No two people work exactly the same. For geeks, work is about problem solving and for non-geeks, it is about achieving a vision. The geeks work in the present, analyzing every detail and the possible outcome of each idea. Non- geeks, however, work is about achieving some sort of goal or vision. There are some unique ways to look at working towards a vision while also analyzing your steps along the way.
Kevin Plank is the founder and CEO of the apparel company Under Armour. In many ways, Mr. Plank is a geek, but also falls under the “non-geek” category in regards of work. He first came up with idea for moisture wicking shirts while playing football for the University of Maryland. He wanted to solve the problem of having sweat filled cotton shirts weighing you (the athlete) down during a game or practice. He saw a problem and wanted to make it better.
I couldn’t get the video to show up, so here it is… hopefully. How Google’s vision changed and the steps they take while keeping a common vision. From about the 2:45 mark in the video, they talk about how there are many ways to reach a vision set out, but careful planning is how you get to that said vision.
Starting your own clothing company takes careful planning and this is where the inner geek of Plank showed the most. It was important to this blossoming company to create a strong foundation and build from there. Careful planning can only get you so far, though. “I think sometimes entrepreneurs can get caught up with theorizing, hypothesizing, business planning – at some point, put the freaking pen down and go do something.” Plank said in an interview in The Washington Post. This thought process and display of determination has driven this company to be a multi-billion dollar company. In the previously stated article, Plank went on to talk about the emotional drive of his company. In this industry, you have to create a product. This clearly takes careful planning and organizing. Once you make it, stop projecting what is going to happen. “Go find out whether your product can sell.” he stated. At this point, the geek is tossed to the side and the passionate suit is displayed.
This hybrid geek/suit is the perfect example for someone who wants to be an entrepreneur. Owning your own business takes an emotional driving force to accomplish, but it also needs very careful planning and guidance. It is important to set goals or to have a vision, but it is equally important to know what needs to be done to get to those milestones. It’s important to remember that there can be multiple ways to reach a goal. Having a broad vision is not a bad thing. Under Armour’s vision is “to empower athletes everywhere.” Having this vision for a company allows there to be many routes in trying to obtain a goal. But in the world of fitness apparel, there is no ending goal. In a business where you have to be adaptable to ever changing trends and technology, visions are not about reaching a certain number. There is no finish line and it’s important for both geeks and suits to realize this. If your company has a set “end goal” it is setting itself up for failure. There are many different ways to reach a vision and the importance of a shared vision by geeks and suits is necessary for a companies success.
As you can tell from this obvious last minute attempt to make a point, if you have a vision, there were always be many ways to reach it.
The route taken will always be changing. With every decision made, a new path has been started. For instance, when I drive to my house an hour and a half away from Greenville, there are multiple routes to take. Some are faster than others, some have better scenery to drive through. I can turn right where I’m supposed to turn left and in some cases can turn north when I need to go south. The point is, you can reach your destination by planning while also doing.