Overview – Visual metaphor maps
Visual metaphor maps represent a key organisational concept, change initiative or new strategy as a visual metaphor to shift employee understanding and mindsets. The mapping process takes employees on a journey from point A (current state) to point B (desired state). Small groups of employees engage in discussions about questions posed by a facilitator as they progress along the map route. This exercise involves the use of graphic images (visual), peer discussion (auditory), and the placement of cards (kinaesthetic).
Use of a visual metaphor map helps simplify complex organisational issues and concepts. For example, use a visual metaphor map to build employee understanding about delivering superior customer service. Point A on the map might depict the current state as customers lost in a maze to show it is difficult for them to find the goods, services or help they want from the organisation. The journey to Point B might depict satisfied customers walking along a secure and sturdy boardwalk suspended above a boggy swamp to portray the ease of doing business with the organisation (desired state).
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Building a shared understanding about complex business-critical issues in a simple way that reduces information overload.
✓ Optimising performance on key indicators.
✓ Creating a shared sense of purpose and belonging.
✓ Forging connections through peer dialogue.
Things to consider:
⇒ Select this tactic when employee commitment to a specific issue is fundamental to improved performance.
⇒ Brainstorm with key people concepts for visual metaphors that portray the issue as it is, and as you desire it to be.
⇒ Tap into the organisation’s skills, resources and knowledge to Develop a range of facts and statistics about the issue as well as a series of questions and answers pertaining to those facts. Produce the map and associated collateral. Produce the facilitator’s guide.
⇒ Alternatively, use specialist external suppliers.
⇒ Train a core group of employees to facilitate the sessions.
⇒ Synchronise the running of map sessions across the entire organisation so that, within a short time-frame, all employees share a common understanding of what needs to be done, and their role in that effort.
Use visual metaphor maps as a springboard for ongoing communication about business-critical issues, such as:
– Customer/client service.
– Financial literacy (how the organisation makes and allocates money).
– Strategic direction.
– Values system.
– Major change programs.
Category: Face to Face