If you haven’t read the Painted Picture post, please do so!
A Painted Picture Can Bring Employees Together
Generating a Greater Freedom and Increased Efficiency
We’ve already talked about how aligning staff and employees to the Painted Picture are vital to your company’s success. We are going to take it to the next level and discuss something equally important: aligning stakeholders to your vision.
There’s nothing more gut-wrenching than when a client tells you they aren’t sure your company can meet their needs any more. They specifically chose you because they needed something that you could do or fulfill for them that no one else could. So what can you do to help fulfill their needs?
When clients come to me, concerned that my small company may not be able to keep up with their growing demands, I ask them a few questions:
Once I have these answers, which is a version of their Painted Picture, I can show them our Painted Picture. By illustrating our growth plan for the next few years, I have the opportunity to highlight how we can continue to meet their existing and upcoming needs. Being able to show clients this has been priceless. They have been able to see why they should put their trust in my company and then reap benefits from the products and services we provide.
As I’ve compared Painted Pictures with clients, we have done more than just help them realize we are and will continue to be a best fit to meet their needs. It has increased the trust and communication for our relationship. Having clients ask questions and see our Painted Picture clearly helps them understand that we are aligned with their needs, that we are willing to listen to all of their concerns, and that we are working hard to anticipate any future needs they may have.
Meetings like these reinforce how amazing establishing a Painted Picture truly is. The clarity, focus, and applicability it brings are truly amazing.
With each New Year, I noticed many friends and family, myself included, making resolutions to finally “get in shape.” While “getting fit” is a great goal, it is rather arbitrary. Simply stating you want to get in shape or get fit lacks the detail others need to adequately comprehend your goal. My understanding might be to simply drop ten pounds, while yours consists of a lifestyle change resulting in healthier eating habits and establishing a routine exercise plan. It is only when we are able to share the full picture that we are able to fully understand and help each other accomplish our goals. Having a Unified Growth Strategy at work is no different.
Share your vision: Paint the Picture
By now, you understand the basics of a Painted Picture. Thus, you know that it is hands-down, a good tool for a CEO to express their vision to staff. Therefore, one component of the painted picture should address how the company is going to move forward and grow in the upcoming years.
Not only do we need to share what and where our destination is; We need to share with our teams how we are getting to our destination. Driving cross country on Route 66 is a much different experience than a direct flight from JFK to LA. You can’t leave your staff guessing what they’re doing, where they’re going, and how they’re going to get there or you will wind up at different destinations or even worse getting to the same destination at completely different times.
Well, it’s going to depend on what you want. Perhaps your company’s strategy is going to be working with existing clients and helping them with their needs. That is a viable and sustainable growth plan. On the other hand, perhaps you’re going to look at selling to new clients and having a strong marketing strategy. If that is the case, then you’re going to need to look at implementing a sales force to go and do the legwork. Or perhaps you’re looking at expanding into new geographic areas. Maybe it means bringing in new software or technology to increase your ability or reach.
Once you made your decision, the point then is to clearly express the goals to your staff. Because if you just say, “We need to grow this year,” each team member is going to envision a different process to reaching that goal. Once your team fully understands the vision, though, they will jump on board. They will be behind you and they will understand what their role is in the plan or they will leave to other opportunities that fit their goals more closely.
Again, it all ties back to painting the picture for your team: whether it is in a growth strategy meeting or in the gym, you must have a very clear and specific goal you are reaching for if you want to get anything done.
When I first realized, through Cameron Herold’s Painted Picture, that the vision I had in my head wasn’t conveyed consistently or clearly to my business associates, I sat down and began to write. It took me a couple of weeks as I focused on making the vision and goals in my painted picture visible and understandable.
Once I’d written out my vision and goals in great detail, I had my staff read my notes. That brought a tremendous amount of cohesion to the group. Suddenly, they saw what I saw. They understood. They began to ask focused questions. But the best part was seeing that they finally saw how seriously I take our growth, standards, and having fulfilling lifestyles.
One night, as I was driving through the mountains, it started snowing. Driving conditions went downhill quick as the storm progressed to a full-out skier’s dream blizzard. Powder stacked up fast – both on the road and on my windshield. Thankfully, I was able to pull behind a snowplow. By keeping my sights on that vehicle’s lights, I was able to (very slowly!) reach my destination.
Running a business can feel like driving through a blizzard sometimes. If you can’t see where you’re going, it’s hard to set your tires on the right course. At least, unless there’s a snowplow to follow. Thankfully, there are 3 easy steps to make sure your business is on track.
Learning how to use the Painted Picture concept is absolutely vital to setting up your vision. In fact, it has to happen first. I highly recommend you read our earlier post regarding a painted picture before finishing this article.
In any case, you have to be able to describe where you are and where you’re going if you want people to join you on the journey. Even if it’s just you, you need to know where you’re going so that you don’t get lost on the way there.
Once you know where you’re going, you need to know how you’re getting there. You need to know your core values. For ours, we use the acronym TIPS: Transparency, Integrity, Professionalism, and Straightforwardness.
While you don’t have to use an acronym, you will want to create your own set of core values. We have chosen to use an acronym to assist with memorization. Core values help align current and future staff to the same path so we can move forward together. Nobody wonders where we’re going, how we’ll get there, or what creates success. We already know, because we can fall back on those core values to keep us aligned and unified.
Once you know where you’re going and how to get there, you’ve only got to ask yourself three more questions.
We follow Simon Senik’s adage to answer these three questions.
By answering these question we align our team. Gone are the days where our team struggles with direction or clarity. Instead, we’re able to quickly discuss Why, How, and What we are doing and gain consensus. Because of these questions we know why we need to get this done, how we are going to do this, and finally, what we are doing.
Before I attended a particular Vistage corporate seminar, I would not have imagined that “The Sound of Music” had a business application. Thankfully, Cameron Herald, CEO of Got Junk, gave a life and business changing presentation using that exact movie.
During the presentation to several hundred CEO’s, Cameron Herald asked for a volunteer who had not seen the classic film. The volunteer was then asked to describe Mr. Herald’s favorite scene from the movie. Despite some impressive acting on Mr. Herald’s part, the volunteer could not understand, nor describe, the scene. From here, we drew several business parallels.
As we head into a business planning meeting, sometimes we
end up like the two CEO’s up on stage. You, as the lead, have a clear image of
what needs to happen or what the big picture looks like. However, when your team fails to comprehend your vision, things usually go downhill.
It is our responsibility, as leaders, to take a step back and remember that it’s our job to communicate with our teams. They cannot see inside our heads. No matter how much we wish it were so, they simply cannot see the scene playing in our mind’s eye.
Rather than becoming frustrated or lashing out, we need to clearly describe what the big picture is – and any plans we have to implement it. We do this by illustrating in excruciating detail, exactly what our vision is, e.g., painting a picture.The picture we’re painting as CEO’s and leaders, is with words, charts, or reports, not paints and brushes. So the key then, is in the details. Don’t just say your big picture includes a lady singing. Describe how she is dressed, what she is singing about, the way in which she dances. Describe the setting, the location, the color of the surroundings, and the tone of her voice. Paint your audience a vivid, detailed picture that lets them visualize exactly what you see.
The Painted Picture method is one that we use with our clients and partners on a regular basis because it works. It gets results. And, when you’re ready, I’d love to show you, in picture perfect detail, how it can help you, too. This article is part 1 of a 5 part series from our CEO & Managing Director, Bob Stephen. In this series, Bob discusses the 5 Reasons Your Company Needs a “Painted Picture”