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Visual Learning, Part Four: Mapping

Visual business solutions are applicable to a number of critical applications across the enterprise. These include strategy implementation, board governance, process improvement, risk management, audit and internal controls, leadership development, organizational transformation and project management. Regardless of the specific application, there are four crucial elements required to build a relevant and useful business map.

1. Effective discovery process

Business mapping starts with an effective discovery process with key stakeholders. This process is front-loaded by a facilitator who uses an in-depth database of discovery questions. These questions are tailored to the specific application and organizational factors (i.e., industry, function, size, complexity, culture, altitude, etc.) . The process must be flexible while maintaining a focus on business solutions. As a result, the discovery process engages and focuses participants’ creative strategic thinking, while empowering them with greater ownership of the problems and, therefore, the solutions. The discovery process also initiates new types of discussions, which become the standard for creating visual solutions.

2. Customer-centric perspective

Visual business solutions must be grounded in a customer-centric perspective. This perspective reflects customer needs, strategies, processes, products and service outputs, as well as their experience working with the company (known as customer “moments of truth”). The emphasis is on the organization’s unique value proposition, the tangible or intangible reasons customers will buy from it instead of its competitors.

3. Rapid mapping process

It is important to clients that the mapping process is rapid and requires minimal distractions. To that end, the ideal approach is for the consulting firm to compress the process by utilizing the data gathered in the discovery phase to build a straw man map. The straw man contains enough detail for clients to quickly react to and modify it, yet does not contain so much detail that it inhibits the clients’ creative thinking process as final iterations are created. Depending upon client availability, creating a completed map usually requires only four to eight weeks elapsed time.

4. Highly-personalized outputs

Highly-personalized outputs allow each client to receive maps that reflect their organizational culture, values, ecosystem, industry and any functional group being represented. This approach positions the maps as a serious contender for employee, manager and executive mindshare—a critical challenge for all organizations.

Impact on Learning and Retention

The result of these four elements is mapping an experience based on the learning modes of “see, say and do.” The impact on the retention rate of employees’ who experience these combined elements is summarized below.

Learning Mode Retention Rate
Read 10%
Hear 20%
See 30%
See and hear 50%
Say 70%
See, say and do 90%
  • About The Author

    Aaron Howard

    Aaron is a leader, technologist, musician and horse person with 25 years experience in starting, growing and monetizing successful businesses. While it would not be unusual to find Aaron in the middle of Montana every October with his wife Marianne riding horses every day and enjoying the "truly big sky", it is always a possibility that he is online. Aaron’s passion for new technologies such as social media is contagious and its been said that after a day with Aaron you will find yourself tweeting, posting, blogging, searching and roaming the web for an opportunity to be part of his vision. His most recent passion focuses on driving growth through the winning combination of leadership and emerging technologies. Learn more about Aaron and growth here at Full
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