When working on business transformations, I often start by showing the team a hybrid image of Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein, which was created by Dr. Aude Oliva at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is the same image but can be perceived in two different ways depending on the distance from it.
Stand far away and you see Monroe. Move up close and you see Einstein. Click on the
image above to experience the illusion.
Senior management, often wrongfully, believe their organisation looks like Marilyn, while people on the frontline see Albert. Middle managers, who have to artfully mediate between both views, are caught in between, and being in this position is often thankless. These brave souls talk to frontline staff and say, “Yes, it’s bad. I know,” while thinking, “Oh ****, I’ve got to change these reports -- tart them up, make them look good, or those at the top will cause mayhem down here!”
The Monroe-Einstein metaphor is also useful when examining end-to-end business, particularly in services and technology. At one end, the IT team, who manage the infrastructure, including all of the bugs and customer pain, see something quite unattractive. The developers or sponsors, at the other end, see their project as extremely appealing, a real beauty. Like the hybrid picture, this is all an illusion.
In situations like this, how can an organisation possibly have a consensus about what needs to be fixed? Without clarity of purpose, we get politics, bad customer experience and everyone concerned loses trust and loses out. In order to get a strategy for change, the entire organisation needs to see the same picture. If you are seeing a very different reality, things can go mightily wrong. So, when planning your transformation programme, getting that single vision is extremely important!
If you would like to discuss your organisation’s vision or what you would like for it to be, please get in touch for a free 1:1 discovery call. Click here.