Today, a colleague sent to me a press release (no link)with the headline, "'Vision' Cited as Most Important - Yet Most Rare - Trait in Corporate Leaders." According to Columbia Business School, polled executives listed 'vision' as an important skill for global business leaders, but there is a shortage of it.Apparently enough so that there is a "vision crisis brewing," as says Ethan Hanabury, Associate Dean for Executive Education. Is it me or does this sound a bit ridiculous?What exactly is vision and how is it measured? It borders on the ethereal, so can it reallybe labeled a skill? No doubt, increasingly, traits that originate from the right side of the brain--empathy, artistry, and seeing the big picture (aka vision)--are playing a larger role in the success of not just leaders but all knowledge workers dodging the bullet of automation and outsourcing. However, it's something you are either born with, or born without. And like a talent, it can be nurtured or cultivated, andimproved withexperience, but unlike a skill you can't attend a company-sponsored vision workshop and expect to suddenly have insight into the next big market opportunity. So if we are indeed facing a "vision crisis" it would be better to find and put individuals with this innate ability in charge rather than think of it as a skill, like programming or throwing darts, that can beacquired through instruction.
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