How can creating visuals together help you to transform a business?

How can creating visuals together help you to transform a business?

How can creating visuals together help you to transform a business? 1182 720 Business Design Studio

Visualization is a very powerful tool to drive change, and the key is to create the visuals together. Here, I’ve tried to describe how you can integrate visualization with strategy development and change management.

First, you and the management team need to have a common understanding of where you are today and where you are going to be in the future (1- 3- 5 years from now). If you don’t have this, you cannot succeed. But how do you know that you actually have the same vision of this? You do it by creating it together. And a very efficient way of doing this is to draw.

Draw a description of how your company works today (1). Discuss it in the management team. Build the visual together, by adding to the first draft, with all your different perspectives. Make it a fairly complete, yet easy to understand visual. This is why drawing is so efficient:

·       We understand complex issues better with a visual. And we remember information better when there is a picture together with text.

·       You can add to each others ideas on how to describe something, and thereby increasing the quality of the discussion.

(2) When you have a good visual for todays logic, you can start to discuss: why does it look this way? What’s the reason we have solved problems this way until now? Does it still serve us well?

(3) Now, next step is to look at the trends that effects your business. Make a drawing again. What are the big trends? How do they effect you today? What implications for your business do you see in the future? This visual will help you with two things:

·       Focus on the important trends that will affect your business

·       It’s the base for explaining to all employees: this is what we see, this is why our business needs to change

Then, you are ready for the fun part: The Future (4). So, given the changes in your business environment, how should the future business model look like? What is the logic that will make you the winner in the future? What will your customers buy from you? How? Why? How will you deliver? How will you work with continuous development of your business? How will you be organized? What role will digitalization play?

This visual will help you communicate the future to the rest of the organization. If you do it well, this is the visual you show the board of directors and get their input. This is what you discuss with your customers – what do they think? And of course, discuss it with all the employees. Not discuss it in the sense “Do you think the direction is correct”, but in the sense “Given this direction, how do you see that your department can contribute?”.

But, there is always a reason to why change doesn’t happen. All organizations have their barriers. In Sweden we call them “Sacred Cows”. The things that you can’t discuss in a constructive manner, that holds back development of your business. Without challenging your sacred cows, you can never reach your goal. And be aware, unless you are all new to the company, you as an executive team will have your sacred cows as well.

(5) Now, it’s time to kill your darlings. Each member of the executive team takes a pile of post-its and starts to write down every holy cow that comes to mind. Take a good 20 minutes for this exercise. Then, when you are all done, group all your post-its and see the patterns. Then take a second look and think about: what have we missed? What are our blind spots? Fill in the blanks. Now, you have a wall of post-its: These are the barriers that are between you and the future. If possible: draw a visual that summarizes this. This will serve you as a constant reminder of what needs to be challenged.

OK, when you have come this far, you have laid the base for your journey towards the future. You have a mutual understanding of where you are today, where you need to go, why you need to do this and what the challenges will be. Now, it’s time to start the journey, where your visuals will be a great support in communicate with employees, the board of directors, your customers et c

What is your experience? Do you work in a similar manner? Or do you have a different approach?

/Lena Pehrs
Business Design Studio Scandinavia

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