This is a plea for the Swiss German expression Auslegeordnung. Auslegeordnung is a funny and practical word. It means literally to display (auslegen) an ordre (Ordnung). You stop being busy and lay out all the information visually on the table, you see and from there you make the next smart move.
Dump & visualize
Where is the key? I stop searching and unpack my bag. I dump all the things on the floor and display them in front of me. The quick overview answers my question whether the key is there or not.
See & Act
I had a meeting with a network coordinator. She is planning the development of a knowledge management strategy process and asked for advice. We started our meeting with dump & visualize: First she dumped her ideas, facts, concerns and questions by writing them on little post-it notes. Without judgement. Then we organized the written pieces and assembled them in clusters. We divided process from content; problem statements from solutions; doubts and questions from facts (inspired by Dynamic Facilitation LINK).
What we created was an Auslegeordnung. Bit by bit we gained overview. What she saw made sense, it was obvious to her. And the good thing is that it cleared her mind.
Through the visual process the network coordinator could see and understand where she stands and what needs to be done. She was able to take decisions and identify action steps.
In the world of business, people need to understand before they can make decision. Visuals create alignment by breaking down complexity into a form that everyone understands. When everyone on the team is aligned and agrees on all of the parts, a fully-mapped visual is what they need in order to make meaningful commitments to each other.
Dump & visualize – See & Act
Making an Auslegeordnung is the simplest visual planning tool. Also visual systems like Kanban and Design for Wiser Action start with making an Auslegeordnung and relay on the basic pattern of stop – visualize – see – act. I love both Kanban and Design for Wiser Action. Without my Kanban board my planning and probably my head would be a mess.