Imagery and Training

In yesterday’s Advisor, Chris Ainsworth, head of talent and organizational development for TD Bank®, wrote about how visualization and imagery are powerful leadership tools. Today, Ainsworth expounds on how visualization can help train and motivate your team.

Focus on Measurable, Implementable Objectives

When applying visualization techniques with your team, a common mistake can be being too general with your inspirational imagery and messages. This can end up creating a workplace vibe akin to a team locker room plastered with abstract motivational posters (e.g., “There’s no I in TEAM,” “It’s the journey—not the destination”).

While this can be a way to inspire some individuals, an approach that can be more broadly effective in the workplace is to focus on a short list of goals that can be realized in more concrete ways and to implement visual aids that articulate the incremental steps to accomplish those goals.

Chart Your Team’s Success

The best complement to creating a step-by-step plan for your team to achieve its goals is to track its evolution. For long-term projects, this can be as simple as a Gantt chart or calendar on the wall that monitors progress and keeps you on schedule.

This is also where tools like Slack®, Basecamp®, and other project management systems can be incredibly useful. As you surpass milestones, both as a group and individually, it’s important to celebrate your accomplishments—even in small ways.

Use Imagery for Training and Employee Education

In addition to surveying the behaviors and attitudes of individuals with regard to visualization, TD Bank also asked small business owners about how effective they felt the technique was for their firms. One key takeaway has to do with using visuals during training and employee education. Incorporating images as a component of employee training was a practice adopted by just one-third of small business owners, according to the TD survey.

With the large volume of turnover anticipated as Baby Boomers leave the workforce and as Millennials assume leadership positions, using imagery in this way in the workplace can provide a valuable channel for knowledge transfer. TD’s survey bears this out: Millennials are nearly twice as likely as Boomers to visualize success-driven goals.

At TD Bank, we use images that convey why things matter, photos of customers, and hands-on employee simulations to motivate and teach employees. We’ve seen incredible success with these methods. Employees and business partners might forget what you say, but an image can make a lasting impression. Introducing even basic visuals to demonstrate essential business processes can have a major impact on your team.

As training professionals, we are in a unique position to tap into visualization as a tool to motivate teams, increase levels of job satisfaction, and create a more positive work environment. I challenge you to consider how you can make images and visualization practices a regular part of your team’s strategy for success.