Seek to Understand 

It is often said that great leaders are those who can articulate a vision for a better future and inspire others to follow.  I believe we often miss the boat understanding how great visions are developed in the first place.  Rarely, are the most powerful visions developed in the mind of one charismatic individual. 

I’m fascinated with the concept of design thinking and its focus on beginning with people in developing a vision for the future.  Too often leaders arrogantly assert that we know what the customer/client/user wants or needs.  We believe that we understand the problem and get immediately to work implementing a solution without considering that oftentimes the perceived problem and actual problem are considerably different.  We become frustrated when our process fails because we started by solving for the wrong problem. 

Organizations can vary greatly, but all have problems and deal with human beings. Customers will buy products or support organizations that solve real problems and not perceived problems.  Failed innovation begins with a vision for the future without seeking first to understand. Great leaders realize the importance of defining the real problem by listening to create a compelling vision for the future.  

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