Stepping into the role of Visionary requires working on the business instead of in the business, a concept that’s easy enough to grasp in theory. 

But in practice, most business owners struggle to get away from daily operations of their companies. That’s usually because the company was founded on their unique ability to “operate” in the first place. But that isn’t the same skillset required to run a company. 

Becoming a Visionary requires you to stop valuing yourself based on how much work you do and start focusing on the ideas and innovations you can create. And that shift can generate some serious head trash for entrepreneurs.

Becoming a Visionary requires you to stop valuing yourself based on how much work you do and start focusing on the ideas and innovations you can create.

We spoke with Casey Cheshire about the transition from “operator” to Visionary. Casey is a digital marketing thought-leader and marketing automation strategist who owns Cheshire Impact and hosts the Hard Corps Marketing Show podcast. 

Casey shared openly and honestly about how he’s learned to value the Visionary that he’s become. This piece is developed from that conversation.

The transition from operator to Visionary requires picking your head up from client work and thinking about where you see your company in 3 to 5 years. From the outside, it can look like you don’t DO much. It’s normal to wonder if the ideas you’re generating and the time you spend thinking actually add meaningful benefits (and revenue) to your business. 

As a Visionary, you determine the direction of the entire company. To do that successfully, you’ve got to fully buy into the Visionary role. Here’s how:

(1) Move away from execution mode. Visionary work is more creative and less quantifiable. It’s about exposing yourself to new ideas and making time to think. That doesn’t always look “productive,” and that’s okay.

(2) Build a team you can trust. If you don’t trust your team to run the business while you step back, you’ll never get the clear headspace you need to have your next great idea. You want a team you can hand the reins to as you transition out of client services.

(3) Accept that you’re a mentor, not a friend. As the Visionary, there’s an undeniable power dynamic between you and your employees. That makes it tough to become best friends with your team members, and that’s probably for the best. It can be lonely at the top, but look to entrepreneurial peer groups, not your employees, to meet your needs. 

(4) Protect your time. Unscheduled time inevitably gets sucked up by meetings, emails, or busy work. Build in time for Visionary activities—going for a walk, listening to music, reading a book— and Clarity Breaks by blocking the time in your calendar. 

(5) Make sure your ideas have legs. Today’s entrepreneurial revelation might be brilliant…or it might be garbage. When inspiration strikes, sit with your idea. Write a description that connects it to the bigger picture of your company’s mission and vision. If the idea still holds up, move forward and introduce it to your team. 

(6) Respect the execution process. An idea becomes tangible in three steps: make it up; make it real; make it recur. As the Visionary, you’re responsible for the “make it up” piece, but the other two steps require the help of your team. Recognize that process takes time, and the idea may look slightly different in its final form. 

EOS® and the Visionary Role

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® offers a clear framework to the Visionary role, which gives the position real teeth and keeps Visionaries on track.  EOS also helps turn Visionary activities and ideas into company processes via the company’s Integrator.

Filling the Integrator seat and getting on the same page with that person are critical to running a sustainable business. Your Integrator fulfills several key functions, including acting as a filter for your ideas, being “the boss” inside the organization, and serving as the “make it real” person to help your ideas get traction. 

What kind of results can you expect when you start to value the Visionary role? For Casey, moving to the Visionary seat helped his company double in size the first year he used EOS, and he saw revenue growth of 1300% within 3 years. 
If you’d like help understanding the Visionary role or getting yourself unstuck from operator mode, we can help. Contact us to learn how.

–Eric Crews
Founder & President
Crews Consulting Group 

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