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Leadership Nudge® 321 – Make the Invisible Visible and Guayaquil, Ecuador

Humans are conditioned to rely on visual cues. Leaders bring information to light by creating visual aides. Make the invisible visible.

Article reference: https://www.wsj.com/articles/ecuador-city-beat-one-of-worlds-worst-outbreaks-of-covid-19-11593532974


Make the invisible visible. Humans are visual animals we have 10 times as much brain matter dedicated to processing what we see then to processing what we hear the optical nerves have 30 times the fibers of the auditory nerves. And if there’s a mismatch between what we see and what we hear the brain believes what we see, not what we hear.  

One of the things we say as leaders is to make the invisible, visible. Now, a great story about this comes from the Ecuador city of Guayaquil. There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal back on June 30, 2020 where they talked about how they were responding to COVID. The problem was, to quote one researcher, “a silent invisible enemy was stalking the city.”  Invisible enemy. 

What they did was they made the enemy visible. They started mapping where the sources were coming from. They were using 911 emergency calls where people were complaining about breathing, or references to COVID. They mapped where people went, homes of record they were giving as they were checking into the hospital with COVID symptoms.  They were able to then create these visual maps of the city and they could see where COVID was happening. A spike at 778 deaths in a single day was a horrible situation. Bodies were stacking up, the morgues weren’t able to process them. And they’re now down to 60, which is pretty close to their normal expectations. They basically licked it. 

The lead person on this was a man named Hector Hugo, according to The Wall Street Journal. He says we needed a mechanism to make the enemy visible. So the principle is make the invisible, visible. And there are a lot of techniques for this – kanban boards, infographics play on this trend.  What your job as a leader is to look for opportunities to say, hmm, can I take this fuzzy notion (whatever it is) and make it something visual that we can see. Make the invisible, visible.  

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 



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