When you bring up the name Elon Musk with anyone that has any interest in technology or the future, it elicits's some form of a reaction. Some love him for paving crazy and innovative paths to our future with businesses like Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink or OpenAI.
While others despise his expensive ideas like Space travel and often delayed products like the upcoming Model 3.
No matter how you feel about him, there is no denying he is a visionary leader and most likely the best we have living today. Rolling Stone called him, "The Architect of Tomorrow."
There isn't much of a debate that the best leaders are visionaries. They see something that is possible in the distance, something others cannot see, and they communicate a purposeful vision relentlessly to help their team reach it. The key word here is purposeful, Musk said, "I try and do useful things that work, make people's lives better and make the future better."
A Perfect Vision Statement
While I don't think for a second Musk is the best leader walking the earth, (because leadership is about a whole lot more than vision) he did give a perfect vision statement to his team at SpaceX in 9 simple words that we all can learn from:
"We're going to land people on Mars by 2025"
What You Can Learn From It
A great vision statement has a simple formula and Musk nails it. Vision = Clear Purposeful Goal + a Completion Date.
Imagine going to work every single day at SpaceX trying to achieve something as bold and exciting as the vision Musk set out. The only way to achieve it would be to focus on innovation and the process of failing and iterating.
Here are 3 things you can do for both the short-term and the long-term to channel your inner Musk and be a better visionary leader.
1. Define the Vision.
What is a big goal that you see for your team and by when do you want to complete it? Focus on purposeful things that will make a big impact on other people or aligns with you why your business exists. If you aren't the CEO or an entrepreneur you should have a vision for the team you lead as well. While it might not be putting people on the moon it is necessary to keep people motivated and excited to come into work beyond money.
2. Communicate it Relentlessly.
Having a vision that is out of this world does no good if it's not communicated relentlessly to your team. People need to hear it and see it in order for them to take ownership. Communicate your vision to the entire team, then make it visible for people to see it all the time. It could be written on walls in the office, in email signatures, etc. If you only communicate your vision once, it will not get the job done.
3. Work Towards Small Wins.
Reaching a big vision sometimes takes years, if not decades. Always look for small wins on the road to reaching the vision so people know they are making positive progress. Think of it like a Slalom skier. They can see the finish line from where they start but they have to go through flags in order to complete the course successfully. Those flags are small wins to show you are making progress towards achieving the larger vision. No win is too small to celebrate or communicate because the road to get where you are trying to go will be filled with road bumps.