Garrath Rosslee, Change Management Consultant

I have grappled with simplifying strategy execution as an Industrial Psychologist and Change Management Consultant.

Despite over 20 years’ experience, over 100 assignments on 5 continents, the challenge of communicating what needs to be done and how it needs to be done often kept me awake in the early hours.

I have used scorecards, stakeholder maps, performance agreements, incentives, newsletters, Industrial Theatre, workshops, among many other orthodox techniques. While they were partially effective, I felt something was amiss.

It needed to be simplified, I mused - but was stuck as to how this should be better done.

Frustrated, I shared my conundrum with a colleague while in the DRC. At the time, I was even more challenged by working with a large organisation in rural Africa in a language and culture which was unfamiliar and unknown to me.

Pressed for “getting the message across so that everybody got it” I met with Tracey Swanepoel of THINKspiration and was immediately relieved.

She shared her approach to making strategy tangible and easily understood using Visual Strategy Maps. The maps set out where the company has come from, where it is now and where it is headed using a series of carefully designed pictures on a single page. I used this at Ruashi Mining and it worked a gem!

I was able to use the picture to tell the story that needed to be told. It did not matter that I could not speak French nor Spanish nor Portuguese as the picture told the story for me. Using a soccer analogy, my audience of over 1000 staff got the message of how far the business had come since a dusty exploration site to one mining over 50k tons of Copper.

It also set out what was needed for Ruashi to keep winning. I could convey the importance of SHEC, Maintenance, Production, HR, Administration and Logistics in a way that made sense to all staff – regardless of background, literacy levels or grade.

The Ruashi Visual Strategy Map became the tool by which I could introduce measurement and metrics; the vehicle for me to communicate progress and what needed to change. In essence, it helped become part of our vocabulary. It became the platform from which we could “get the message across”. I have used THINKspiration Visual Strategy Maps since and will certainly use them in the future. They help make a key challenge so much easier.