How to take the entire organisation with you and land your vision
Flick around a few TV channels and you’ll soon hear talent show contestants, sports stars and budding entrepreneurs alike exclaim, ‘I’m on a journey’. It’s a powerful metaphor, one that we can all buy in to and one that applies to business too…
Business leaders can usually describe where they want their organisations to be in the future; the challenge is often how to take their entire workforce with them on the journey. Well, here is a technique with proven provenance… Let me put you in the picture – The Big Picture.
A picture of success
The world of marketing tells us that if people only hear information, they’re likely to remember just 10% three days later. But if this message is paired with a relevant image, people retain 65% of the information over the same timeframe!
Apply these statistics to internal communications and, by extension, you could argue that 90% of your paid workforce don’t even remember your key messages, much less act upon them.
That’s a pretty strong argument for a visual approach to landing important information, such as your company strategy; an approach our customers often call the Big Picture.
And we can cite further evidence of the efficacy of Big Pictures, from our customers’ own research. For example, a global organisation in the Medical Devices sector saw a year-on-year increase of 24% against the employee opinion survey question, ‘I know what I can do to help achieve our strategy.’
The magic of metaphor
So, we know visual approaches work, but what do you visualise?
Well, reflecting popular culture, journeys work well. They explore where we’ve come from, where we are today and where we need to be in the future. Add in ‘how you can help us get there’ and you’ve got a pretty powerful narrative that works in tandem with your visual.
Over the years, we’ve successfully climbed mountains, sailed the seven seas and even rocketed into deep space. Yet adventure holiday organisations, cruise ship companies and NASA do not feature on our client list – yet anyway.
In fact, choosing a metaphor that supports your narrative, but is not directly connected with your organisation’s business seems to work best. Your people engage in dialogue about your strategy, via the metaphor, as opposed to becoming fixated by the technical accuracy of the illustration. After all, when did arguing over the shape of an aircraft wing endplate ever help sell more airline tickets?
Adding an elusive ingredient
So far, we’ve discussed two elements on the journey to excellent engagement on the topics that matter most to you and your business; the power of the visual metaphor and the narrative that supports it. Combine the two and you’ve got the makings of a super channel, but you’re not there yet. It’s all a bit one way, all a bit top down.
If you truly want to take all of your people with you on your journey you need to add a third and often elusive ingredient – interactivity. You want to get your people involved in your story and passionate about it. And you need to get them identifying the actions they’re going to take to make your vision a reality.
That’s why we always build interactivity into all of our Big Picture briefings – and support the line managers who are delivering these briefings with the tools, tips and exercises that will help drive interactivity and action planning.
And of course, in these days of internal social media, you can share, bottom up, the actions that teams and individuals are actually taking to make your vision a reality. That will help keep the conversation alive and create visible and virulent evidence that everyone is on board and on the journey – your journey to excellence.