The presidents and CEOs of many companies are known for their vision, rather than for their corporate title. When we hear the names of Oprah, Sir Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg, we think of the work these individuals have advanced in their respective fields. The mantle of “President” or “CEO” was not the end result of their work or life’s pursuit but was simply a statement capping the effort they lead to improve society. Before a President or CEO can be an effective leader, they must first have the vision to see beyond the horizon where others have not been able to see. Oprah for example, leveraged her talk show into a multimedia conglomerate and branded her name to both television and the movie screen.
Her prestige has enabled her to leverage her influence into the books that we read to the election of a president. Her fellow corporate heads also show a remarkable ability to assume calculated risk. This is different from a wild risk where one may throw caution to the wind and hope for the best. Calculated risk involves believing that you have a superior product and you see the market that exists for your product right now and you are willing to sacrifice what is needed to deliver your superior product to the market that you see. Sir Richard Branson saw this formula when he started an upstart record label, called “Virgin.” Pushing and expanding his brand over several years has resulted in a text book conglomerate which is Virgin and which now includes an airline company as well as a telecommunications company among its many holdings. Not all of Virgin’s holdings have resulted in the same success as other areas of the empire but one would never know that failure is even experienced by the positive attitude of Branson in promoting his company.
The same can be said for Mark Zuckerberg who truly has changed the way we communicate with each other around the world. There really is not sufficient title for someone who is a superior visionary. Additionally, those that merely seek titles or the sake of having a title behind their name rarely exhibit the vision that is the trademark of even the few individuals mentioned. What raises these and others like them above others is also their belief that their work must have a benefit to society even after they are gone.