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10 Feb

You can’t see the curves for all the graphs?


Date: 2010-02-10 09:54 Comments: 0 st

Choose a word, any word, and say it out loud to yourself over and over again. After a while it becomes more like a sound than a word and it looses its meaning.

I’ve experienced a similar effect at a few management team meetings. It may have been the tenth management team meeting for the year and just after lunch when we’ve come to the chart concerning how the eighth key figure is evolving; it suddenly becomes difficult to separate this curve from the last. OK, it’s zigzagging its way upwards, but what does it actually mean? What conclusions should we draw from that this month, the solid curve is drawn just above the dotted curve? In spite of my confusion, it is often I who design those charts in the first place.

Chart-weariness or fatigue has appeared. And it’s a pity, since one of the main purposes of the chart has become ineffective.

The point of visible development

One point with showing how well we meet the business’ goals is that we are able to analyze how the business develops with almost surgical precision, and if necessary, make decisions on adjustments to the course.  A standard chart will suit that purpose just fine.

But, another point or benefit of a chart is that it can affect our personal behavior in various ways; either to reignite the fighting spirit within us so that we can regain momentum and continue to work towards meeting the objective or, better up, actually win the day and feel satisfied with what we’ve accomplished.

By the way, these things are connected – the person feeling like a winner will be more likely to meet the objectives successfully than the one who feels like a loser. When it comes to this, the actual display of how the key figures develop has to involve us emotionally and for that purpose there may be other, and better, means than yet another curvy graph.

“Ring the Bell”

Take a moment to think about the attraction “Ring the Bell” found at an amusement park or a funfair, you know the one where you swing a large mallet and hit a pivot, making an indicator or puck race up a scale board and, if you are strong enough, hit a bell at the very top. It’s not for nothing that this game is designed as a high tower. We’re carried away seeing that we’re able to shoot the puck high up in the air and make the bell ring. It wouldn’t have had the same effect if a digital display dryly had shown ”100%”.

How would you visualize how well your business succeeds in a fun, inspiring and emotionally involving way, so that you really could feel it?

Vertical Horse Racing Tracks

Let’s say you pick a wall at the office which many of you see every day. Also choose three to five goals that you want to illustrate, so it’s easy to distinguish them. The most appropriate goals are those concerning your business achievements reaching a certain level (turnover, marginal etc.), completing a project, or reaching a specific milestone.

For every goal, fasten a loop near the floor and a similar loop just below the ceiling and stretch a wire or fishing line between the two loops. Make it a double line, so you’re able to hoist something with it, similar to a flag pole. Attach a document clip to each of the two lines and to each clip, attach a plate or sign illustrating the goal you want to pursue. Let the top be equivalent of 100% goal-achievement and the bottom 0%. Adjust the level of the plates so that they represent the present level of the 3-5 goals.

In a way, it’s similar to another funfair attraction, the Horse Racing Tracks, only vertical.

When the results change, for example at the turn of the month, hoist the plate to the new, higher level of achievement. If you reach all the way to the top, call it a day, take the plate down and paste it just below the ceiling, next to all the other goals you have previously achieved, like a trophy. It’s a nice symbolic act to actually display your accomplishment clearly in this way, like a real milestone, and not just duly note it before moving on to the next issue or goal. Every morning when you get to the office, you are met by all the achievements you have accomplished. That will definitely get you going!

How do you do it?

How have you made the progress and development of your business visible for yourself, your colleagues and possibly even to your clients?

That is one of my very favorite questions, so please leave a comment below.

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