We're Not Trying to Diss on That Nice Bullet-Point Memo You Wrote, But...
Did you see my two previous blog posts? I wrote about the opportunity for greater linkage between communications and learning solutions; and then explored how narrative and metaphor have the unique ability to engage readers in a way that is highly participative.
Now let’s see if we can tie it all together.
- Providing an easy-to-grasp overview of robust and complex messages.
- Creating an involving narrative around organizational issues that allows readers to instantly see their role in the message.
- Engaging readers at both a rational and an emotional level – so they don’t just understand the message urgency but feel it.
Here’s how it works. A Journey Map is a small graphic that is rich in both quantitative and metaphorical/narrative data. With dimensions of 11 x 17 (a standard “tabloid” sized page), the document is meant for “individual consumption” and not to be confused with our “Blueline Blueprint” learning technology.
The power of the Journey Map is not so much that it is “visual” (although that certainly grabs attention.) More importantly, it is “narrative”“ which means that it allows readers to connect not only with individual messages, but to better understand those messages in a context of how they relate to one another. These narrative-driven messages are “stickier” than those items in your bullet-point memo, leading to greater comprehension and retention. (Although I’m sure your memo is really good.)
The Onboarding Process as Narrative Journey
For example, one of our client partners worked with Blueline to rebuild its new-employee onboarding process. Of course, what is onboarding but one grand story? It’s a story about possibility, change, the aspirations of the new hire, and the vision that the new hire and the organization both share. Whew. That’s a lot of “tell”. And when you try to communicate all of that aspiration in a series of bullet points, you can hear all of the air going out of the balloon.
Part of our solution was to create a journey map graphic that depicted all of these messages in a single narrative, built around images and data. Suddenly the messages all clicked together: New hires were able to “find themselves” in the journey visual, while organizational leaders placed their progress in the context of a broader goal. This solution (along with our learning approach) has helped to create a best-in-class onboarding solution that is now regarded as one of the best in the country.
Organizational Change; Career Progression; Mentoring Structures; and More
Similarly, another of our client partners – a global pharmaceutical company – was introducing a culture change with dramatic implications for how associates interacted with customers. By presenting the change in narrative format, associates were invited to reflect on their own role within the initiative, and recognize how their goals were in fact aligned with the goals of the organization. (This stands is stark contrast to the “defensive” response that leaders were expecting!)
In fact, our many case studies sound very much the same. Our client partners have brought us organizational challenges deep in complexity;¦and time and again have been astounded by how those complex messages can be rendered with clarity and emotional engagement in a simple graphical approach.
Of course, we’ve got more tricks up our sleeve. Give us a call today. We’ll give you a closer look at our Journey Map solutions. We’ve also got some ideas for couching your message in a narrative context for other communications, including:
- Employee handbooks
- Investor communications
- Change, vision, and culture messages
- Organizational identity (including onboarding audiences)
But enough about us. We want to hear your story. Contact us, and let’s explore some ways to bring it to life.
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