Power of the Painted Picture

Communication Purpose Respect


Key Point: Both people and organizations need a painted picture to guide their future. Vague “vision statements” and/ or bland, generic “purpose statements” are essentially useless and even demotivating. Broad statements like, “We will be the greatest,” “We will be excellent at,” etc. are often a big waste of time and probably meaningless because they are so abstract. They are left completely to personal interpretation and while that may be attractive in art, it is generally counter productive as a visionary, aspirational guide for individuals and institutions.

I recently heard a presentation by the Chief People and Culture Officer of 1-800-Got-Junk?. This incredibly successful company is totally driven by its “Painted Picture.” Over 3,000 employees (Junkies) and thousands of franchise holders are inspired by founder, Brian Scudamore’s, richly outlined corporate “Painted Picture.” Scudamore and his leadership team paint that picture in sensory detail, always looking five years out. And based on that colorful artistry have accomplished over 96 percent of what they have sketched in their always evolving picture. Watch Scudamore’s video for three minutes to get the essence.

We recently engaged a performance coaching company called The Inside Edge to work with select, top performing leaders. This coaching firm is composed of performance sports psychologists that help world-class athletes achieve their peak and ultimately ascend to the “podium.”  One of their core development techniques involves IMAGERY. The psychology is that if we can hold a vivid picture of ourselves long and steadily enough, we will be drawn to it. This is based on hard-core science and research. So the Inside Edge emphasizes that great results and living starts with a rich picture held in one’s imagination. However, to be truly compelling, this picture ideally involves every sense. It is much more than words. It includes deep detailing of what one can see, hear, smell, taste and feel. All five senses help people understand that our bodies mostly do not distinguish between what is imagined and real. Imagery, whether we do so consciously or not, literally precedes every action and permeates every thing we do. Therefore, positive images support success while negative images undermine.

Character Moves:

1. To create a compelling and powerfully attractive future, paint a sensual picture of it. You need to find a quiet place and allow yourself to enter a relaxed and mindful space. Allow your imagination to outline what you want your future to look like. Paint every part of that image with every sense. Write it out in comprehensive denial. 140 characters will not do. No Twitter feed in this exercise.

2. Painting pictures that involve all senses are exceptionally valuable for outlining an “end state.” For example, where you want to be three to five years from now. However you can use the same technique to change your current state of being (I’m feeling bummed out today), improving performance (getting ready to make a presentation), or problem solving (pre-playing a challenging scenario).

3. Learn how to paint. Your imagination and beautiful mind is your brush. Be your own Picasso!

Painting Pictures in The Triangle


One Millennial View: Sometimes we have to overcome the mental shortcomings of doubting where we’ll be in three to five years. It’s a tough question to answer, because you don’t want your audience to scoff at how unrealistic it may be. Thanks to guys like Scudamore, it encourages everyone, especially Millennials, to understand that no detailed “three to five year” answer is just “junk.” 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis