Entrepreneurs and leaders both have two things in common - they have a vision, and they also share a few common frustrations.
Three of them are:
1. Their message often doesn't cut through to the mass audience quickly.
2. People often can't see what they can see in the future.
3. And more often, people don't understand the urgency to take action today - certainly not at the intensity they feel.
However, what leaders want is quite the opposite. The ability to get their message through to the mass audience can move things way faster than what one person at a time can do. Getting people to align with their vision is way more productive and can help move faster towards common goals. And more importantly, if people feel the urgency with the same intensity, it can work wonders at scale.
So here are a few mistakes and some ideas to avoid them.
Try making your ideas or messages layered
Clarity and simplicity are the keys here. When we try to cover everything, we risk missing out on everything. Additionally, having too many things in the message or idea makes it difficult for people to get the point across. Instead, have a layered logical structure that can ease understanding for people with different mental models.
When we try to cover everything, we risk missing out on everything.
Understand the bottlenecks of understanding
Sometimes, our ideas flow like water gushing through the fire hose...there is a lot to digest. But if the capacity of the next person is limited, breaking down ideas without losing meaning or context becomes necessary. I have seen many people who try to perfect their message before doing anything. My question to you and all such people is this - If you were to choose, what would it be - getting at least something through with imperfection or nothing with perfection?
Slowing down and subordinating to the next person's understanding level is not demeaning. It is respectful and empathetic.
Show...don't just tell
We have priorities, and so does everyone else. Just that our priorities may not be the same. And so, obviously, people don't see the impact of 'doing it now.' At times, I would rather wait and see as it feels much safer, better, and more comfortable option than fighting too many things. So, as a leader and visionaries, we must create urgency through movement and experiments. Use them to show, not just tell.
When you run experiments, people can make informed decisions instead of just trying and visualizing what you are saying.
The point is...
All innovations and visionary ideas have the same things in common - they are great and can have tremendous benefits, but they are hard to relate to on the current date.
Powerful anti-stories are also detrimental to what you might be saying. This means you must work on two fronts:
1. Break down your messages and ideas in digestible and spreadable form. Remember - if they can't spread, they won't grow, and so cannot rally any support.
2. It all comes down to the clarity of your idea, your story, and your vision - if you can explain it in writing, perhaps it will be much clearer. Writing is not just about putting pen to paper, it defragments your brain while thinking clearly.
There is one more thing. Try building narratives. Stories and storytelling is becoming commonplace, so people are getting used to them. It also means there is nothing attractive about them anymore. On the contrary, narratives are double-distilled information.
About Visible Founders
Last year I spoke with several entrepreneurs. They confirmed something which I have seen for the past decade and more. Most small business entrepreneurs know what they’re building and why. But it makes it harder as people don’t know about it much. When people took the visibility quiz, it revealed only about 17% of them are conveying their stories effectively.
So to help them do it better, we launched a new project, “Visible Founders.” A first-of-its-kind documentary series to highlight the awesome work founders and entrepreneurs do.
In this photograph: Deepa is sharing her experience with me, while my Asst Director Natalie is on camera.
Just about ten days ago, we finished the filming of this docuseries.
The journey until this point has been fascinating and fulfilling. We are working on post-production and aim to bring you all the episodes in a few months.
And yes, if you are keen on being part of the next season, I’d love you to join the waitlist today and we will be in touch soon.