Preparing to Write—Visual Consulting
I am preparing to write a new book called Visual Consulting: Designing & Leading Change, potentially as a fourth in the Wiley visual leadership series. This one will be co-authored by The Grove’s VP of Global Learning, Gisela Wendling, Ph.D., an expert on personal and organizational transformation. It seems right that after so many changes in our own lives, that we focus now on our learning about change, and engage the exploding global network of visual practitioners about how to become skilled consultants with this orientation. Our leading of The Grove’s new Designing & Leading Change workshop the past two years is fueling this new project.
Writing is a powerful act of reflection and letting go. Somehow the symbols, prepared in the right way, provide doorways for others’ imaginations, not just my own. Tight integration of words and images helps a lot. Visual Meetings was a worldwide best seller. It stimulated an eruption of interest in visual facilitation and supported literally dozens of startup consulting firms. Visual Teams (my own favorite) was as thorough an explication of the archetypal processes underlying group work that I could visually and textually describe. It’s the doorway to understanding Arthur M. Young’s theory of process—the operating system behind all of The Grove tools. Visual Leaders went full color, and makes the case for managers and leaders being visually literate. (If you haven’t seen or read these books you should. They are unreservedly filled with field tested principles and practices).
But who really reads today? Academics do of course. Some thought leaders do. But we practitioners are busy folk, and the time it takes just to keep up with social media has greatly eroded the time people spend with their own thinking—the kind of time reading a book allows.
This is why we want to write this new book on-line, in full view of everyone, on our new Global Learning & Exchange Network website. It will be live in the fall, but the writing has started now. Yes Visual Consulting will be a book, but it will also be an ongoing, co-creative exploration of how this visual consulting field really works, how you can succeed at it, and how we’ve sustained one of the country’s oldest organizational consulting firms based on these ideas
I’m hoping those of you who are following my and The Grove’s work will take the time to read these books. And if not reading in the traditional end-to-end fashion, then dipping in and trying things. I trained in magazine journalism at Northwestern. I think many people read books like they read magazines, and visual books can support this with a threaded weave of narrative and sidebars, for intellectual snacking and surprise ideas. Here’s an example from Chapter V: Visual Leaders.
So, be dangerous. Get these books out and treat yourself to a text/graphic read. And be ready to participate in helping create the next “book.” For some reason I think the world would benefit from having many more skilled practitioners of organizational and social change.