Mapping It Out: Helping Employees See the Big Picture

As a leader, it’s a good bet that you understand the power of showing vs. telling when it comes to communicating complex messages to your employees.

Time and again, our clients are amazed at how their complex messages can be rendered with clarity and emotional engagement in a simple graphical approach.Communicating important information verbally or in writing can be confusing and leaves the door wide open for interpretation. The mind’s eye is often quick to interpret what it understands the message to be – right, wrong or somewhere in-between. And once employees start talking, misinformation can spread like wildfire.

So how do you take the reins and ensure all of your employees receive, understand and see their role in your organization’s most important messages? You use a Blueline Simulations Journey Map.

Our Journey Maps use visuals, narratives and metaphors to engage employees in a highly participative way. They’re a proven, powerful tool for:

  • Providing an easy-to-grasp overview of robust and complex messages
  • Creating a narrative around organizational issues that allows readers to instantly see their role in the big picture
  • Engaging readers at both a rational and an emotional level – so they don’t just understand the urgency, but they actually feel it

A Journey Map Explained

A Journey Map is a small graphic, rich in both quantitative and metaphorical/narrative data. The standard tabloid-size 11×17 document is meant for “individual consumption” and is not to be confused with our Blueline Blueprint.

In addition to being “visual,” the Journey Map also is “narrative,” meaning that it enables readers to not only connect with individual messages, but also to better understand those messages in the context of how they relate to one another.

One of our clients successfully used a Journey Map to rebuild its employee onboarding process. The grand story about possibility, change, a shared vision and aspirations of the new hire – a story typically told in a series of lifeless bullet points – all came together in an efficient, effective, powerful story.

The Journey Map connected all the dots: New hires were able to quickly “find themselves” in the visual, while organizational leaders placed their progress in the context of a broader goal. This solution contributed to a best-in-class onboarding solution that is now regarded as one of the best in the country.

Similarly, another client was introducing culture change with dramatic implications for how associates interacted with customers. By presenting the change in narrative format, associates were able to reflect on their own roles within the initiative and recognize how their goals were aligned with the goals of the organization. The reaction was a stark contrast to the “defensive” response leaders were expecting.

Time and again, our clients are amazed at how their complex messages can be rendered with clarity and emotional engagement in a simple graphical approach. We welcome the opportunity to amaze you, too. In addition to Journey Maps, we also have ideas for couching your message in a narrative context for employee handbooks, investor communications and more.

Contact us today!

Sometimes Training Isn’t the Answer (Part 2)

You’ll recall that in my last post I shared the thought process that we go through when helping clients to determine the root cause of their challenge and therefore the most impactful solution. In this scenario, our pharmaceutical client needed to jumpstart the use of a new product planning process that they had recently updated and streamlined. They also wanted to reassure teams that leadership was committed to the use of the process and that they saw it as critical to the organization’s focus on impacting patient lives.

Rather than update the current training, together with the client we decided to develop two high impact communication pieces. The first, a telestration served as the ideal medium for communicating leadership’s commitment to the new product planning process, while simultaneously striking a powerful emotional chord by demonstrating the likely impact the new process would have on patient lives. As an added bonus, it provided a platform for introducing two new analysis elements that would be needed to complete the new process templates.

This unique approach enabled us to communicate all of this in a very engaging and visually stimulating way in just a few minutes – which drove high levels of viewership and, as a side benefit, meant it could serve as a refresher in planning discussions.

The second piece we developed was a powerful Blueline infographic that served to refresh the target audience on the overall process and then became a JIT ready reference job aide. This engaging, one-page visual graphically displayed key inputs, process steps and decisions-points.

Sample inforgraphic from Blueline

By sharing graphic elements between the telestration and the infographic we were able to drive adoption through consistent branding while keeping costs down. Want to learn more? Want to explore the power of a Blueline training and/or communications solution? Write to me or give us a call today.

Ready to put a powerful next-generation sales model into practice?

We’ve all suffered the same business development challenges. Identify a prospect who can benefit from our services, demonstrate to them that we can bring value, and convince them that they need to take action now. Repeat as often as possible.

Making major sales on a regular basis just got easier. Dale Olsen’s latest book details a break-through sales model that gives your organization a significant competitive advantage by combining consultative sales and motivational interviewing techniques.

We have combined this easily adapted sales model with the most effective interpersonal skills-building technology ever designed to produce an unrivaled sales skills training system now available for delivery via ILT, VILT and as online performance support.

Would you like to learn more or to take a free test drive of the simulation? Visit PEOPLESIM™: Supportive Selling Skills or schedule an appointment with Blueline today.

Sometimes training isn’t the answer.

Several years ago a Pharmaceuticals client called to ask us to revise and update a training program we had developed in 2006. Our original design combined an online branching simulation with an immersive classroom game to introduce their R&D organization to a new product planning process.

I responded by asking what prompted our client’s desired revisions. When the client answered: “To introduce new templates and a streamlined process that better aligns with the current business model,” I had my first clue that training might not be the answer. As we explored this more fully, three primary issues emerged. First, the new product development teams felt that the process was too complicated and time consuming. Second, they weren’t sure how the process aligned with the company’s new strategic initiatives. And third, teams weren’t convinced that leaders wanted or needed their output.

These issues pointed toward a different solution. So I asked: “If the teams knew what was now expected and they had access to the streamlined documentation templates, would they be able to successfully follow the process and complete the analysis and documentation?” Hearing, “Yes” I replied,

“Then you don’t have a training problem, you have the opportunity to build enthusiasm through powerful communications.”

BKDOne of the many frameworks we use to explore how best to help clients solve their business challenges is BKD (Believe-Know-Do). We start with what do you want your target audience to be able to Do. Then we explore what they need to Know in order to Do that effectively. And finally, what do they need to Believe to be motivated to Do it.

As the client and I continued our analysis of the situation, we concluded that teams needed to Know how the process and documentation had been simplified based on their feedback. They also needed to Believe that leaders needed the teams’ output to make critical decisions.

In my next post, I’ll walk you through how we saved our client time and money by implementing a communications solution. In the meantime, if you aren’t sure if you have a training problem or communications need, give Blueline a call.

You asked for it. How Telestrations come to life.

Thank you for all of your kind words in response to our holiday message this year. Our “Twelve Days of Christmas” holiday message is a simple version of one of our newer service offerings: a video telestration that combines a hand-drawn visual with music and voice-over messaging. Every telestration is designed to tell a story, whether it’s your ortelestrations-infographicSMganization’s transformation story, or something fun and simple like celebrating the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Since so many have asked about it, I thought that I would outline our process and introduce you to the talented artist behind it. From concept to final video even simple telestrations like “Twelve Days” take weeks to produce and hinge on the talents of a Script Writer, Art Director and a Master Artist. Click here to learn more about how telestrations come to life.