If you haven’t watched Fyre Festival on Netflix, you should. It’s a cringe-worthy account of an extraordinary vision that ended in disaster and criminal convictions. It’s also a prime example of what happens when you try to execute a vision without operations.
Billy McFarland’s vision for the Fyre Festival was brilliantly poised at the apex of the Millennial desire for exclusivity and ability to spend money on unique, social media-worthy experiences. He sold a lifestyle, an experience unmatched by any. The best confirmation that his vision was brilliant was the rate and fervor with which it was adopted by investors and party-goers alike.
Like many entrepreneurs, Billy promised the end state without a solid plan to get there. As a fellow entrepreneur I have done this, and will do it again. In some situations you can’t have everything completed before you sell it, all the pieces put together before launch. You bet on your ability to bring it all together in the end. Billy lost that bet because he didn’t pair his vision with an operational plan.
For visionaries like Billy, and for many business owners, operations are boring to talk about and tedious to execute. Project plans are not exciting. Task lists are no fun. The details get in the way of the vision and throw shade at the brilliance of what they want it to be.
We encourage visionaries to fight for their vision and bring in the support they need to execute the operations. Together, these two distinct skill sets are extremely powerful and capable of executing extraordinary things like what the Fyre Festival was supposed to be.
A symbiotic relationship between visionaries and operational gurus work with these established ground rules:
The vision is well understood by everyone and is the point of reference for all decisions and actions
There is a common, unwavering respect for and trust in the vision and the operational strategies to execute it
The visionary must accept, sometimes without full comprehension, the operational investment needed to execute the vision
The operational guru must accept, sometimes without full comprehension, why the visionary wants things a specific way
Both roles stay in their lanes – visionaries don’t stray into the operations and the operational guru doesn’t take over the vision
Like any productive relationship, visionaries and operational gurus must work in a space of open communication, trust and respect. Apart, things crumble. Together, anything is possible.
If you are a visionary without an operational guru it’s critical you find one you can share the weight of your vision with. The world deserves to see in reality what you see in your dreams. Don’t let your vision fail because of operational neglect.