Transformational Leader: A Leader with a Vision

Are you a leader with a vision? Would your journey to fulfil your vision change the world for the better, even if it is only ever-so-slightly? Transformational leaders ask themselves if the world is a better place now that their business is in it.

On a backpacking trip, one of the future founders of Warby Parker, lost his glasses. He struggled through a semester at Wharton without glasses because they were just too costly![1] Why was an essential item like prescription glasses so costly? What would it take to make them affordable? And fashionable? So started a journey that landed in a vision: offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for a socially conscious business.

Warby Parker was born during the Great Recession. But within four weeks of opening, they had a waitlist of 20,000 people, and they had reached their one-year sales target in just three weeks. The founders of Warby Parker changed the way business was done in the eyewear space—they made fashionable prescription glasses affordable. To top it all, the Warby Parker commitment to give away a pair of glasses for every pair bought continues to bring relief to over a billion people that do not have access to prescription glasses. Going even further, the company remains committed to being 100 percent carbon neutral.[2] The world with Warby Parker in it is, without doubt, a better world.

A transformational leader’s vision arises from a deep understanding of their customers, their employees, and other stakeholders. Back to Warby Parker. They invested in understanding their target market—students. For them, glasses were not just a utility, it was also a fashion statement, but their pockets were not deep enough to buy designer wear from existing brands. In other words, owning a Warby Parker needed to be fashionable. They learned that at $100, the product would be perceived as not too costly, but costly enough to be a fashionable brand of high quality.[3] This understanding then drove their decisions about product, marketing and so on. In short, they listened, and they continue to listen. Today, after ten years, this organization is worth over 1 Billion USD.

So, is the world ever so slightly better because of your organization, your team, your vision? In order to build such a vision and to inspire people to champion the vision, explore and understand the ecosystem and people—your clients, your partners, your employees, investors and other stakeholders. Today, the world is in need of true transformational leaders. We are living through a global pandemic that’s wrecking the very socio-economic fabric of the world as we know it. People today love the phrase “the new normal”. As a transformational leader, this would be a golden opportunity to shape “the new normal” and create or reshape a business to not only be successful but also be socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.


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