Visual Management

“A picture is worth a thousand words”.

This idiom could not ring truer at this moment in time, when people have increasingly less time to read and invest in the excessive amount of information everyone is bombarded with at all times. In the business world, just as with any everyday activity, images – videos, photographs, graphs – today represent what a newspaper headline did a few decades ago.

 

There are plenty of facts that show us why sight is the most crucial sense when it comes to management, many of which are scientifically proven:

-       The human ability to interpret what surrounds us is instinctive to the human brain;

-       We receive more than 80% of information through sight;

-       The human brain processes images 60 thousand times faster than it does text;

 

In this context, businesses are increasingly turning to visual management, searching for a faster and more effective understanding of information and to reduce miscommunication. There are many tools with which to transmit information in a visual way – from graphs to schemes, boards and murals, signage, post-its and KANBANs.

 

Among the different kinds of visual management, indicators present operational data. Another kind of visual management used to inform patterns or rules, like traffic signs and lights. Visual management can also be used to represent organisational structure, to analyse problems and follow task flow.

 

In the same way that there are many ways to apply visual management, the benefits are plenty. Visual management allows to

-       Control processes;

-       Identify problems;

-       Communicate in an assertive and simple way;

-       Raise the continuous improvement of processes;

-       Stipulate task prioritisation;

-       Increase the efficiency of problem solving;

-       Promote team collaboration;

-       Improve communication.

 

Besides visual management inside each project, resorting to work formats that are notably visual can be integrated with ease in other activities, such as internal events. The use of boards, graphs or images are examples of formats that, also in the context of meetings and presentations, facilitate the integration between participants and help trigger a quick feedback from an audience. High efficiency, good quality and low absenteeism are some of the effects that are triggered in employees that operate in environments where visual management reigns.

 

Considering all of this evidence, and in a clear adaptation to the current business reality of what is one of the most famous biblical quotes, more than “seeing is believing”, it’s important to “visualise to motivate, involve and improve”.

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