Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö

Visual Leaders

Kirjoitettu 17.02.15
Esseen kirjoittaja: John Blåfield
Kirjapisteet: 3
Kirja: Visua Leaders
Kirjan kirjoittaja: David Sibbet
Kategoriat: 1.1. Oppimisen suuntaviivoja, 4.2. Johjajan / valmentajan taidot ja työkalut, 4.3. Johtamisen ja organisaation kehittämisen työkalut, 4.6. Strategiakirjat

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Visual tool for leading are a thing that many leaders ignore. Even leaders who seem to use some visual tools don’t bother to try understand how to use them more efficiently. Ignoring the fact that vell used visual tools can enhance dialog and make a group of people think as a team. Visualisation also makes it easier to understand larger entities.

Without noticing we are using a lot of visual tools in our daily work as team entrepreneurs in Tiimiakatemia. We do SWOT analyses. We make scribbling and drawing notes to our training notebooks. There are whiteboards in nearly every room in Tiimiakatemia, that are used to draw all sort of stuff to explain what one is saying. So visualisation comes naturally to us.

Visuaalinen työskentely

I have produced a liking to visualisation in the time I have been in Tiimiakatemia, even though I’m not particularly good at drawing. I was really impressed when I saw the tools from Visual Leaders used in a panoramic way that is described in the book. The tools were used by a coach in a seminar that he was doing for a big company in Italy. I was there filming the seminar to make a visual memory for the participants. One tool I was particularly interested was Graphic History. The panoramic paper looked cool with clouds and earth dawn on it. But the really cool thing was how the tool got every participant engaged in filling the paper with the key moments of past year. Everyone else were listening when one was filling the canvas. Even though there were people from different divisions of the company and people from different countries.

I really wanted to use the tool with my team and I got the chance. We were doing a strategy day for our company. At this moment I had not yet read the book Visual Leaders, but it happened to be in our strategy day planning meeting. When i saw the picture of the tool I recognized it straight away. I did not need to read about it to know how to use it. I thought it would be good way to start the day by reminding ourselves what we did last year. I just tweaked it a little bit to work better in our system. And in the end it worked pretty well. Everyone remembered a lot of stuff that they had already forgotten. We also got some information from the end result. We noticed that after very work filled and profitable summer we had stopped doing too many projects that made money. Another thing we also noticed was that as teamcompany we hadn’t done too many things to present ourselves in front of the whole Tiimiakatemia. We hadn’t been giving back the good we were getting from the community.

History tool

After that we also used few other tools that were not from the book. In my opinion the end results were good. Not great but good. Everyone felt that they had their say and everyone could stand behind what we decided that day and thats good. But it is not extraordinary. I had hoped that we could have found a shining vision that everyone could follow in a passionate manner. I think there were many problems in our facilitation but thats ok. The main problem is probably much deeper. There are some things that we need to resolve before we can evolve to the next level and find a vision as a team.
Discussing why?

One thing that I think we need to discuss more in our team is “Why are we doing this.” Finding the motivation for doing something is in key importance. In a way we do a lot of stuff without knowing the reason, and thats little bit stupid. It would be much more pleasant to do anything if we knew the reason behind it. These discussions could be done more efficiently in a big group by the means of visualisation and metaphors.

One example that i found from this book is the roaring boat navigating down the river to the sunset. It can be used as a metaphor for a meeting or in my case a training session. The sunset is the outcome that we are seeking for. In training session it could be sharing knowledge or getting things forward. The boat that we all are sitting in is the agenda. What type of stuff should there be on the agenda. One of the oars is roles. What kind of people and roles are there in our training sessions. Of course there is teamcoach but i could be good to discus what kind of role does he have. The same applies to other roles like the facilitator of the training session and the participant. What is expected from them. Maybe also discuss if  our teams leaders have some different role in training session then those whom are not in leading roles. Last but not least is the other oar that presents itself as rules. There are a set of rules in our training session but we have not really updated tem for a long time. A talk about the rules would probably refresh people’s memories.

Boat on a river

In summary

This book is not for a pleasent cover to cover reading experience. In fact the text is quite horrible to read in some parts. But the useful information content in this book is pretty heavy. I think it is more suitable to be used as a toolbox for a visual leader. So I will definitely put it in my shopping list.


John Blåfield
CEO in company
Ideaosuuskunta Into


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