Because of our focus on effective communication, we are always interested in media about new, interesting startups that work in the data visualization and analysis space. Palantir (headquartered on the West Coast) started with work in the national security space (notoriously rigid and hard to crack) here in DC but is also pushing into financial services.
The office culture looks fun but they do very serious work. Check them out.
The topic of this lecture is certainly outside of our industry focus, but is a really great example of compelling and thoughtful data visualization and display of time series sets. Fascinating points, dramatically illustrated by Dr. Hans Rosling.
Now that you have the green light for your big initiative, it’s your job to make sure that mid-level team members do get it and that they have the tools to communicate and make decisions with their supporting resources and colleagues across the enterprise.
In our experience, most successful initiatives, especially complex, cross-divisional initiatives have one thing in common: A clear, visual articulation of the end state that you can bring into every team meeting.
What do we mean by this? You need to build a one-page depiction of what the initiative will look like on the last day of the implementation which also illustrates how you’re going to get there. Bonus points for calling out the critical path and potential roadblocks.
Why are you spending so much shareholder money? Here take a look – I will show you.
What teams are involved in this project? Here take a look – I will show you.
What is the critical path? Here take a look – I will show you.
How can my team help you? Here take a look – I will show you.
There’s a big difference between a 15-page memo or PowerPoint describing your initiative and synthesized one-page graphical representation that metaphorically jumps off the page (yeah, color really helps). Especially today, as various communication technologies (oh, Internet, thanks for the distraction) train us to think and make decisions in ever shorter cycles, you have have to be clear and concise to get the results you desire.
One of the best change management leaders I ever worked for developed an innovative critical path diagram that described a process and systems implementation for a multi-billion dollar financial restatement. To give you an idea of scop, the 1-page diagram described the multiple-billion dollars spent on software development, how 60+ workstreams were connected and interdependent, and the ever in-flux critical path to completion. This was for the most complext accounting in finance.
It fit legibly on a sheet of 11×14 paper.
The genius of the diagram was such that it became the go-to contextual reference for a team of thousands. The CEO down to the contract programmer referenced this document in every meeting. Every meeting for 18 months!
Because of smart visual design and display of critical information, everyone was on the same page of one of the most complex projects ever completed in the world of corporate finance (I know, H-O-T).