June 29, 2016

After meeting with my international advisory board in the beginning of June in Sydney, I took the opportunity to tour Australia and New Zealand. One of our favorite spots was Milford Sound, New Zealand. It is undoubtedly one of the most majestic, beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Since it is impossible to do it justice, I’ve included one of the best pictures of a boat ride through the fjords. Can you imagine how I could have communicated this beauty through words alone?


The same is true in business.  One simple graph or hand drawing on a white board or flip chart will communicate more than a 1000 words.  I cannot tell you how many executive meetings I’ve satin where a simple chart would have ended an hour-long discussion.  And, more importantly, a simple visual will help communicate effectively so that you get the business, get the money (from the Board, CEO, etc.), get the resources etc.  In my experience, the wasted hours and days (and even months) that go into these requests could be dramatically shortened with a powerful yet simple process visual.

One tip to implement this week:
So, what can we do this week to make progress on this topic?  Think about something you’d like to communicate that you think will have a significant impact on your company’s success.  Start with something in your functional area.  For example, one of my clients is focused on whether they start production orders (work orders) on-time.  If you start them on-time, it is likely you’ll complete them on-time.  So, in their case, we needed to communicate how well we performed with on-time starts yesterday – and preferably the trend for the week and month.  Talking about lots of detailed orders is important to improving the metric but wasn’t nearly as impactful as a simple trend graph with an accompanying pie chart of reasons for late starts.

Don’t worry about your artist and graphics skills.  Start by thinking about what to communicate.  Come up with one picture, graph, or chart that would help communicate it.  That is sufficient for this week; however, since speed is the name of the game, once you have decided what will be meaningful, start by drawing it on a piece of paper or ask your team for help.  Don’t get bogged down in graphics or Power Points.  I’ve seen hand-drawn pictures be sufficient for multi-million dollar ideas.