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  • Susanna Williams

Lessons from Leonardo: Building Your Anteviso




1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.


2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.


3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.

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And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.

(source)


It is commonly said that the first resume was created in 1482 by Leonardo da Vinci. He wrote a pitch to Ludovico Sforza, who later became the Duke of Milan and one of Leonardo’s lifelong patrons. But in reading Leonardo’s letter, what becomes clear is that he wrote something else entirely: an explanation of how his skills and capabilities met his prospective client’s future needs.


Skillist has developed a tech version of this that I believe needs to become the new standard baseline application.


This is only half of the equation, however. Aligning one’s skills and experiences to a business’s stated needs doesn’t give any insight into what a candidate could potentially add to an organization. It doesn’t tell you what a candidate sees as their highest and best skills. And it doesn’t tell you what a job candidate wants from this work experience. We still need a way to communicate where a person wants to take those skills and capabilities. What if we asked for applicants’ anteviso?


An anteviso- literally, forward vision- would take a person’s capabilities and show where they want to take them in the future. Leonardo gave a cascading series of use cases, imagining the progressive stages of battle and how his skills might be put to use in the Duke’s defense. Indeed, the very framing of his skills this way showed that he understood much more than just how to solve problems. Leonardo understood the context of those problems and, using that context, was able to anticipate multiple outcomes and further challenges that might arise. He spent no time explaining where he’d been. He focused his story on where his skill sets could help the Duke in the future.


I recently applied for a job with an entertainment company. One of the things they “prefer” is previous experience in the entertainment sector. Had they requested my anteviso, however, my sector experience would have become a moot question because I could have demonstrated my ability to address the challenges within the role. (Confidential to companies: your sector isn’t as unique as you think it is. Most human problems are commonly held. It’s just the vocabulary that’s different. Sector experience is gained through, well, experience, so why make it a qualification?)


We are constantly being told that the skills companies need most right now are things like critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, communication, analysis, and synthesis. Resumes are the absolute wrong tool to communicate this information. But an anteviso might just fill the gap. What would your anteviso look like? 

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