Seeing is Believing: The Key to Strategic Success


The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind.
Henry David Thoreau

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is never truer than when trying to understand your organizational strategy. You may have the right plan all mapped out and safely stowed inside a word document or a file cabinet, yet when trying to transition that plan from an organized strategy on paper to real-world operational success, something gets lost.

The key to more effective execution lies in better communication, and in order to better communicate a strategy must be well understood. At the heart of a successful understanding lies one core component: visualization.

Paint a Picture

If your team can’t remember the plan they can’t act on it, and people are far more likely to remember visual content rather than text. When a relevant image is paired with words, people tend to retain 65 percent of the information after three days. Yet with no image, only ten percent can be recalled. It’s all in the brain’s biology – while words are processed by short-term memory, images go directly to long-term.

It’s more than memory though; the brain simply understands visual content better and faster. Humans are hardwired to process visual information more efficiently. It has been suggested that visuals are processed up to 60,000 times faster than text. Certainly, many of us have found ourselves re-reading a book’s page again and again without actually understanding its content.

The Forest for the Trees

Turning your plan into a visual one does more than make it pretty and memorable. It also helps to break it down. This common sense tactic of reducing one large project into several smaller tasks is a key component of achievement. The bigger picture can often times be overwhelming, yet on the flip side it’s just as easy to become bogged down in the details and lose focus.

StrategyBlocks allows you to lay your strategic business plan out with both of these project methods in mind. Our system of cascading ‘blocks’ links subjective data such as workplace performance with more structured data such as KPIs. This not only gives executives a view of execution across the entire organization, but also empowers employees to monitor strategic progress and help ensure initiatives stay on track and are successfully executed. Everything is aligned vertically within the business unit and horizontally across departments.

Change for the Better

The hardest part of any organization’s strategy is often not the planning stage, but the execution. In choosing a visual format, your organization will be more apt to not only read the strategy’s content but also to remember it in their day to day. When we paint a picture, we also call attention to its many moving parts, bringing focus and clarity to the actions necessary for success.