
Stephen Covey talks about beginning with the end in mind to start with a clear understanding of your destination, your North Star. It means to know where you are going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction. The successful visualization is to have the end in mind, and not the process. The end goal should be pictured in as many details as possible, including all the senses. Have fun with your visualization, let your creative juices flow and work with your conscious mind to create the magic in your life- “seeing is believing”.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” – Roald Dahl
Shan Shanbhag, Ph.D.
Mentor and Business Development Advisory
Principal, Shanbhag Enterprises