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Entrepreneur styles: Planners versus visionaries

2-minute read

Broadly, in business there are usually two types of minds: The visionary entrepreneur and the planner who manages the details. One side is proactive and the other is reactive.

Two sides of a coin

Planners like to organize and create maps, while visionaries like to "float with the wind" to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

Planners set goals and then design and implement tactics to reach those goals. Visionaries, on the other hand, form a vague vision of where they want their company to be, and then drive with extreme passion and nimbleness to make that vision a reality.

Visionary mindset

A visionary entrepreneur is thrilled by the hunt, not necessarily by the results. Therefore, a planner will never change the mindset of a visionary, because the visionary entrepreneur's way of thinking is innate and immutable. It is creative, reactive, often messy and almost anti-planning.

The planner, on the other hand, is more organized and comfortable with details and performance measurement.

Good strategists

Visionary entrepreneurs tend to resist categorization and being boxed into timeframes.

However, they don't necessarily hate strategy; they may simply dislike the minutiae involved in planning. In fact, it could be said that many visionaries are good strategists in that they generally have a vision of where they want to be and a rough mental road map of how to get there.

A symbiotic relationship

For a business to work, the two mindsets must act together in a kind of symbiotic relationship. It is rare for both kinds of thinking to exist in one person, so usually, visionary entrepreneurs and planners work together and apply their specific skills.

This teamwork should be collaborative, not a matter of winning or being right. Ideally, this means that each grows to appreciate the other's skills and moves to adopt those skills as much as possible.

Rather than try to force visionary entrepreneurs into the rigorous logic of strategic planning, planners should convince them of the general benefits of strategic thinking and how it can be made to fit with their natural tendency to pursue opportunities.

The value of direction-setting

This persuasion begins by showing visionaries how direction setting can help them refine and then achieve their visions.

This will help form a general framework that is flexible enough to allow them to pursue opportunities, as long as that pursuit also moves them toward their general goals and in the proper direction.

It is then up to the strategic planner to point out that an opportunity may merely be a diversion that takes the visionary entrepreneur's eye off the purpose.

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