One of the challenges I see with leaders when it comes to communicating a vision for their organizations, is that they struggle with presenting the vision in a way that the team understands, engages with, and takes ownership of.
Well, to start with, most leaders suck at communicating (as indicated by almost every Employee Engagement or ‘Happiness’ survey that I have ever seen).
Next, we leaders think that if we communicate a message once or twice, then our people have got the message. In reality, people need to hear a message between seven and ten times before they start to think… “Hey, they might be serious about this vision thing.”
Why do we need to hear a message so many times? Well, the way our brains work is that every time we hear something new, a primitive safety mechanism in our limbic brain (specifically the amygdala, the hypothalamus and the hippocampus), wants to understand ‘why’ this information is important to us. If the information is presented wrong, our brains will doubt the benefit to us and we then start to look for data that supports our belief.
How then can we move our people to engagement faster? Paint a picture!
Here’s what I mean… Most human beings are visual learners. There is a process called a ‘Painted Picture’ developed years ago by Brian Scudamore, a Vancouver-based entrepreneur. I have used Painted Pictures with organizations both large and small all over the world. The results have always been the same. Leaders are able to communicate a vision or idea in a more clear and compelling way. Our limbic brains respond faster to visual and story-based information. A Painted Picture is visual (obviously) and leaders naturally explain the picture in a more story-based way.
It is remarkable to see seasoned executive leaders (as well as front-line team members) engage in this exercise. People laugh. They will tease each other about each other’s cutting and gluing skills.
In the end, leaders then go in front of their teams or the organization, and they will naturally explain the Painted Picture in a way that tells a story. Engagement and ownership happen. Results follow.
Here’s the cool part… the Painted Pictures can be digitized and used on PowerPoint decks, and the original ‘masterpiece’… it can be framed and hung in the hallways of your business.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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