Sam Mendes on Creating A Vision

Written by David Pullan

Sam Mendes on Creating A Vision

Late last year I interviewed Sam Mendes, the director of Skyfall and Spectre, about how he leads his teams on a movie set.


This week I want to tell you his thoughts about the need for leaders to create a vision.


Sam: ‘I think the best creative presences have a very, very particular vision. The worst kind of movies come from leaving all your options open. If you go into a project with the specific goal of leaving all your options open I think you’ll come out with something that’s profoundly characterless and vanilla. The truth is you have to articulate the central vision both to yourself and the people on set. That’s the corner stone of creative leadership. It’s not some sort of fishing trip.’


That word ‘vision’ is fundamental here. It’s about creating a picture of how the outcome is going to look and feel. It goes way beyond a mere intellectual understanding.


By creating that picture you connect to the neural pathways of the long term memory, generate a visceral response, and make your message stick.


Whether you are leading a team, making a sale or consulting with a client it is vital that you can create a vision.


Of course this doesn’t mean that you won’t be open to developing that vision as your team, prospect or client add their input. What it does mean is that you will have led the way in a visual and emotional sense, as well as intellectually.


This week think about how you can create brilliant visions to move people’s hearts and minds.


Tell stories to your kids. Inspire your friends to go to a new restaurant. Create a vibrant word picture of your team’s future.


And never say vanilla ever again, Mr Bond.


  • W B Yeats

    'Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.'