Entries in visual thinking (3)
Our formula for success can best be summed up in the following simple equation:
VL = (VT + VC) x (M + L)
VisuaLeadership® = (Visual Thinking + Visual Communication) x (Management + Leadership)
VisuaLeadership® is the art and science of applying visual thinking and visual communication tools, tips, and techniques to more effectively manage and lead yourself and your people.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, and finding the right words takes time, and time is money, then wouldn’t it follow that business leaders would make more money – in less time – if they simply used more pictures to manage and to lead?
OK, it’s not quite that simple, but VisuaLeadershipR forever changes the way business professionals think, communicate, manage, and lead simply by leveraging the power of visual imagery, mental models, analogy, storytelling, and a whole range of other innovative, highly effective visual thinking and visual communication techniques.
In every workshop BigBlueGumball delivers -- whether the topic is management, leadership, team building, innnovation, or presentation skills -- we draw on our background and experience in the entertainment and media industries to meld art and science, words and pictures, stats and stories, and models and metaphors to Educate, Engage, and Excite.TM
The French novelist Marcel Proust said that “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”
Based on my 25 years of business experience, I've learned that as a management, leadership, and presentation skills consultant, trainer, executive coach, and educator, one of the most valuable contributions I can make to my clients' and my students' growth, development, and success is simply to help them see their world -- and envision their future -- with new eyes.
In our leadership workshops, when we ask participants to call out the first word that comes to mind when they hear the word, "leadership," most of them say, "Vision!" And when we ask them to define what we mean by "vision" in the context of leadership, it's all about having a mental image of the future: a picture, that they see in their "mind's eye" of an idealized future state that is different from -- and better than -- the current reality.
And, so, assisting and empowering leaders to turn that future vision into a new reality lies at the heart of what VisuaLeadership® is all about.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (who I referred to as "The King of Visual Communication" in a previous blog post) did not famously say, "I have a 500-page business plan filled with excel spreadsheets"; no, he said, simply, "I have a dream."
That speech is a classic example (probably THE classic example) of communicating a leadership vision.
And it's a perfect example of VisuaLeadership® in action.
*For a variety of examples of what VisuaLeadership® is all about, please check out some of my other posts on this Gumblog, or visit my LinkedIn blog column, the theme of which is " VisuaLeadership® :a visual thinking-based approach to leadership & learning."
If life is a journey -- and leadership is a journey -- what are some of the key questions we need to ask ourselves along the way?
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And that leadership is not a destination . . . but a journey. I’m not exactly sure who “they” are, but regardless of who said what, I think we can all agree that there’s something moving and memorable about this simple, beautiful, visual image — and something incredibly powerful about the thought-provoking metaphor that we call “The Leadership Journey.”
In my leadership workshops, as well as in the NYU graduate course I teach on “Transformational Leadership and Team Building,” we spend many hours discussing this image – and this metaphor.
“How can you spend so much time thinking and talking about one simple picture?” you might be wondering.
Well, to begin...
The windshield represents “the future”: Your vision. The road ahead. The road not taken. The unknown just over the horizon. The obstacles yet unseen. The fears yet confronted. The opportunities yet explored. It is the path you have chosen. The choices you have made. The choices still to be made. And the work yet to be done.
The rearview mirror represents “the past”: Where you’ve come from, and how you got here. Your successes and your failures. The experiences — and the baggage — you’ve brought with you. Your core values. Your regrets. The competition that may be gaining on you. The people, plans, dreams, or memories you left behind. And it is a constant reminder of the need to pull over periodically to take time, both literally and figuratively, for reflection.
The dashboard represents “the present”: it contains your dials and gauges and metrics. It tells you how well you are doing, and how much farther you have yet to go. How fast you are moving, or how slow. And it helps you to determine whether or not you have what it takes to make it to your next destination…or change course As the legendary management guru Peter Drucker once famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
And what else?
What does the steering wheel symbolize, and the tires, and the engine, and the trunk? Should you continue to stay on this road, or take a different path on a road less traveled? Are you following your intended road map, or is your GPS warning that you might be speeding forward in the wrong direction?
It seems to be blue skies and clear sailing for miles to come, but are you prepared should you hit a patch of stormy weather, or bumps in the road, or a sudden, unforeseen traffic jam or detour up ahead?
Is the fact that there seem to be no other vehicles in sight a good thing or a bad thing? Are you so far ahead that you’ve left everyone else in the dust… or so far behind that you are out of the race? And where should you be, as a leader: in the driver’s seat, the passenger seat, the backseat . . . or perhaps not in this car at all?
With this many important things to think about, and so many questions yet unanswered, now is as good a time as any to pull over and reflect on where you are on your journey – and what decisions you may need to make to help you reach your desired destination for this year…and beyond.
Of all the different management, leadership, communication, innovation, and thinking tools, tips and techniques that exist, one of the most powerful concepts is Edward de Bono’s "Six Thinking Hats" model.
Check out The Hired Guns blog to read Todd's thoughts on De Bono's model and how it can be applied in every day life.
You may never think about thinking the same way again. (What?!!!) Read to find out....