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10 Feb

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

Datum: 2010-02-10 09:54

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.