All great strategies start with a vision of the future. For entrepreneurs and company leaders, the vision should include a sense of what opportunities lay ahead, what kind of organization can exploit those opportunities, and what products or services customers are likely to buy. The devil, of course, lies in the details.
To get all the details right, successful leaders rely on both extrapolation and interpretation to "look forward" into the future and then "reason back" to what they need to do today and over the next several months. Extrapolation is relatively easy: information on industry trends is widely available. However, someone has to interpret that information—identify key changes, opportunities, and threats for a specific organization and market. Interpretation is where visionary leaders make their mark, as we can see in the companies once led by Andy Grove, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs.a
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