5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Painted Picture: Pt. 5 — Generates Freedom and Efficiencies

This is our final part of a 5 part series on “The 5 Reasons Your Company Needs A Painted Picture” by our CEO, Bob Stephen. 

If you haven’t read the Painted Picture post, please do so!

The entire culture that RSC has built started when we really focused on the Painted Picture. When we initially presented our vision to our staff, I noticed that my staff either agreed whole-heartedly with the vision, or they disagreed and had concerns.

A Painted Picture Can Bring Employees Together

The staff that believed in the vision helped RSC to grow and become closer. They wanted to move forward because the vision gave them the clarity, energy, and strategies to do so successfully. Within the group of people that disagreed with the vision, I noticed two factions: the first was the people who didn’t believe in the vision, and the second was the people who simply needed more context to understand the vision. We helped those employees who couldn’t align themselves with the vision into another job at another company. We knew, like other companies before us, that we wanted to change how we operated our at-work family, so to speak. This kind of change will always end up in some high initial turnover rates. A great example of this is Tony Hsieh’s (CEO of Zappos) move to Holacracy. He gave those employees who were not ready to make the change into Holacracy a choice to either adopt the principle or leave with $2,000 and the past week’s pay. Read about his changes to his company culture and how he helped those employees who weren’t in accordance with the vision where they would feel more comfortable.
The employees that simply needed more context to understand the vision and what it was trying to accomplish. I provided several one-on-one meetings with those staff members. After a handful of meetings, once they understood where the company was going with the vision, realized that they were able to align their ideas with the Painted Picture.

Generating a Greater Freedom and Increased Efficiency

Once the entire company was on board with the Painted Picture and company vision, people found that they have greater freedom and efficiency.
Freedom
Because the staff is no longer bogged down with trying to guess where the company is going, they don’t have to second guess each and every action, nor wonder whether or not they are doing the right task. Instead, they know where the company is headed, what they need to do, and how to get there. It also frees their time to do the job at hand instead spending time wondering whether or not they are on the right track. The Painted Picture also facilitates communication, because employees know how, why, and about what to talk. They don’t have to guess the topics or the how-to’s, creating more freedom and less politics in inter-office communication. We, as a company, are able to get together and talk about things very quickly and efficiently.
Efficiency
The result of this freedom and open communication is that we as a company are more efficient. Meetings take half as long as they once used to because we’re able to communicate better. For example, project management meetings used to last all day; they’re now about 5 hours long. Mid-management meetings used to be 3-4 hours long; they’re now 60-70 minutes long.

 

Even though the meetings are shorter, we are able to complete just as much, if not more, work. We’re able to address many issues in just a few sentences before making a decision to move forward. This is due to the fact that we all know the direction that we need to go, thanks to the Painted Picture. We’re also better equipped to assess strengths and weaknesses of our team, and how those fit in with the company’s vision. In that way, we’re able to encourage continued growth in employees’ strong areas and help them find other, better options for strengthening weaker areas of performance.

 

Overall, having our painted picture has provided a huge amount of freedom and drastically increased our efficiencies in the company. That’s why, when I get comments about how amazing our company culture is, I can’t help but smile. It has taken a lot of work to get where we are, but it has been worth it.

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5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Painted Picture: Pt. 4 — Align Stakeholders

This is part 4 of a 5 part series on “The 5 Reasons Your Company Needs A Painted Picture”
 
If you haven’t read the Painted Picture post, please do so!
 

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.

The Importance of Using a Painted Picture to Align Stakeholders

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?

Compare your Painted Pictures

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:

    • What is your growth strategy?
    • What is your exit strategy?
    • What areas are you focusing on in the next 1-2 years?
    • What new needs or activities will you need from us over the next few years?

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.

Use Painted Pictures to improve client relations

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.


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5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Painted Picture: Pt. 3 — Present a Unified Growth Strategy

This is part 3 of a 5 part series on “The 5 Reasons Your Company Needs A Painted Picture”

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.
exactly

Which Growth Strategy is right for you?

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.


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5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Painted Picture: Pt. 2 — Creating your 3-Year Goal Plan

This is part 2 of a 5 part series on “The 5 Reasons Your Company Needs A Painted Picture”
 
If you haven’t read the Painted Picture post, please do so!

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.

Setting Your 3-year Plan

Everyone talks about their 5 and 10-year plans, and those are good to have. However, a 3-year plan is my “secret sauce” to making business goals achievable. Five or ten years is too long to dedicate to a project without seeing results. I have found that a 3-year plan is just right.
Think of your 3-year plan like a puzzle. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a thousand tiny puzzle pieces. First collect all the edge pieces and build the border. Once the frame is established, you separate out the pieces by color, image, and so forth until you little by little piece the image together. When you implement a 3-year plan, your team is
more focused on analysis, review, and on seeing results.

 

Sharing your vision and your 3-year plan

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.

We encourage questions as we continued to “paint the picture” for my business. We set up thought provoking quizzes to determine comprehension levels. We continued to paint the picture. And we make sure everyone is on the same page. It wasn’t an overnight training, but it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve made as a company.

 

In fact, it is just like the puzzle. It’s going to take time. It’s going to be an iterative process to get all the pieces in their proper place. But with your 3-year goal plan as a guide, you will successfully complete the image.

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6 Ways to Change a Business Culture: Pt. 1, Set a Vision

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.

3 Easy Steps to Set a Vision and Align your Company

Paint Your Picture

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.

Develop Core Values

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.

Answer: Why, How, and What?

Once you know where you’re going and how to get there, you’ve only got to ask yourself three more questions.

• “Why?”
• “How?”
• “What?”

We follow Simon Senik’s adage to answer these three questions.

  • Why: We are passionate about meeting the needs of our clients by providing state of the art, easy to use, and modern IWMS solutions.
  • How: We study technologies, review and assess for applicability, and work to embrace and incorporate the appropriate solutions.
  • What: We provide the results for medium to large companies to help manage their assets through Fast, Efficient, Professional IWMS Tools and Consulting.

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.


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The 5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Painted Picture: Pt. 1 — It Communicates Your Vision

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.

 

Acknowledge That Others Can’t See Inside of Your Head

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.

You may end up, as Mr. Herald did, angrily demanding, “How can you not know?!”

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.

Paint Your Picture Clearly

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.

Communicate Your Vision Regularly

It is amazing to see how our team has become more driven and focused as we place an increased focus on RSC’s Painted Picture. We all have the same big picture. We all have a clearer idea of what we need to do. And, as such, we are all able to work more efficiently and effectively.

This being said our Painted Picture was not a one-time event. We spent a solid month or more painting and repainting the picture so that everyone was clear on what direction we were moving. Since that initial vision sharing process, we’ve continued to repaint the picture, effectively keeping us focused.
Taking a month or so to describe your plan may not seem efficient or effective. But I promise it is. I’m not left wondering if my team understands the vision any more. I know they see it. Their work is proof of it’s effectiveness. As with any great investment, you must take the time to do it right.


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”


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