Work Visual

I have the pleasure to work with incredible talented people like Holger Nils Pohl and his colleague Beni in cologne on visualization of some of our key learnings for my talk at the LKCE in November 2018. Their passion and creativity in making thoughts and ideas visible while helping people and teams facilitating communication and exchanging Information is amazing and inspiring. Should you search for someone, who helps you in making your work visible, your strategy transparent and by this enabling clarity in your organization – here is where you should start: You want to learn how you can do this on your own by going far beyond the “Can you show me how to sketch” – mode? Just follow the same link :-).


Making Work and Ideas Visible

One of the most time consuming challenges that modern organizations face is misunderstanding and miscommunication between people, teams, functions – or most critical: with their customers. Learning too late that we are doing the wrong thing is not just frustrating – it also is the key reason for missed budgets and timelines.

Far too often our culture of communication prevents us from solving those misunderstandings – if they are recognized at all. One prerequisite to facilitate communication and bring misalignment to the surface is visualization and transparency. “A picture is worth more than a thousand words” is a well-known saying – but it seems to be hard to incorporate the idea behind it into our daily work, our meetings, our communications and our approach for managing work.

The reaction to seeing me visualizing content in presentations instead of writing “bullet point intermittent essays” and read it to the audience is always positive. However, there are three concerns people bring up in those discussions:

  • “I can´t draw!”
  • “I don´t have the time to draw!”
  • “Our culture expect different behavior!”

I can´t draw

Neither do I! I have not performed a study of arts, I have never taken a class. I simply have learned that some basic forms, colors, Sticky Note clusters, Avatars, Queues on a whiteboard, and other forms of basic visualization can change the world. Knowing this, it is not about being afraid of taking a pen and start visualizing – you should be more afraid of not doing it.

I don´t have the time to draw

As already mentioned, misalignment and miscommunication are the main source of unplanned activities, rework and conflicts. So where do you think your time should be invested – in making those transparent, or in fighting their consequences? By the way: I believe that it actually safes time in the first place when you use visualization, as it provides focus and aligns groups and individuals more effective.

Our culture expect different behavior

That’s maybe the hardest one. Visualizing work helps your organization to make better and faster decisions. Not using these tools actually slows you down and puts things on risk. Are you sure that your company culture targets these consequences? However, culture is somehow like a jelly pudding containing values, principles and behavioral expectations. If someone starts to move, the whole pudding starts reacting. Be brave, be sustainable – and go along with others.  In the majority of cases people will react to a drawing by “drawing back”. And there you go! By doing this you´ll get used to sketch, you get more certain and be more confident. Just give it a try.

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