I’m sure that I’m not alone in noticing how often I’m confronted by jigsaw puzzle styled communications for (insert numerous business challenges) working in internal communications and specifically strategy (cringe, right?). Personally, after twenty years in internal communications, if I never see another jigsaw-style design again it will be too soon. The format is so overused – it’s become a cliché, and a bad one at that.
I found myself thinking why? What is it about jigsaws that make them the go-to visual in so many strategies, change, diversity – you name it – communications? Puzzle no more. I have the answer.
What the dreaded jigsaw puzzle is actually saying
The aim is to create a vision and understanding of the strategy that is shared. To drive alignment and collaboration around priorities and goals so that a business gets the right action from everyone. Just like a completed jigsaw, success is driven by every piece of the organisation coming together to form something greater than the sum of its parts.
Let’s put the jigsaw puzzle in the bin
So yes, the jigsaw analogy works. We all need a vision of the future to engage with. But rather than using a picture of a jigsaw as your metaphor, why not create your own compelling big picture? A meaningful visualisation of success that will help your business get focused and stay on target.
Visualising your strategic vision is an amazingly powerful thing. A picture paints a thousand words after all. A really great strategy map will bring your organisational vision and priorities to life in a meaningful way. It can be your North Star and offers brilliant opportunities for interactive communication sessions to be embedded right across your business.
It’s more fun when you do it together
Giving teams the opportunity to work together on a shared vision is a powerful motivator. You can use your big picture to generate thoughts, ideas, collaboration and action. We’ve created loads of strategy toolkits that include communication tools for teams to explore their contribution to success. Teams can plan their tactics at a local level while being focused on the same end goal.
Stay focused on the big picture
Sustained communication and revisiting the big picture will remind everyone what you’re collectively trying to achieve. With this in place, you can think about breaking down and prioritising what needs to happen first and build in the layers to support further engagement. Teams can confidently and more naturally make decisions towards the goals as they understand and can see how everything fits together – jigsaw-like 😉
Celebrate quick wins
When embarking on something new it can feel daunting. The more you understand why this is and see how everything fits together, and break down the process of success, the easier it is to get moving. It’s important to see the steps of the journey ahead and also recognise when you’ve achieved goals along the way. You can update your visual map to show the progress that’s been made – there’s nothing like a sense of forward momentum to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize.
Why direction is so important
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
It’s time to make your communication more strategic, not just about strategy. Have you ever truly visualised what success might look and feel like for your business? If you have no idea where you are going or trying to build, how can you succeed? Here are some tips:
- Visualise your vision in detail – create a visual mood board.
- Break down the steps – what will you need to do to get where you need to go and what are the tactics to achieving each step?
- Share what you are doing with others – this holds you accountable when they ask “how’s it going?”
- Celebrate when you achieve key steps and make sure you have some quick wins to keep you motivated.
“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand”
If you’re currently thinking about communicating a new strategy or transformation project, think about what the strategic big picture looks like, then create and communicate it rather than using an image of a jigsaw to give the impression of the big picture! If you want your people to embrace your strategy and help with the journey, you owe it to them to ensure they know where all their hard work is taking them. Then have conversations about what it means to everyone individually and as a team, define the takeaways and actions that can make it part of everyone’s role.
How we do it at Home
At Home, we’ve notched up a whopping 37 years’ experience creating award-winning internal communications. For ten of those years, we’ve been busy creating strategy maps and communication tools that work. They give businesses a big picture that’s meaningful, creating a shared vision that’s easily understood and supports both leadership and managers to engage with teams for successful outcomes. Not a jigsaw in sight.