Bringing business leaders’ vision into focus

As a business leader, there are aspects related to your role that you have no problem identifying and addressing. Some people are natural marketers or salespeople, but they aren’t as adept at operations or HR. Some leaders may have high-level technical aptitude but may struggle with the workplace culture piece of their growing companies. For even the most accomplished among us, just as there are certain aspects of business that are seen with clear vision all the time, there are those other aspects that are tougher to get in focus. I see the collection of those assembled responsibilities as the entrepreneurial eyechart.

Just like a vision chart, your responsibilities as a business leader are all right in front of you, but seeing them clearly is another matter entirely. Whereas corrective lenses help our normal vision, a key way to improve your entrepreneurial vision is through business leadership-building activities.

Through those activities, your goal should be to improve how well you see each aspect of your own entrepreneurial eyechart. You’ll be pre-disposed — whether through talent, practice, education or responsibility — to see your eyechart’s top line easily, but there will always be aspects that are a little lower in the order.

Plus, as times change and new practices emerge, aspects that were once in focus for you may now be blurry. The goal isn’t to move them to the top line of the chart but to be able to see them more clearly and with less time needed to focus.

Looking to enhance your own entrepreneurial vision? Here are some activities that have helped the business leaders I’ve worked with at Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence:

  • Peer forums. Connecting with other business leaders like yourself and discussing pressing issues you may be facing in a confidential, collaborative environment helps you see things from a different perspective. Picking up how others in your shoes are approaching situations and considering that practiced experience in your own role helps you develop a full-spectrum view of functions and tasks.
  • Consulting. Learning from and relying on other professionals who specialize in certain operational areas can help you better understand both your strengths and blind spots. With this type of guidance, you can have a directed path to seeing where your business is going.
  • Educational events. Whether from academics, industry-specific thought leaders, or subject matter experts, participating in entrepreneurial educational opportunities helps pull you out of the day-to-day to let you regain focus on a particular topic — and your business overall.
  • Leadership training. Ready to take the next step? Explore cohort-based programs that challenge you to work at a holistic approach to running your business. There are a few local options available, including the IEE’s Entrepreneurial Fellows Class. Each in-depth module in the one-year certificate program covers an essential operational area to help you work on your business, not just in your business.

Having better entrepreneurial vision will help elevate your leadership abilities and your business’s performance. Regardless of how good the members of your team are at their respective positions, continued success requires you to bring more elements of your entrepreneurial eyechart into focus. ●

Bob Stein

Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
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