In my career as an entrepreneur and healthcare executive, I’ve worked with many visionary leaders – people who see the world through the lens of possibility and opportunity. They love to create things (organizations, services, etc.) bigger than themselves. While some people just naturally think big, chances are these visionary leaders were challenged by someone along the way. Challenged to think even bigger, to envision doing even more.
That’s definitely the case with my friend and mentor Terry, who created a large national health resource center. Today, that center receives many millions in funding each year, employs over 50 people, contracts with many more, and supports health systems across the country. It’s become nationally known as a center for innovation and health system expertise. The center’s services are so in-demand that their biggest challenge is managing the growth.
Terry recently told me the story about how that center was created. When he started, he just knew he wanted to support health systems and communities with the many challenges they face. Initially, he envisioned a local or county-wide center, which seemed like a big undertaking at the time.
He went to a workshop with a business coach. That coach supported Terry’s vision but kept asking him to think even bigger. Terry said, “Ok, so then I was thinking about a statewide center which seemed completely unrealistic at the time.”
The coach again challenged Terry to think even bigger, as big as he could possibly think. The coach also challenged Terry to think about who could support his idea. By the end of the workshop, Terry had sketched out the vision for a national health resource center and had identified the people and resources he would need to make the vision a reality. At the time, the vision seemed daunting and he didn’t know how he could make it happen. But he was committed to trying.
Terry designed the first steps, which included bringing together a group of healthcare experts to serve as early advisors and collaborators. He developed connections with national leaders, and, in a short time, had a regional, then statewide center. Within eight years, Terry had established a national presence and eventually set up the center that exists today. While Terry is still involved with that project, he has gone on to mentor many emerging leaders. He encourages them to create their own “big and audacious goals.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
He also believes the Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” You just need to be bold enough to try.
Now It’s Your Turn
Even if you feel like you have a big vision at the moment, how could you make it even bigger? Could you multiply it by 10? 100? Think about it and share your thoughts below.