navigating change with a visual

Maybe I should have stopped them?

The lieutenant looks out over the Alps.

It has been snowing for 2 days in a row. The unit he sent out to explore the grounds has not returned.

The third day they arrive. Exhausted. ‘We were lost’, a soldier explains, ‘fortunately someone found an old map in his pocket.’

The lieutenant looks at the crumpled map:

But this is a map of the Pyrenees

That is the core of the poem: Brief Thoughts on Maps by Miroslav Holub

Organizational theorist Karl Weick often uses the poem as an example.

What does he want to point out?

That you need to do something – to find out what you can do best

The map helps the soldiers move: They can share the image and decide together which way to go.

That is also how a change visual works.

It is a map for new territory

It shows the essence of the movement you want to make. For instance:

How do we cooperate effectively after the merger?

How do you help your teams to organize their work themselves?

How do you design your teaching if you put your students at the center of the learning proces?

A change visual offers an overview and it makes a link to the daily practice of your fellow workers.

But is is not too detailed: Then you no longer see the forest for the trees.

You have to be able to navigate

You see the connection between important elements. And you can use it to address a concrete situation.

It is something you can discuss.


That is the macro-micro effect

In the words of data visualizer Edward Tufte: People want to see the big picture – and their place in it.

A change visual gives you a sense of control

When you are in control, it is easier to get into action.

And then you can move on. Because when you do something, you see what works and what doesn’t. You take another step or you adjust.

But what if the map sends you in the wrong direction?

You can only find that out when you start walking.

Fortunately you are not in the mountains, lost in a snow storm.

And if needed, you can always make a new version.

To summarize

A change visual helps you to get moving. It gives oversight and it offers entries to decide what to do. That makes it easier to come to a joint decision.

And now?

Map out the change you are working on. This free visual thinking crash course gets you on the way.

Below you find a checklist to make your change visual effective. Click on it for a printable pdf.

We can also do an online visual sparring session

Then I sketch out the movement you want to make during our conversation.

Or I can design a change visual for you.

How to make your Strategic Change Visual effective - engage people with a visual