Do you remember the last time you’ve asked yourself this?
Ambition is realised by using your vision and thinking long term.
And the thing is: people with a really strong vision are only 4% of the entire population. We thus can’t afford to miss out on real founders.
How to properly assess a founder’s vision?
What is vision?
Vision means a strong intuition on how things will evolve in the future. People who use vision have no idea where these clues come from, because it is an intuitive and irrational ability.
Visionaries often put hard facts aside. They may say DVDs are a thing from the past and will soon become obsolete, even though DVDs are still selling everywhere. They can point out what will replace our current reality.
They’re not always right about the future, but they always think long term, which is key for an ambitious startup.
They are excited about the future because they have a sharp vision of who they want to become. You may hear them say things such as “when I’m rich” or “when we’ve done that, we’ll have huge headquarters on the Champs Elysées”.
Who they want to become drives their ambition, as well as patience, confidence and a real hustle ability.
How to assess a founder’s vision?
When meeting a founder, you may recognise vision by looking for these patterns:
- They have a sharp vision of where they want to go
- They’re better at having an idea for the future than figuring out a path to get there
- They prefer overseeing their company than working towards small details and execution
- They have an idea of their higher self and are working towards a personal transformation to become that
- They tend to struggle with how best to express their ambitions. It’s clear for them but hard to explain
- They need a sense of deeper meaning, purpose, direction in life. When doing anything, they search for the reasons why
You may use these patterns by asking these questions:
|Question to ask||What to look for|
|Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (Professionally or personally)||Is this answer a generic one or do they have a clear idea of where they want to be?|
|What’s your ideal self? Who do you want to become?||They should have a vision of who they want to become. Find how they’re using their vision|
|What do you think of your market, what are the mistakes of your competitors?||If they have a strong vision, they will think their competitors have outdated ways|
|How do you think your market will evolve?||Visionaries see years ahead. Does the founder you interview answers for the next 5 or 15 years? How far do they think?|
|Have you ever decided to transform or reinvent yourself in order to achieve a goal?||Yes, this question may sound strange. If the founder has a vision, they may instantly understand what you mean, if they don’t, they might not be visionaries|
|Have you made choices in your company’s first days that were useful later?|
For instance, recruiting only Americans because you’re planning on joining the American market?
|Was the founder thinking long term from the start? Visionaries always think long term, so they might have planned what will happen next|
|Why did you choose this name for your company?||Hint on whether the founder is already thinking about future expansion (a French founder might pick an English name if they’re planning on going international)|
An example of what vision can bring to your company
The advantage of thinking with vision is that you’re able to build a new product to replace what you currently have.
Apple built the iPod and a few years later launched the iPhone. That was intentional: the iPhone had an integrated iPod app to replace the iPod. They knew having two devices wouldn’t make any sense.
Today, the iPod is practically dead, because of vision, not competition. Apple killed the iPod themselves with a new product: the iPhone. This what a strong use of vision can bring a company. Of course, Steve Jobs had a visionary profile.
Vision is rare, don’t miss it!
We’ve established how rare visionaries are.
This explains why many big companies are late compared to the evolution of their market while Apple is still ahead: because of vision.
When choosing a founder, you’re choosing which kind of company they’re going to build. Choosing someone who has a strong vision can position the company ahead of competition for many years, just like Apple did.
Don’t miss your next visionary founder/partner, ask them the questions above 😉