The Smith Report - Operational Playbooks

Visual Metaphors

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Visual Metaphors

Visual Metaphor: The representation of a person, place, thing, or idea by way of a visual image that suggests a particular association or point of similarity.

Change of pace this week. I thought I’d share some metaphors I’ve been collecting over the years. Some might argue whether they are truly metaphors buy hey I’ve found them useful to emphasize or explain a thought.

  1. To emphasize the need for early action. To ram home the point of urgency, to get stuff done now and not procrastinate, I use the flying analogy.A bad landing of a plane starts at 10,000 feet not when you are only a few feet from the ground.
  2. To maximize the revenue from a client, to truly farm the client and optimize the economic value, imagine the client as a triangle on its side. Day 1 is when you burst into the triangle and over time you expand throughout the triangle, building relationships, with more of your team building contacts until by year 2, you have secured quality sales and are a really trusted adviser.
  3. Product development can get very confusing. I’ve found it helpful to think of ideas in colored buckets. The Red bucket is filled with immediate fixes needed, bugs, stuff that’s upsetting customers or preventing sales. The Blue bucket is full of tweaks to your existing product, modifications that make sense over time. The Green bucket contains brand new product ideas that are game changers. Of course if you are color blind this metaphor sucks.
  4. When considering a prospect and the framing of a compelling conversation I love the Al Ries metaphor of the hole in the head. Find the hole in the head of the prospect. Your compelling idea must fill a need in the prospects head. It’s about them not you.
  5. An Acquisition of another company is just  like buying a house….. with the family still inside it!
  6. Negotiation is all about preparation and your frame of mind. I use the metaphor of gears in a car. You don’t want enter a negotiation meeting in gear 5 with no where to go. You want to be in first gear with the ability to move up and down the gears in a relaxed, agile state of mind.
  7. Entrepreneurs are often courageous people but they often contain a painful flaw. They get bored really easily. Think of the Pyramid on its head, with the long base  representing an entrepreneurs plethora of activities and the pointy bit at the bottom representing their idea of execution, sell more. A normal Pyramid representing how successful businesses are run has a focus and a point representing a specific positioning with the rest of the Pyramid represent all the resources of the company, aligned and supportive of the strategy.

 

Share your favorite metaphors in the comments box below.

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About the Author

Ian founded The Portfolio Partnership (TPP) in 2010. TPP is an operational consultancy focused on scaling private businesses safely. He believes his resume of building 4 previous businesses from publishing, investment banking to software in Europe and the States gives him a unique set of skills and a sense of humor. He remains a competitive masters track & field athlete and in 2012 was ranked #2 indoors in the world for his age at 400m.

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