Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.28.57 AMBringing an organization, or even just a functional process within that organization, to higher levels of performance is a challenge. Workers often don’t know how well (or poorly) they’re functioning—if it’s always taken 7 days to close the monthly books, or 15 months to get through the product development cycle, then it’s just business as usual. Or people can’t see the problems their work creates for colleagues working downstream. Or there’s a deep-seated “us vs. them” feeling: “We do our jobs well in marketing, but it’s those guys in sales that create all the problems.” Or people can’t even agree on what the actual problems are. Or they just don’t care. That’s why visual management is so important. When people can see the processes in which they work with a value stream map (sorry, Pete Abilla), and when they can monitor and measure that process with visual controls, the obstacles to improvement are much easier to overcome. Rendering the current condition visible in a map and/or a dashboard externalizes it, so that we can examine it together, from the same perspective. As Michael Ballé writes in Lead With Respect, “we see together, so we know together, so we can act together.”

Visibility enables you to transcend the resistance to change that comes from differing perspectives, and harness your team’s innate creativity to create a better future.