Kevin Duncan, author of The Diagrams Book, has trained thousands of people, and it became apparent to him that many find it hard to express ideas and solve problems purely with words.
Diagrams are superb for organising your own thinking. Here, Kevin shares 3 diagrams to aid problem-solving:
Creating diagrams gives you a better chance of coming across as strategically well organised, or simply being better at explaining your point of view to colleagues and customers.
I use these diagrams all the time in training, and they really help people, so I hope you find them useful too.
THE AMBIVERT ARC
- It’s a commonly held belief that extraverts make the best salespeople, but a study by Adam Grant at the University of Pennsylvania blew all that apart.
- This Ambivert Arc shows the sales performance of introverts on the left through to extraverts on the right.
- Perhaps not surprisingly, extreme introverts have difficulty selling effectively. But so do extreme extraverts, usually because they show destructive behaviour, such as an excess of zeal and assertiveness, and adesire to contact customers too frequently.
- Those that succeed best are ambiverts. This is not a trendy new buzzword. It has been around since the 1920s, and is designed to describe those who can find the balance between being “geared to inspect” and “geared to respond”. It’s a powerful combination, and hopefully of great interest to introverts the world over.
Exercise: Start by regarding selling as simply persuading someone else that your point of view is valuable. Consider your next challenge of this type – a proposal or a presentation perhaps. Now balance the extremes of extraversion (too annoying) and introvertion (too recessive). Pitch your stance accordingly with a blend of both.
THE EBBINGHAUS ILLUSION
- This diagram is an optical illusion. The dark circles in the centre of each are the same size, but the surrounding lighter circles confuse us into thinking that the one on the right is larger.
- The name of this illusion comes from the nineteenth-century German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, who pioneered studies of cognition and memory.
- Jessica Witt of Purdue University had these images projected onto golf holes, and then watched the results unfold. Those golfers who faced the “little surround” on the right sank twice as many putts as the others.
- This effectively shows that performance can be affected by perception. So next time you are faced with a tricky task, you can use this visualization technique to perceive it as large and inviting rather than small and forbidding.
- Life isn’t a game of golf, but perception of a challenge can certainly affect performance.
Exercise: Choose a difficult task, project or challenge. Imagine a visual image that sums up what is at stake or what needs to be achieved. Either use your imagination or a sketchpad to envisage how it can be viewed in a less scary way, or in a more attainable form.
THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
- In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek introduces the Golden Circle, withwhy in the middle, then how, then what on the outside.
- The sequence is important because it’s the reverse of what happens in most companies, who can easily say what they do, and sometimes how, but rarely why they do it.
- In fact, it doesn’t so much matter what you do in business – it matters whyyou do it.
- The sequence mirrors how the brain works – with the limbic brain in the centre responsible for our feelings (why), and the neocortex performing rational functions (what).
- Business leaders can inspire everyone to take action when they start with why.
- Companies need clarity, discipline and consistency to stick to their ‘why’, and this becomes their true authenticity, unlike other companies who hilariously ask their customers how they can ‘be more authentic’.
Exercise: Choose a suitable subject, such as your company, department, or a major project. Write down what it does (this should be fairly straightforward). Now explain how it does it (possibly harder). Now articulate why it does it. This last one could be difficult. If there is no answer forthcoming, examine your purpose in detail. Without a clear one, people could be working in the absence of a decent reason, leading to poor motivation.
The Diagrams Book is available here.
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