Be An Action Hero – Vision Mastery: 5 Disciplines and 3 Steps

Hack #2 in our series – 5 Disciplines and 3 Steps to Vision Mastery


Life would be simple (maybe) if we were all Lara Croft or James Bond.

We’d know the correct temperature for chilling fine champagne. We’d know the caliber and spin rate of every handgun. We’d always win at cards. We’d always get the girl (or guy as the case may be). We’d always know exactly the right thing to say at any time, generally with a bit of wry humor. We’d make decisions unemotionally.  We’d always shoot straight, use martial arts as needed, handle mountain roads at 100 miles per hour and arrive perfectly tailored to the evening’s event. We’d win every challenge. We’d do it all with charm, grace, and style.

Yes, that would make life pretty simple.

For the rest of us though, the challenges of leading a company can be daunting. We’re expected to be Mr. Bond or Ms. Croft. Investors expect it.  Customers expect it.  Our teams depend on it to always lead in that cool, calm, collected way that makes them feel more secure. Sometimes, our families expect it too.

And the funny thing is that at times we play the role perfectly.

The bad news is that we aren’t action heroes. You can’t be perfect at all times. You won’t know every answer to every problem.

But here’s the good news: There’s a tried-and-true method for being effective as a Vision Master  (CEO, Founder, Innovator Superhero) which I’m going to share with you. Master this one thing and you’ll seem like James Bond or Lara Croft to your stakeholders.

Can you guess what that one method might be?

Well, think about it for a moment. I’m leading this series on Life Hacks for Vision Master (CEOs and Founders) by sharing this one “Uber Method” that can help you consistently win battles,  First, let me lay out the general structure of what I plan to share with you in this series over the next several weeks . . .

The Vision Mastery that you need to develop falls into a few discreet disciplines:

1 – Funding and Finance

Great Vision Masters understand exactly how their companies make money, what it costs to make that money and grow, how cash flow is impacted by growth and when capital injections will likely be needed. They also master the pitch to acquire capital.

2 – Leadership (Team Building, Culture, and Corporate Governance)

Here, Vision Master leadership includes team selection and delegation, hiring, team communication, defining and managing corporate culture, corporate governance, interacting with your Board, understanding stock ownership, valuation and issuance of a variety of stock classes. Leadership also has an ontological component — how you “be” with respect to people, challenges, crises and in good times.

3 – Marketing (Sales, Marketing, Distribution, and Communication)

Successful Vision Masters know how to effectively sell the company’s products or services, including personal selling, branding, marketing, and scaling. As the public face of the company, they are also competent in public speaking and have their finger on the pulse of all company communications, including blogging, writing, webinars, infomercials, press releases, websites — to ensure a consistent message is delivered to all stakeholders.

4 – Innovation (Product Development and Pivots)

Mastery of this category requires a commitment to disruptive thinking, creativity, lateral thinking, problem-solving, agility, pivots and an understanding of how each of these processes relates to company finance. Many Vision Masters naturally gravitate to this category, but fewer have mastered the relationship between product development and innovation on the one hand and financial realities on the other.

5 – Operations (Service, Logistics, Facilities, Accounting, and Manufacturing)

The best Vision Masters employ the latest processes to foster good decision making, time management, project management, setting/achieving milestones, KPI analysis, financial management (both personal and business), facilities management, supply chain, manufacturing processes, and customer service. Here, I’ll give you a clue about the “Uber Method” I’m going to introduce you to shortly: It is here, more than anywhere else, where the most successful Vision Masters find, hire, learns to trust and delegate authority.

Vision Mastery as a way of life is important as well, including things such as:

  • Sharpening the saw (practicing continuous improvement)
  • Paying it forward (commitment to community, nation, world, spirit)
  • Personal (balancing work with recreation, maintaining good health, deepening/nurturing relationships)

Never said it would be easy.  Scaling an innovative business is a huge challenge for any person.

As I said earlier, if you were James Bond or Lara Croft this would all be a piece of cake. But since you’re not, this may look like a daunting list of things to master.

Fortunately, you’ll have the following 3 Uber Method steps to help:

  1. Gain basic competence in the business disciplines above. “Basic competence” is defined as follows:  just enough to hire an expert COMPETENTLY.  This will allow you to understand how each of the disciplines is part of a larger whole that comprises the business (and your life). Once you have that understanding you will be able to take the key action that will simplify your life.
  2. Hire Area Masters.  Hire people who know more than you know, have more experience than you have in each area. Then delegate authority to them to take leadership and responsibility for those mission-critical duties.
  3. Then hire an overall Execution Master to manage the team. Your Execution Master may of course also be the master of one of the disciplines.

Think of it as akin to the rings of power in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Each ring was given to one race on Middle Earth that excelled in a particular skill or had a particular attribute. But the ringmaster fashioned another ring to rule them all. You’ll be the ringmaster, the CEO, the Founder, perhaps the Chairman or Chairwoman of the Board. But you’ll rely on the specific expertise of your five ring bearers to get the job done in their area of expertise.

When you master the basic fundamentals of each of the five disciplines, you will be positioned to hire great Area Masters to lead the way within their area of highest competence. As they succeed, the company will prosper and you’ll seem like an action hero to the outside world.

In coming weeks we’ll dive into each of the five key business disciplines in which Vision Masters need to achieve basic competence, plus the three categories relating to your personal life, so you can create your dream team and lead it effectively to succeed. We’ll do it through Life Hacks — shortcuts to get you where you need to be quick.

Are you ready for that mission 007?

Key Takeaways:

  • The world expects leaders of innovative companies to be perfect in every situation
  • That would be simple if you were an “action hero”, but nobody is that perfect
  • Fortunately, you can seem like an action hero if you master a handful of basics
  • You need to know just enough find, hire and delegate responsibility to Area Heroes.
  • Find, hire and delegate overall team management to an Execution Master.
  • Then make sure your team is ALWAYS moving in the direction of your vision.
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