Coherence around a clear vision leads to a successful output
Remember that strategic planning meeting to discuss how the product/service fits into the overall vision? Remember the Powerpoint presentation and the talking? There was some sort of shared understanding of the current Reality and how the output was meant to improve the vision. Could you recollect the exact aims of the meeting after a week or two? Go on, fess up, did you use a fair mix of education and guesstimation to come up with what you thought you should be doing towards achieving the vision? Did your team-mates do the same? Thought so. This independent thinking probably resulted in a disjointed set of actions, potentially leading to a total departure from the vision. I’m kidding. Not really, but this is worst-case scenario.
From my experience in start-ups & small businesses, it is easier to maintain a steady flow of conversation, to confirm or negate what was agreed at the meeting, shortening the time-frame for ‘recalibration of vision’. In a large company, composed of multiple teams, the potential for nonconformity is much greater, and the time to catch & correct (re-calibrate) is greater.
“People like pictures, ergo Pinterest!”
A visual model is a powerful tool to counteract the memory fade. Our working memory can only hold 7 ± 2 ‘chunks’ of information, so we extend our intellectual abilities with models. They provide a mnemonic aid that enables us to see complicated relationships and easily move between various mind-sized groupings of things.
Truncate your Powerpoint presentation and structure the meeting with ‘doing’ activities – build a visual model together through storyboarding, sketching, or other forms of creating. The model will encapsulate the vision, and help answer the question, “Why are we doing this?” It goes against the top-down authority mandates and requirement document rulebooks. It capitalises on the opportunity for buy-in & positive engagement from the people ‘on the ground’, and develops a sense of ownership in the strategic direction of the company.
As companies wade through increasingly nebulous product & service challenges, creating rich storyboards & building processes around clear diagrams could increase the prospect of delivering a successful product or service to market.