The annual report…..

Recently, I became interested in how to make the point, simply and with impact, when teaching or presenting about some of the conundra and quirks around strategy. I found some images that work in some way, I think. This one I call the ‘Annual Report’ – it’s an illusion by Shigeo Fukuda.

The piano is just a reflection...

On the left, is a mirror, reflecting the stuff on the right – only from one angle does it look like a piano. To me this speaks of the ‘illusion of the annual report’ – presenting company progress as if the past year had been planned, formed, rational, all decisions made with forethought and clarity – whereas more likely than not it was a year of making sense of confusion, part experimentation, taking guesses and learning on the fly, adapting to unexpected change, mixed with moments of clarity, surprise and fear in equal measure. But, hey, who wants analysts, investors, staff and customers to think that’s the way we work? It sounds so… haphazard and … unprofessional. Personally I think a company that shows the ability to learn, and be agile and resilient in the face of the changes we live with is an attractive bet.

More – if we believe the illusion on the left is what happened, then we may be tempted to manage real-life that way, instead of working with the disorder of the stuff on the right. Do we build our strategies on the illusion of the left or the realities of the right?

Or maybe this pic shows brands – everything we are and do arranged for the world to see from exactly that angle so it looks so perfect.

Or the difference between front of house and back of house in hospitality or…. ?

I’d be interested to see what other ways you can think of to use this image, or how it speaks to you……

4 Responses to “The annual report…..”
  1. James September 18, 2008
  2. Eugene October 21, 2008
  3. Cesar Moves November 22, 2008
  4. Jon Foster-Pedley November 22, 2008

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