Before I attended a particular Vistage corporate seminar, I would not have imagined that “The Sound of Music” had a business application. Thankfully, Cameron Herald, CEO of Got Junk, gave a life and business changing presentation using that exact movie.

During the presentation to several hundred CEO’s, Cameron Herald asked for a volunteer who had not seen the classic film. The volunteer was then asked to describe Mr. Herald’s favorite scene from the movie. Despite some impressive acting on Mr. Herald’s part, the volunteer could not understand, nor describe, the scene. From here, we drew several business parallels.


Acknowledge That Others Can’t See Inside of Your Head

As we head into a business planning meeting, sometimes we
end up like the two CEO’s up on stage. You, as the lead, have a clear image of
what needs to happen or what the big picture looks like. However, when your team fails to comprehend your vision, things usually go downhill.

You may end up, as Mr. Herald did, angrily demanding, “How can you not know?!”

It is our responsibility, as leaders, to take a step back and remember that it’s our job to communicate with our teams. They cannot see inside our heads. No matter how much we wish it were so, they simply cannot see the scene playing in our mind’s eye.

Paint Your Picture Clearly

Rather than becoming frustrated or lashing out, we need to clearly describe what the big picture is – and any plans we have to implement it. We do this by illustrating in excruciating detail, exactly what our vision is, e.g., painting a picture.The picture we’re painting as CEO’s and leaders, is with words, charts, or reports, not paints and brushes. So the key then, is in the details. Don’t just say your big picture includes a lady singing. Describe how she is dressed, what she is singing about, the way in which she dances. Describe the setting, the location, the color of the surroundings, and the tone of her voice. Paint your audience a vivid, detailed picture that lets them visualize exactly what you see.

Communicate Your Vision Regularly

It is amazing to see how our team has become more driven and focused as we place an increased focus on RSC’s Painted Picture. We all have the same big picture. We all have a clearer idea of what we need to do. And, as such, we are all able to work more efficiently and effectively.

This being said our Painted Picture was not a one-time event. We spent a solid month or more painting and repainting the picture so that everyone was clear on what direction we were moving. Since that initial vision sharing process, we’ve continued to repaint the picture, effectively keeping us focused.
Taking a month or so to describe your plan may not seem efficient or effective. But I promise it is. I’m not left wondering if my team understands the vision any more. I know they see it. Their work is proof of it’s effectiveness. As with any great investment, you must take the time to do it right.

The Painted Picture method is one that we use with our clients and partners on a regular basis because it works. It gets results. And, when you’re ready, I’d love to show you, in picture perfect detail, how it can help you, too.
  This article is part 1 of  a 5 part series from our CEO & Managing Director, Bob Stephen.  In this series, Bob discusses the 5 Reasons Your Company Needs a “Painted Picture”

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