This might be the first article with “AI” in the first sentence where we do not discuss AI, but rather discuss very real intelligence. The kind of intelligence a visionary leader like Majd needs to embody in order to build a successful fintech startup.
Here is one specific way in which Majd’s mind operates as the leader of his company.
Majd is currently working on a key transaction for his company. While he is clearly a visionary leader, apparently he is not always in “visionary” mode, and I found this concept fascinating. So I asked him to explain to me more. He kindly did, and now I’m sharing it with you.
He views visionary mode as being very different from execution mode, and sees himself as being in one of these modes at all times. He explained that both of these modes are critical, and that as the Japanese say, “Vision without action is a daydream, while action without vision is a nightmare.”
However, he views it as being extremely counterproductive to indulge in both modes at the same time. It is akin to multitasking, that you simply cannot focus on both of these at the same time successfully.
He believes that multitasking does not allow one the mental vigilance that one needs to be truly successful. He said, “We as people have an incredible ability to rationalize our choices, even if they are not actually our own choices.” He gave the example of an experiment in which people gave justifications for having chosen one picture over another, when in fact, the picture had been switched out for another picture without them noticing. The experiment is known as the "choice blindness" experiment, conducted by Petter Johansson, Lars Hall, and their colleagues.
During the intensive execution process that he is in right now, it’s simply “the wrong effing time” to take off a week to sit on the beach and dream about creating a VC fund.
When is the right time to be creative and dream about new directions for your company or for yourself? A natural time for him is during the winter holidays, when others are working less and there is a natural lull in business. In fact, it was during the last winter holidays that he came up with the idea for the AI powered financial coach.
I found this all incredibly interesting on a personal level, because I tend to switch back and forth between execution and envisioning modes much more fluidly. Even throughout the day! I definitely don’t designate entire weeks or months as being times for execution vs. envisioning. However, just before the conversation, I was starting to feel like I was suffering from envisioning exhaustion.
Maybe I am entering a season of needing to strictly execute for a period of time, and taking a break from constantly reenvisioning my business and frankly, my life. I am in love with dream mode, and in transfiguring those dreams into reality. And also helping my clients (and friends!) do the same. It never occurred to be a LOT more mindful of what mode I should be in during a given period of time.
Majd, thank you for inspiring me with the very real intelligence that you shared with me today. I hope that others find inspiration in these thoughts as well. Wishing you all the success every day, no matter which mode you happen to be in.