Let’s talk about how to manage creative visionaries with lots of ideas. Leanne is an Online Business Manager and Business Integrator which means naturally she compliments someone who is very creative. Someone who has ambitions, who popcorns ideas, who wants a sounding board, who wants a strong personality that can help run with their vision. And somebody who is that kind of person, usually has certain personality traits. So let’s uncover the things that might help you help them manage all of these ideas.

This episode shares:  

  • Understanding the DNA of a Visionary: It’s not about taming the fire; it’s about knowing how to cook with it.
  • The Art of Smooth Talking and Straight Talking: When to be the reassuring comfort and when to be the voice of reason.
  • The “Yes And…” Approach: Embrace the idea, then deal with the logistics.
  • Creating a Dumping Ground for Ideas: Keeping the sparks safe for a later blaze.
  • Connecting the Dots: Linking goals, actions, and outcomes for a coherent vision.
  • Being Conscious of Risk: Assess the risk and associated impact.

Understanding the DNA of a Visionary

Working with visionaries is like riding a rollercoaster—you know it’s going to be a thrilling ride, but you’re not quite sure where the twists and turns will be. Visionaries have a fire in their belly, a deep-seated desire for change. Frustration may creep in on your end as the practical and logical online business manager. But remember, their role is to be the dreamer; your role is to make those dreams tangible. You’re both doing your jobs! Isn’t that the ultimate form of collaboration.

Tip:💡Acknowledge their depth of vision without judgment and orient yourself as the channel through which it can become a reality.

The Art of Smooth Talking and Straight Talking

Do you find yourself torn between nurturing their dreams and dropping a reality check? You’re not alone. There are moments when “smooth talking” can keep the vision alive while buying time for clarity. Other times, “straight talking” is essential to protect both your sanity and their vision. Knowing when to employ each approach is like having the right spice for the right dish.

Tip:💡Always gauge the longevity and practicality of an idea before deciding your conversational approach.

The “Yes And…” Approach

Remember the shock when someone bluntly said “no” to an idea in a meeting? You do, right? Turning down an idea outright is a disservice to everyone involved. The key is to always add “and…” to your “yes” or “no.” Validate the visionary’s idea, and then propose the logistical realities.

Tip:💡The next time a spontaneous idea arises, entertain it and then bring up the ‘how.’

Creating a Dumping Ground for Ideas

Ideas are like confetti; they’re colorful and exciting but can be messy if not managed well. Having a dumping ground is like having a catch-all basket where ideas are safe until they’re ready to bloom. And let’s face it, when it comes to visionaries, ideas will never stop coming.

Tip:💡Create an organized space in your project management tool where all ideas can live, breathe, and eventually flourish.

Connecting the Dots

The allure of new, shiny things can be tempting. However, every idea must be aligned with goals to make sense in the grand scheme of things. Connecting these dots creates a roadmap from the visionary’s brain to the tangible world.

Tip:💡Whenever a new idea is proposed, immediately assess how it aligns with existing goals and intended outcomes.


Being Conscious of Risk

Risks need to be managed. By assessing and managing the risks, you’re not just helping them make a decision, you’re equipping them to make the BEST decision for their unique situation. 

Tip:💡Be the mirror that reflects the true nature of the risk back at them. Help them see it’s not an all-or-nothing game.

And… that’s a wrap!

So there you have it! Working with visionaries doesn’t have to feel like navigating a maze with no end in sight. With these strategies, you’ll not only survive but thrive. The empire you’re helping to build will thank you for it.



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Follow along with the transcript

E20 How to manage creative visionaries with lots of ideas

Leanne Woff: [00:00:00] hello, hello, hello! Welcome to this week’s episode of The Audacious [00:01:00] OBM. I’m your host, Leanne Woff. And today we are talking about how to manage creative visionaries with lots of ideas. So I don’t know about you, but a lot of people that I work with are ideas people. I’m an online business manager, a business integrator, and naturally those roles complement someone who is very creative.

Who has ambitions, who, popcorns ideas, who wants a sounding board, who wants a strong personality that can help run with their vision. And somebody who is that kind of person has usually has certain personality traits. So today I want to talk through some things that might help you help them manage all of these ideas.

Because as online business managers, we’re quite practical and logical [00:02:00] and we like order and structure. And we can see that you can’t do everything at once. There has to be some measure and some priority piece. All right, so the first thing that I’m going to talk to you about is understanding visionaries.

These people have started a business and usually there’s a big reason they’ve started it. And that just grows. Whatever impact it is that they want, that grows. And usually it’s founded in something for the greater good. They want to help people. They want to make a change. They, want to see the world differently.

They want to solve a problem or open an opportunity. And it is like a fire in their belly. Now, when you’re faced with a desire that is that deep, there is no, let’s just go slow; because [00:03:00] it’s just pure this has to happen. They need to see this change in the world. And so they will run at a hundred miles an hour. And what we need to recognize is that’s who they are.

Like doing that and coming up with innovative ways and new new paths to take to help people or to make that vision their reality, it’s all part of their zone of genius. That’s them doing exactly what they should be doing and what comes naturally to them doing. And so when we’re looking at working with clients like this, it can go two ways.

One way? is we can, as online business managers, get really frustrated because we feel like the expectations are too high. There’s too much going on. How can they possibly expect that we’re going to be able to do all of this or achieve all of that? It’s [00:04:00] just never going to happen. Or we can put our frustration to the side.

And recognize that they’re doing their job. Their job is to bring the vision and the constant evolving vision. And it is our job to bring that to life in the best way possible. And it is not meaning we can do everything all at once. Yeah, we can plan it all. Yes, we can have conversations and dig more into what outcome we are wanting to see and what the best way is to get there and to have that kind of relationship and to actually achieve some of these goals, you cannot do it from a place of frustration because somebody else is super excited. It actually has nothing to do with you. It has to do with how deep their desire is for change.

That was the first thing. You need to understand the visionaries. The second [00:05:00] thing to managing people with lots and lots of ideas is that you need to be a smooth talker and a straight talker. So we know that when we’re very excited about something, a lot of the time our mouth moves before our brain. And so we start saying things out of this excitement.

And these are the kinds of things that you say in the next day. You’re like, that’s a terrible idea. Like parsley and what, why, where did that even come from? That’s silly. And that’s just part and parcel. And in normal everyday life, we accept that. But when we’re looking in business land, it’s like little decisions in the spur of moment can like twist things very quickly.

And so we have to recognize when the time is for smooth talking and when the time is for straight talking. Smooth [00:06:00] talking is when something is, something that is genuine and could be a nice idea. And it it’s valid, but maybe not right now. And so if you notice that your client is in this position of super excitement and, chucks out some random idea, and then wants you to be excited about it and wants to do it right now, this is when we do smooth talking.

This is when we say, that’s a fantastic idea. I really love it. Let’s just, let’s talk about it next week and have a look at what that looks like. Knowing that the likelihood is in two days they will have forgotten that thing. If it is purely from a burst of excitement, that idea isn’t going to stick.

Especially if it’s not a strategic one that’s going to get them closer to the impact they want to make. And honestly, there is no [00:07:00] point in arguing about it. Be on the Yes Team, but know when to push back and when to agree. Or when to go, you know what, I need to find opportunities for this. So we want to be in their corner and constantly saying, I’m not doing any new things is not going to get you there.

Then straight talking. Straight talking is when there is lots of ideas and, it’s the week later and they still want to do it. When it gets to that point and you know that everything is everything’s already full, there is no capacity to do this. And potentially the capacity to do that. , if you went to do it, it would detract from something else. And that’s where you have to share a straight up, more direct opinion of, Hey, this seems like a really good idea and it might be an amazing idea. [00:08:00] But if we do that now, this is what’s going to happen. And you’re potentially risking something else falling over.

Is that okay with you? And then a conversation that I have had with my clients quite a few times is. I get really invested in my clients businesses and I tell them that and I say, I’m really invested in what I’m doing with you and I’m really big on not just charging people money and good money for nothing or to not bring value.

And so when I see them making decisions that potentially could actually make them go backwards, I feel like it’s my responsibility to at least share my perspective. And I’m not saying they can’t do anything, but I am saying, if you’re going to make us do this, this is the impact we’re already at capacity.

We’re not going to be able to do these other five things. [00:09:00] And at the end of the day, it’s going to end up costing you 10 grand to do that now, instead of just waiting two months. Is that really what you want to do? Because you’ve already invested all this money in me to get this thing to 90%. Let’s do the last 10.

Let’s get the ROI. A lot of the time, my clients hear that because I’m not coming from a place of I just want to tell you what to do, it makes sense and it’s coming from a place of I want the best for you. We’ve got to navigate the timing, the conversations, when to smooth talk and when to straight talk.

Number three in managing creative idea visionaries is… Be yes and people. So I remember sitting in a conversation with a client and there was me and there was a couple other contractors in there all doing different roles, we’re [00:10:00] all coordinating a project together and the client said something and one of the other suppliers just said no we can’t do that and I heard it and I was so shocked, literally shocked.

I could not believe that came out of someone’s mouth. And what shocked me was that it wasn’t something that couldn’t be done, and I knew that. So to have that, no, we’re not doing that, and then to just keep going, I just thought that’s not going to get you very far because you haven’t validated the thought.

And it might be it’s not practical to do that. It might be it will cost more if we’re going to do that. All of those things are okay. But to just do the hard no from the idea point, it really rattled me because that’s never been my approach. My approach has always been, if someone is saying this, there’s a reason they’re saying [00:11:00] it.

There’s some want or need in there that’s making them go, how about this? And I don’t want to be a no for the sake of no person. I want to be a yes person, and sometimes it’s a yes and… okay, great. You want to do that? Cool. Alright, if we do that, we’re also going to need to get more revenue in to pay for it, or it means that the invoice is going to go up, it’s going to cost us more, and we need more people.

Or, yes, we can absolutely do it, and we’re going to do it in two months time. So it’s how can we make all of those No’s from impracticality, Yes’s. And it’s not saying to do unrealistic things. It’s just giving people the choices and the opportunities of where they want to take things and how they want to go about it and not being cranky about it.

Number four is create a dumping ground. The ideas won’t stop. Even [00:12:00] if we’re overwhelmed, even if we’re really busy, even if our client is catering on burnout, they’re not going to stop coming up with ideas. You need a dumping ground. And so a lot of the time when I know clients are in this space and we don’t even have time to think about planning something, I say, that’s cool, I’ll put it in this spot in Asana.

Got a big long list of all the ideas, of all the things we want to do, of all the innovations. And then, when we come to planning what’s next, they’re all there. They haven’t gone missing, and we can pick one. And gives us the ability to validate that something is a good idea and is there and that it’s kept safe.

It hasn’t been discounted as bad and it won’t be forgotten. But right now, the practicality for it isn’t there. Number five. Now, this one is big, and it’s create parallels between goals, actions, [00:13:00] and outcomes. The need and the want. To do the shiny things is big here. Creative visionaries. Oh, this person’s doing that, maybe I could do that.

Or how could I do this, but use it for my business and do it this way? Or, oh, this got a really big response, how can we do that more? And it builds and it builds. So how do we keep these people on track? The way that we do it, Is get really clear on why we’re doing what we’re doing. So we need to build the bridges between, okay, we’ve said that we’re here to do this thing, to do this thing, these are the actions that we need to take.

And this is what we can expect the outcome to be. And so the way that they’re linked is then when we change that action piece, when we go, Ooh, there’s this thing. And can’t we just do [00:14:00] that? It’s well. It doesn’t really fit anymore because we’ve got this nice thread here where we’ve got goals, options, outcomes, and you’ve just plunked a random action here that doesn’t really fit into the goal or the outcome.

So what is that? And does it really make sense? And if we can build that channel through everything, where are we going? How are we going to get there? What do we expect it to look like? Then when random ideas come through, even if they’re great, We can go back to, okay, that means we might not be able to achieve our outcome.

Is that okay with you? It gives us that basis.

The number six is be the business advocate and rely on logic. So your visionary has [00:15:00] got the excitement and the creativity of it. They do not need another person with ultra enthusiasm and, running around, coming up with all fun, fun, fun ideas. They nailed that. And yes, they need a supporter and they need a cheerleader and they need someone who’s doing it with them, but they need somebody who can look after their business because that’s what you’re there for.

And so if they’re sitting in the place of their creative space, which is where they should be. They need you to be in your space and they need to be able to trust that you will protect their business sometimes from them. And so what I mean by that is if your visionary is coming up with more ideas and it’s going to impact the traction that you’re getting or it’s going to delay [00:16:00] something, or, even potentially it’s going to make explosive growth, it’s your job to look at these ideas from a business perspective, and then to go back to them.

Hey, that’s going to be really great, but it’s actually going to cost us more than it’s going to make us. How badly do you want to do this thing? If we’re relying on logic, we’re still giving them the power to make their decisions. But, from a business perspective, we’re putting up guardrails to say, Are you actually okay with this?

And this is the impact it could have here, or here, because likely they haven’t thought about it from that way, because that’s not their zone, that’s yours. And so you need to advocate for ways that are going to be the best for the business while still giving these visionaries the life they need.

And the final thing is to be conscious of risk. Some [00:17:00] people are very risk averse. Some people are, not faced at all with risk. A lot of the people fall somewhere in the middle of all of that. And it’s a scale. It’s not one or the other. And sometimes people with lots of ideas, risk doesn’t really factor in.

They just see an idea and run with the excitement and they haven’t thought of the flip side of it. And so then it becomes our job to think of the flip side and try and minimize the risk. And then some people have lots of ideas, but they’re very risk of it. And sometimes what that does is. Stops them from growing because they’re too scared to make a move in case it’s the wrong one.

They have all the ideas. They can change the world, but it might feel a bit uncomfortable or a little bit risky to [00:18:00] push the envelope too much. And so then it’s our job to really reflect what that risk is back to them and ask them if it’s worth it, because what the impact for them in their head, it might be massive.

Whereas in reality, it’s like, no, your whole business won’t fall apart if you try this. And if it doesn’t work, The whole world’s not going to think you’re an idiot. It’ll be okay. So then we’re equipping them to make the best decisions they can make in the space that they’re in. And so I really hope that this has been helpful.

I know that it can be challenging when you’re doing the tug of war with people, especially when we’re blending creative and logic. But both are so crucial for business growth and so it’s really important that we understand how to make them connect easier and to understand it’s not a war. It, we are not against each other.

You want things to work well so at the end of the day everybody wins. Yeah, so I hope that [00:19:00] helps. If it resonates, let me know. Leave me a fast five star? A five star? A 5 star review. If you enjoyed this, tell me what your favourite bit was. And I’ll see you next week. Bye!