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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!

Bringing Out the Leadership Potential in High-Potential Candidates

Your organization’s high potentials are tagged as such for a reason: They’ve been identified as demonstrating the potential to lead your organization successfully in the future.

Having the potential to be a great leader is one thing. Applying that potential in a way that creates outcomes consistent with your organization’s highest priorities is another.

It all comes down to experience

The saying that leaders are born, not made is only half true. The way we at Blueline Simulations see it, potential is the “born” part. Yet all of the potential in the world doesn’t mean a thing if it’s not used correctly. Only one thing can truly develop the skills and expertise necessary to be a great leader: experience.

A survey by global management consulting firm Booz & Co. shows that the majority of corporate leaders are not able to keep their priorities straight. They’re pursuing strategies they don’t believe in, and many of their own strategies fail to build on the things their companies are especially good at.
A survey by global management consulting firm Booz & Co. shows that the majority of corporate leaders are not able to keep their priorities straight. They’re pursuing strategies they don’t believe in, and many of their own strategies fail to build on the things their companies are especially good at.

So how do you ensure your next generation of leaders develops the insights and skills that can only come from experience? And how do you help them gain the experience necessary to prioritize and make decisions consistent with your highest priorities?

Enter Executive Challenge™, the latest in a series of leadership simulations designed to give your high-potential leaders insight and simulated real-world experience in dealing with nearly every strategic challenge imaginable – from talent management to compliance, from ethics to defining and executing a global vision.

We invite you to watch our recorded 55-minute webinar led by Blueline’s Director of Leadership Innovations, Steve Mosley. During the session, you’ll see first-hand how Executive Challenge™ will change the way you groom your next generation of executives for success.

Contact us today to learn more or schedule a private demonstration for your company.

All Questions Aside… You Already Have the Answers!

Proven systems, verified processes and time-tested techniques all sound good at first. After all, if they work for so many other organizations, they should work for yours too… right?

Not necessarily. In fact, standard off-the-shelf interventions and implementations that tout a “one-size-fits-all” approach rarely have the intended results. Why? Because every organization is unique, with a unique set of issues and challenges. What works like a charm at one organization could contribute to the demise of another.

…every organization already has the answers to its greatest challenges stored safely in the minds of its greatest asset: its people.

We at Blueline Simulations firmly believe that every organization already has the answers to its greatest challenges stored safely in the minds of its greatest asset: its people. So instead of searching for answers beyond your organization’s walls, you’d be wise to seek help mining the answers you already have.

Let their voices be heard

Enter Blueline’s Voice of the Business, a unique combination of background research, free-form interviews, focus groups and questionnaires designed to engage and secure the commitment of your employees while pinpointing critical issues and identifying solutions.

Mining insights from within your organization has benefits all around. For starters, the resulting systems and processes are uniquely yours – meaning you’re growing competitive advantage rather than “joining the club” of competitors who are all implementing “proven” solutions. And by engaging your people in the process, you empower them and set the stage for the all-important process of securing their commitment and buy-in.

Although our Voice of the Business process always follows these same five steps, the outcomes are as unique as the clients we proudly serve:

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Please contact us if you would like to know more. If you still aren’t convinced, take a few minutes to explore the blogs that my team and I have written over the past year or so. Each implementation was profoundly impacted by Blueline’s Voice of the Business.

Communicating Through Change

How a Blueline Blueprint Learning Visual and Quick Draw Video Can Help Tell the Story

Whether self-induced or triggered by external forces, organizational change can create confusion, uncertainty and fear at all levels – having a notable effect on morale, production and overall organizational climate.blueline-2.24.16v2

Although the end result is almost always positive, getting there can be a painful journey for everyone involved.

How you approach and communicate the change makes all the difference.

Whether change is embraced or polarizing, celebrated or chastised all comes down to one thing: leadership. It’s leadership’s job to align, communicate and get buy-in through a common message of both purpose and vision. “We’re doing this with you” rather than, “We’re doing this to you” is a message that’s both powerful and uniting.

Case in Point

A Fortune 100 healthcare company turned to Blueline Simulations after changes at all levels created fear and confusion throughout the organization. They enlisted our help in aligning stakeholders through a common purpose and vision for the future.

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Blueline led the way in helping to define their future and prioritize the actions that would bring it to life. More than that, we devised an approach to telling the story of their journey in a way that inspired employees and clients to embrace the vision and take the actions prioritized by leadership.

Capturing the Story Through a Blueline Blueprint

It started with one of our Master Artists drafting a Blueline Learning Visual that told the story of where the company had been. Plenty of white space was left to capture their vision for the future.

We then facilitated a one-day strategic planning session to guide our client’s efforts to define their vision for the future and prioritize the steps it would take to get there. Throughout the meeting, our Master Artist captured the process and the leadership team’s decisions. The final output was a table-size learning visual that the leadership team could use to engage others by telling the story of “where they had been, where they were going and how they planned to get there” in a fun, engaging way.

We repurposed the drawing and memorialized the leadership team’s efforts through a 4-minute narrated quick draw video telestration of the Master Artist creating the drawing so that it could be used to define and promote the organization’s brand. The final deliverable was a professionally narrated video of the Master Artist rendering the drawing for the audience. (Through the power of technology, the rendering takes place in about 1/60th of the time it actually takes to recreate the drawing.)

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The client kicked off its annual meeting with the quick draw video telestration, which set the foundation for a presentation by the leadership team. Large posters of the Blueline Learning Visual were on display throughout the meeting space so that participants could “re-experience” the journey with leadership.

The result is best summarized by the head of the organization, who opined: “The successful outcomes of this initiative are an important lesson in embracing the types of innovation we want to support throughout the organization. Through these efforts, we got 80% of the way to our destination in 20% of the time it usually takes us.”

Is your organization facing a challenging transformation? Contact the change management experts at Blueline today!

Learning Visuals Explained

Rich in visual metaphors and data, Blueline’s Blueprint™ learning visuals are a catalyst for in-depth discussion and analysis. Imagine a room full of teams of four or five learners each. At the center of every team is a table-sized Blueline Blueprint learning visual – a dramatic graphic that quickly engages the table team’s multiple learning styles by inviting learners to explore relevant visual metaphors, dig into data and trade personal experiences to challenge each other’s assumptions. And perhaps most important, they engage in rich dialogue that generates deep awareness of your strategic messages.

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