It’s one in the morning. I’m up because I’m agitated. I just watched the special features disk for the movie Iron Man, and something clicked in my head. It came from watching the movie’s director, Jon Favreau, expand out his vision from his own head to several hundred people working on the film. We need to talk a bit about how these all fit together.
The Three Layers
In filmmaking, vision comes from translating a story into motion. Mixed into the process of that story translation is the art of synthesis: take something from there, over there, and this bit here, and make it into a finished product. The director must have a vision that stretches far beyond the practical, and considers all facets of a production, from the eyes of the audience, from the plausibility of the technology, to the saleability of the product and ancillary materials to make the effort a financial success as well. That’s all on the top layer and ties to vision.
After vision comes creation. Favreau can’t make all these ideas come to life. He can only tell the story to capable people, who then must seek methods and means to fulfill those ideas. It’s this process that engages people like Industrial Light and Magic, The Orphanage, and The Embassy to create visual effects. It requres Favreau to leave huge chunks of the actual production of the movie up to other people, but with his vision guiding it all.
There is no movie without execution. The creators require legions of workers to execute these interpretations of the vision. Each piece of production, from craft services delivering hot food to the person pouring plaster molds for Robert Downey Jr.’s feet to make sure they fit inside the Iron Man boots. Without execution, vision is just a dream.
Apply This to Your Efforts
You might not be the Jon Favreau of your organization. You might not be the person tasked with defining the vision. Remember: there’s nothing without the creation and execution phases. Without a powerful mind working with your visionary storyteller (or CEO or president), that storyteller can only do so much. And none of this matters without people executing on the creations built from the vision.
Know where you are in that spectrum (and it might be more than one role – probably is more than one role often), and do your part exceptionally well. If you’re the visionary, and you don’t have a creator and people to execute, how much do you really believe you’ll accomplish. If you’re the creator, and you can’t move beyond coming up with neat ways to do things into how to make them drive value back to the stakeholders, how long will you be in the role of creating? If you’re tasked with executing, do it. Not much more I can say about that part.
It’s simple, and yet, not. Can you adapt it to your universe? Who sets the vision in your company? Who is the creator that builds the vision for your church? Are you the person tasked with executing your community’s projects?
None of these roles is easy, and they each require a different skillset. Maybe now’s the time to realize which one you’re best at, and then find the people to augment your abilities. Hint: you need far fewer visionaries than you need executors, but creators seem to be the clutch role in any organization.
Which one are you?
Photo credit Kevitivity