Recently, I found myself in a UK pub. After a quite spirited Brexit discussion, I got up to pay the check. What I saw confounded me. I took a picture (see above) to share it with you. Why? Because it perfectly illustrates how Visual Management can go awry. “You’re telling me a pin machine can shed a light on Visual Management?” you ask. Yes. That’s exactly what I’m telling you. So, what’s the lesson we can draw from this off-the-mark screen-and-button combination?

Consistency is key

Let’s perform a quick analysis on the pin machine. The screen shows a green square with a straight arrow which is supposed to direct me to one of the buttons. The problem is, the button in question is actually a round-cornered rectangle with a bent arrow. Keeping in mind that the ‘instruction’ on the screen should make things easier for me, we can conclude the pin machine achieves the opposite of its intention: I stop and stare to figure out whether I’m hovering my finger above the right button. When I find out I am, and I realize I’ve waisted some of my valuable time mulling over something so unnecessarily confusing, I’m annoyed.

Now, you might find this endlessly insignificant. Because what issues has it caused, really? Bear with me for a second. Let’s try to see what happens if you are this inconsistent on a larger scale. If a message on a performance board contradicts itself in any way, it may baffle employees on the work floor or (if they’re under pressure, and you truly messed up) send them into a frenzy. Suddenly, it’s extremely important that a square is a square and the shape of one arrow matches the other – if this isn’t the case, productivity will decrease, and your processes will slow down. See what I mean? A tiny mistake can make a huge difference.

Get your message across!

My point is, presentation matters, and the details you choose to share should be consistent, clear, and relevant. Want to explore effective ways to communicate your message through Visual Management? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to perform a Quick Scan and discuss your information sharing strategy.