Why is it important to know if your boss or client is a visionary, strategist, or tactician? The combination of oil and water should give you a hint. Knowing how you and your boss are “connected” is critical. If you are in sales it is especially important to understand the difference because if you approach a visionary in the same way that you would a strategist, it will be more difficult to obtain permission to move forward in the sale. Much material speaks of the “style” of management, but none speaks of the “wiring” of management or the natural inclination that people have that, in essence, determines their style. Without understanding that challenges and frustrations abound in the missing link workplace. Cheer up, you are about to learn something that will change your life.
- Visionary: someone who can see things that others cannot.
- Strategist: highly capable of developing strategies, plans and processes that will achieve a goal.
- Strategist – Very detail oriented and usually asked to ‘make it happen’.
If you search synonyms for ‘visionary’, you will find words like: imaginative, utopian, unreal, impractical. Definitions will use phrases such as: a person who sees visions, a person with keen insight, given to dreams. In essence, a visionary is one who sees things that others cannot.
Pastors, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, and the highly creative (artists, inventors, etc.) are often visionaries. A key distinguishing characteristic of visionaries is the fact that they see the end from the beginning. However, it is also true that visionaries do not see how to get there. Because visionaries don’t see the end as a means, they are often the most frustrating people to work for: they push their staff, go in many different directions at once, start and stop projects erratically, and don’t have a plan on how to achieve the goal. vision. At least, that’s what it looks like to those who are following. In reality, the visionary is just as frustrated as the personal because the vision is there: it can be seen but not possessed.
Every organization or company needs a visionary, but three things are essential:
- The visionary must admit that he does not know how to arrive at the vision (despite thinking otherwise), allowing the strategist to manage that process.
- The strategist must understand how to communicate and work with the visionary.
- THERE MUST BE A PROCESS that guides and directs all efforts and decisions.
If any of the above is missing, the frustration will continue and the manifestation of the vision will be delayed.
The US military is a perfect analogy for how an organization can effectively incorporate the strengths of the visionary, strategist, and tactician while mitigating the weaknesses:
The president can be compared to the visionary. He has a vision for the future of the county.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is the strategist. This team of leaders is in a position to develop the strategy to carry out the president’s vision.
The soldiers are the tacticians. They do not create strategy or question it: they carry it out, ‘make it a reality’.
In an ideal organization or business, the CEO is the visionary, the Executive Leadership Team equates to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the General Staff plays the role of the soldiers. (There are other structures, but this is the general framework.)
Problems arise when people get out of position: the visionary develops the strategy, the strategists judge the vision, and the tacticians question both. The failure of the Vietnam War can be attributed, in part, to a violation of these principles: the vision was unclear, non-strategists (Congress) determined strategy, and tacticians questioned orders. We are still suffering the effects of that failure.
Once the vision is clearly articulated, the best the visionary can do is get out of the way.
“Let ‘me help you – please!“If you work for a visionary, you’ve probably uttered those words at least once (maybe every day). You know where your boss wants to go and you can see how to get there, if he / she gets out of the way! It sounds like You are a strategist Visionaries need strategists, but unless they have mutual respect and understanding of their different gifts, the combination is like oil and water.Your own progress What is a true strategist to do?
As the term implies, a “strategist” is someone who can develop a plan of action to achieve a specific goal. Just as the visionary has the gift of being able to see the end from the beginning, a strategist has the gift of clearly seeing the road map or blueprint to get there. Strategists are naturally gifted “project planners.”
Strategists view projects as a game of chess; They know the end goal, they can see 164 ways to achieve it, and they have the gift of skillfully identifying the best route. Like in a chess game, they intuitively think strategically (if I do this, they will do that; if they do that, I will do this, etc.).
To the strategist:
- Know who should participate
- Understand what resources are needed
- See the sequential steps to be taken
- Easily determine the timeline
- You are motivated to do the job at hand.
As this is a natural gift, a strategist is not always aware that others do not see things the way he or she does. Strategists are not always patient or communicative: they are not usually sensitive to the need to communicate effectively with the visionary in terms that the visionary understands.
Strategists focus on results, they often don’t stop to keep everyone on top of the status because partial completion is, well, it’s nothing to report because it’s not finished. They also tend to handle obstacles rather than involve others. As a result, the visionary feels uncomfortable, not sure that things are going in the right direction, and therefore begins to help direct strategy.
Remember, the root word for visionary is vision. A visionary needs to see, not hear updates. With that in mind, here are some strategist tips to follow that will keep the visionary and strategist happy and on their ‘lane’.
- Schedule frequent updates, always reaffirming your understanding of the vision (even while developing the plan).
- In your planning, identify the key milestones that need to be celebrated AND communicated.
- Use audiovisuals; use graphs, charts, photos, anything that is a visual representation of the information.
- If you are free to make unilateral decisions, immediately inform the visionary of any obstacles you have encountered AND their solution. If time permits (or your structure requires it), provide a “proposed” solution before you act so that your boss has a chance to provide input.
- Don’t assume anything. When in doubt, ask or confirm your understanding.
- Communicate with everyone involved in the project. The last thing you want is for a colleague to ask the boss a question about the project because that will only cause alarm.
- If a problem arises that you can’t solve, be the FIRST to alert your boss. Do not try to fix it without warning of possible danger, delay, etc.
- Always remember, a question about the status of the project is not a question of your ability; it is a red flag that you have not maintained the flow of information properly.
In other words, write the communication with the visionary in your plan; Make milestones, updates, etc. a “pending” item on the list. Communicate excessively. It’s best to be told, “just tell me when you’re done” and then asked at all times or unexpectedly pulled from your project due to a lack of confidence due to lack of information.
A WORD OF CAUTION: If you are a strategist, no matter how clearly you see how to get to the destination, NEVER, never get ahead of the visionary. If you can’t see what you see, WAIT! Remember, it is not your vision. If the visionary is not ready, no matter how close you see it, wait! He / she will catch up and when that happens, move on.
“Too much information, just tell me what you want me to do.” If you hear that phrase, you know you are talking to a ‘tactician’. A person talented in tactics does not care what the vision is, which strategy is the most effective, or what other options are; he simply wants to know what task is going to be done. This does not reflect a lack of understanding or intelligence; rather it denotes the fact that the focus is on getting the job done, period.
A strategist has the gift of taking the “what” and determining the “how.” Once the strategy (the that) is communicated to the strategist, the wise strategist will leave the strategist to determine the best excuse me. Just as the strategist becomes frustrated when the visionary tries to determine what should be done; the strategist becomes frustrated when the strategist determines how it should be done. A strategist is a master of detail.
While the visionary and strategist are long-term thinkers, the strategist focuses heavily on the short term. Thinking beyond the task at hand is distracting. The more detailed the task, the less extraneous information a strategist wants to hear. Tacticians are wonderful additions to a team because when a job is put in their hands, the visionary and strategist can be sure that the task will be completed.
If you are the boss and a visionary, be sure to hire a strategist as your “right hand man.” Strategists must make sure they hire tacticians. However, whatever gift you have, once you determine the inherent traits of those with whom you work, you must modify your communication style to suit their needs if you want to eliminate or minimize frustration. At the same time, if your boss is micromanaging you, ask yourself, “Is it because my boss is a visionary and I’m not communicating properly or is my boss a frustrated tactician?” Once you realize that, your next course of action will be easy.