Clarity is Power
Using Venn Diagrams to Generate Alignment
In order to achieve your desired outcome, you must first know what the outcome is and you must be clear in your vision for that outcome. This is true for any area of life and perhaps even more important in business. As a leader, your top priority is setting the vision for your team and ensuring that your team is clear in how to execute to that vision. Here, we share a tool that we find useful in clarifying your vision and turning it into a visual format that helps your team concretize that vision and stay on course.
You are likely all familiar with Venn diagrams from your school days, but don’t use them often anymore. We find that they can be extremely helpful in organizing our thinking and conveying that thinking to teams. Many successful people have the habit of writing complex thinking down to clarify important decisions objectively. Thanks to Greg Alexander, one of our favorite investors and allies, who originally shared with us how he uses this tool.
Venn diagrams are a simple visual form of that clarifying practice. They are particularly useful for representing the ‘design criteria’ for an outcome and representing that visually to everyone involved so that only ideas that are on target for the outcome are pushed forward and focused on. Here are some examples.
This diagram shows a common Venn diagram for a typical Series A fundraising outcome. While the particular numbers and criteria vary, companies usually have something like these criteria. If each cofounder or member of the leadership team participating in the Series A decision-making process has this clear picture in mind, it becomes much easier to align in evaluating potential Series A leads on objective criteria.
This diagram shows the design criteria for the SpaceX Dragon rocket. Imagine how valuable this becomes for a large engineering team considering various approaches to solve problems. Now, new proposals have a clear filter: do they sit at the intersection of the design criteria?
This diagram shows the selection criteria for a typical new hire. This example helps to ensure alignment across all interviewers in the process.
We hope you find value in using this tool to align your team across many processes and visions in your organization.
Prime Movers Lab invests in breakthrough scientific startups founded by Prime Movers, the inventors who transform billions of lives. We invest $1mm-$3mm in seed-stage companies reinventing energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, human augmentation and computing.