What’s going on? How much change can we tolerate? What’s going to happen next? To whom can I turn to help me understand this? How do I help my team make sense of it all?

Whilst it might seem that the world has become a ‘crazy’ place, our parents and grandparents are likely to have thought exactly the same about the time they lived through. ‘Craziness’ is not a new phenomenon when it comes to complexity and the speed of change, it is the context that has moved on (plus a pinch of technology etc.).

Organisational, functional, people and team leaders across the globe have the unenviable task of making sense of the world for themselves AND hold the additional responsibility of helping the people in their organisations to make sense of the world around them – especially what this means for their individual purpose and objectives.

The good news is, unlike our grandparents, today’s leaders have the advantage of many versatile tools and techniques at their disposal to help others make sense of the world. These include many powerful visual tools that enable a range of stakeholders, including employees, to make sense of the organisation’s strategy and their place in it. 

Powerful visual examples include 1) rich pictures that bring to life the organisation’s strategy and/or the external landscape, 2) storyboards that generate an understanding of an experience from a specific point of view such as a customer 3) animated explainer videos that share an engaging story wherever the intended audience may be to experience it, and 4) infographics that engage and create knowledge based on concrete data. All of these tools, plus others, are accessible and at the leader’s disposal with a little specialist help.

A range of visual communication techniques including graphic recording, rich pictures and infographics, enables leaders to help their teams to make sense the world.
Images created by Inky Thinking team

In a paper from the World Economic Forum, critical thinking and problem-solving skills topped the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence. Critical analysis, or in simple terms ‘sense making’, is a must have for any leader now and in the future. So if sense making is the ‘what’, the ‘how’ is the way in which you as a leader make that happen. 

In summary:

  • Despite the era, the current world has long been regarded as a “crazy” and fast moving.
  • Leaders at all levels must help their people to make sense of their environment in order for organisations, teams and individuals to thrive.
  • Making sense of context (critical thinking) is a must have skill for every leader, at every level.
  • A wide range of accessible, engaging visual tools exist, enabling leaders to engage their people and generate meaning for others.

As a leader, how are you enabling your teams to make sense of the world today and tomorrow?

World Economic Forum – ‘These are the top 10 job skills of tomorrow – and how long it takes to learn them.’ October 2020.

Content taken from ‘The Visual Meeting Coach’ LinkedIn newsletter by Tom Russell. To subscribe to Tom’s newsletters visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasrussell/

About Tom …

Tom is a visual meeting facilitator and founder of Inky Thinking, a creative agency specialising in bespoke visual communication, enabling leaders and organisations to communicate effectively. Tom works with leaders and teams in global organisations to design and facilitate conferences, meetings and workshops.