“A picture speaks a thousand words” (Anon)

With the acceleration of smartphone technology and the subsequent use of the mobile phone as the key communication medium adopted by the world, so also the development of lens technology accelerated to keep pace with the needs of device owners. Most smartphones now have two or three lenses for different purposes, enabling people to “capture the moment” in whatever contexts they may find themselves. These pictures are then shared prolifically to communicate emotion predominantly, but also to relay facts, teaching and other messages. The photographs seem to solicit a response – they require the viewer to feel something and possibly do something as a result of viewing the picture/video, e.g.:

  • Relational warmth – the development of solidifying relational bonds amongst family members, friends, colleagues, animals (pets), etc.
  • Information – to learn something further about that which has been photographed (the images possibly also used for record-keeping)
  • Emotional content – humour or horror (to laugh or cry)
  • Human potential – be amazed or disgusted, astounded or horrified

Companies also have pictures – not necessarily physical pictures (although these may be included), but concept images that communicate company priorities, culture expectations and required behaviour. These “pictures” also solicit a response from managers, employees and customers alike. They speak to the brand proposition, the reputation and the set of values that the company holds dear. They inform behaviour expectations within teams; they define quality goals and production targets; they suggest service that customers can expect. They talk to aspirations and dreams, offer direction and solidify intent in the minds and hearts of all who work for the company.

Not all companies use images effectively unfortunately – or the images that they have represent what one doesn’t want to see in the company culture or experience with its service levels. This is typically caused by poor leadership or bad behaviour – serving as an example of what is deemed to be acceptable, even though way less than the best. “Sloppy” (and sometimes disinterested) leadership reinforces poor performance and, subsequently, poor results.

Pictures are powerful – they do speak a thousand words. Both physical and concept images should be used by those in leadership to propel all that the company values and to align behaviour appropriately.

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