One of my favorite uses of visualization is Charles Joseph Minard’s map of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812. In fact, I have a framed version of it hanging just outside of my office.
The graphic is notable for its representation in two dimensions of six types of data: the number of Napoleon's troops; distance; temperature; the latitude and longitude; direction of travel; and location relative to specific dates. He created it in 1869.
- Setting goals
- Tracking trends over time
- Demonstrating Success
- Showing opportunities for improvement (what’s not working)
When tied together properly, organizations can tell powerful stories. The messages developed with these visuals can be used for both internal and external communications. Helping staff see how their work impacts clients increases employee engagement which, in turn, improves a whole variety of other metrics for the organization. (See Gallup link below).
“Simply put, engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees do -- across industries, company sizes and nationalities, and in good economic times and bad.” ~Gallup article
Setting Goals – Setting goals or targets clearly communicates the direction you want to take your organization. Displaying them in a visual sets them in concrete for everyone to understand. Goals or a True North works as a compass proving a guide to take an organization from the current condition to where they want to be. It might be viewed as a mission statement, a reflection of the purpose of the organization, and the foundation of a strategic plan. Setting goals or targets provides a precise, concise, and universal set of ideals which, when taken together, provide a compass that transcends any particular organization, strategy, geography, or culture.
In the end, telling a compelling story with visuals provides a great many benefits. Ensuring you are measuring the right activities and outcomes is the key. Then using the information to achieve actionable insights is the key to successfully growing your business.
Scott Harra, EVP of Marketing and Government Relations