Executive Leadership Coaching

1 minute read

Align and Accelerate with "Visual Management"

Feb 10, 2017

Written by: Doug Murphy

What if there was a simple tool that would enable everyone in your organization to be aligned to a common set of team goals and priorities?  What if the same tool could enable the team to drive results faster and track progress?  And if that tool were also easy to implement and maintain, we would have a winner on our hands!  Fortunately, such a tool exists.  It’s called visual management.

Visual management boards are nothing fancy.  When Spinnaker works with our clients, we typically start with a simple visual display leveraging 3x5 cards.  Each card can represent a project or task that needs to be completed.  And the cards can be arranged in categories such as “To Do”, “Doing” and “Done” aligned by goal categories (e.g. “Increase revenue to $5MM”).  For teams spread across more than one location, online tools like Trello enable you to easily set up a virtual visual management board.  You can also use a visual management board to display key team metrics.

Here are just a few advantages of leveraging a visual management board:

  • Alignment. Creating a visual display reinforces what’s truly important for the organization.  Continually displaying priorities and status enables your team to focus their efforts.  It also provides a reminder of what is NOT important.
  • Assessment. Typically, you must wade through multiple reports and presentations to assess organizational performance.  A good visual management board provides all the critical information you need simply by standing in front of the board.
  • Accountability. Good visual management boards display when items are due and who is accountable.  And when everyone can see who’s responsible for what, you will have a higher on-time delivery rate.

To get the full value out of a visual management board, you need to incorporate it as part of your management practices.  We recommend at least weekly leadership team gatherings around the board.  Discussions should focus on what items are at risk and what the leadership team can do to help.  The gathering is also a great opportunity to highlight team wins.

After a few weeks of using a visual management board, you’ll be amazed at how the organization is more aligned and delivers desired results faster.