This week, Jarvis discusses what it means to be a Visionary Strategist and why it’s so important for companies to have one like him on their team. Listen and read below!

Interviewer: Hi, Jarvis how are you?

Jarvis Jones: Excellent.

Interviewer: All right, we’re going to talk a little bit today about what it means to be a visionary strategist. You pride yourself a lot on being a visionary strategist so just tell me what that means.

Jarvis Jones: For me, it means being able to see how things will “unfold” before they unfold — whether that consist of a particular situation or determining how to avoid or resolve a yet to occur problem —  such as future potential problems or challenges. And so for me, being a visionary strategist involves a  few different moving integral parts.

One, it’s being able to visualize and understand the landscape conceptually if you will, from ten thousand feet. Secondly, being able to drop down to different levels including ground level and see and understand how the different moving parts are related. in the analogy I gave, being able to identify the overall landscape, while at the same time being able to identify the individual and specific trees from the forest. Continuing with the above analogy, it is being able to visualize big picture from a bird-eye view and then being able to change gears and drop down to the tree-line view level and understand how the trees pond,  walking trail all come together and seamlessly create natural’s balance and harmony.

In essence, determining at the very beginning of an organizational initiative, how to move the organization (or, a project) from Point A to Point Z. To do so, you must be able to conceptually see the unspoken moving parts of an initiative, knowing how those pieces work and  “fit together”; knowing how to move and drive those moving the part to a successful conclusion.

Interviewer: Yeah, well, tell me why it’s important to have a visionary strategist on your team.

Jarvis Jones: Well, first, many people have an idea and some even come up with a great idea.   However, there’s a huge difference between having a great idea and being successful in organizationally implementing that great idea,  product or service.  The ability to understand the dynamics and the challenge required to make a great idea or even a good idea into a reality is where a  pragmatic visionary strategist l can assist in bringing that great idea into fruition.

I distinguish between a visionary, a strategist or a visionary strategist.  You have some individuals who are visionaries, and some [who] are strategists. Then, there are some individuals who are able to combine these two related but distinct skillsets called a visionary strategist, i.e., someone who’s able to conceptually see down the road and then develop a practical and pragmatic plan for how to successfully get from Point A to Point Z.

It is quite common to have someone who is a visionary to see clearly where an organization needs to go but might not clearly know know nor understand what proverbial levers to pull to move the organization from concept to successfully implementing, building and then managing that great idea as an initiative.

On the flip-side,  you have some individuals who are very good near-term or short-term strategists, but they may not be very good at seeing things much further down the road, say at ten thousand feet or, also how the many unconnected organizational parts are connected and intertwined.   Thus, a visionary strategist is someone who’s able to look t far down the proverbial road and make a reasonable estimation about what a business’ future needs will likely be and how to move that business in that direction given the reality of that business’ strengths and limitations.

Interviewer: Right! So, you mentioned that a visionary is someone who might see a really really great picture, but not quite know how to get there. So if you had a person like that on your team who’s a visionary, how would you get them to develop that strategist part?

Jarvis Jones: Well I don’t…I have to tell you honestly. ,  Look at people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they were definitely both visionary strategists.When you look at Steve Jobs — he took an idea or vision for the personal computer and was able to strategically implement it. That’s a visionary strategist. Y With that said, of course, there is only one Steve Jobs and in that sense not the best example of a visionary strategist, but you get the concept of what I am saying. From my experience3, most people are either a visionary or a strategist. So to answer your earlier question, I believe you are either a visionary, or a strategist, but usually not both. I am sure there are a thousand and one exceptions to what I just said. So to teach a visionary or a strategist to be a visionary strategist,  I don’t know how one teaches that…it may very well be possible, just outside my skillset or knowledge.

Quite frankly, many companies do not really want a visionary, i.e.,   someone to figure out how to get all the way from Point A to Point Z. Instead, many organizations are looking for employees to manage short-term projects and senior managers to manage near-term initiatives and executive leadership to manage quarterly financial results.  

I hope that answers your question.  I view a visionary strategist’s skillsets being best utilized in an environment where the organization is in “growth” mode whether that be a start-up company or a Fortune 500 company looking to grow a particular business unit/division, distribution-chain, strategic alliances, new or existing products and/or services.

Interviewer: No you answer my question beautifully, and that was my last one! Thank you so much for your time today!

Jarvis Jones: You’re very welcome.