I came across an article on The 99% today—Vision Without Obstruction which discusses what we can all learn from the “vision” Steve Jobs set in place for Apple. The author, Scott Belsky is the CEO of Behance and author of the national bestselling book Making Ideas Happen. Scott eloquently discusses that external obstacles obstruct our vision:
“Obstruction is all the stuff that gets in the way of making the best possible decisions. Needless to say, it’s easy to lose grasp of a bold vision once the journey begins. Most leaders tack right and left as obstacles reveal themselves, and then they arrive at an entirely different destination. [Steve] Jobs was different. He had a maniacal grasp of his vision and was unwilling to let other people — even his customers — shift him off-course.”
As an instructional designer something odd often happens after that initial brainstorming meeting. Perhaps “stuff” happens to both the SME and myself as we realize the difficulty of creating this piece of instruction. While we were bold in the meeting it is often easy to fall in to just doing what is easy, what is less visible, what is less taxing on others, what just gets the job done, what allows you to still fly under the radar, etc.
Scott then goes on to discuss that in addition to the external obstacles that obstruct vision, there are also internal obstacles. I am sure we can identify with these feelings during instructional development:
Have you ever doubted that what you are creating will have an impact on the learner? Wondered if the learner will perform after the instruction? What would Steve do in this instance? He would give his bold vision a shot.
- Fear of Failure
What if it flops? What is it doesn’t make sense? Steve would ask, what are the repercussions of giving into this fear?
- Meet Others Expectations
Have you ever had the impulse to meet others’ short-term expectations at the expense of long-term possibilities on a project? Steve would encourage you to continue to be bold against the expectations of others who often do not share the same vision.
Check out Steve’s legendary Stanford graduation speech which gives insight into his personal source of clarity:
Scott then concludes is post by explaining that:
“The system in which we work is full of expectations cast upon us from our first breath. Every degree of success is accompanied by an equal dose of bureaucracy. Any early success that you may have only breeds higher expectations and a burden to deliver. This burden is a weight that often obstructs vision and sound judgment.
Usually, it takes something extreme, even death itself, to look past obstructions and maintain clarity. Perhaps the legacy of Steve Jobs as a leader is a call for clarity. If only we could all pursue our own visions with a little less obstruction.
There are a lot of great ideas in this world, and the obstacles that get in the way are no excuse. Steve would never stand for it, and neither should we.”
Perhaps these words will help keep your design project on track today?