Think Movie, Not Picture!

making movieGet the picture? Yes! So what? Make a movie!

A picture paints a thousand words, so they say. If that’s the case, would it be true to say that a movie shows a thousand pictures? With audio thrown in, perhaps? It’s been said that if we change our words, we will change our world. Well, how do we change our words? We change our thinking. How do we change our thinking? We change our attitudes. How do we change our attitudes? We develop our character. It’s not just a two-way street. It’s a two-way street with traffic flowing in both directions. We need to work at improving both our thinking and our speech.


I was commenting on a LinkedIn post by Paul Blase of PWC when “picture” and “movie” flashed before my eyes. Paul was talking about the importance of using predictive analytics in “planning”, and not to simply produce and try to stick with a monolithic “plan.” A phrase I’d heard far too often for too many years, “Do you get the picture?” kept bouncing irritatingly in my head. Suddenly, I realized that it had to be far more than the right picture. It had to be the right movie. We need to stop asking “What does the situation picture look like now?” and start asking “Where’s the movie heading?”

Letters, Words, Paragraphs, Books

chinese listenMany languages are based on alphabets. English, Greek, Cyrillic, etc. Others, like Chinese, are based on pictographs. A single pictograph tells more of a story than a letter, but is still very limited in the amount of information it holds for the one reading it. As we go on to form sentences, paragraphs and eventually whole books, we are able to access more and more information. We discern patterns and come to realize what is changeable and what is impossible. A good single book is able to tell us much. A book series reveals so much more. Similarly, we can gain much by looking at and analyzing a picture. However, we generally won’t be able to tell where it’s coming from and where it’s going. We can do that with a movie, though. Extend that to a movie series, and we gain that much more information. How much of that information is useful and actionable of course depends on the skills of the movie makers. You might observe that painting a picture is more difficult than taking a photo. Perhaps. Perhaps not. It depends on the context. Making a good movie involves far more complexity. Does it take more effort than painting a thousand pictures to tell a story? Again, it depends on the context. A photo is best used to capture essence, to capture spirit. A painting can be a form of expression and can be based on a photo or on memory.


Like music, communication becomes better when more rules are observed. It becomes richer the more intricate, the more complex, it becomes. We tend to become misled by silly catchphrases like “Keep it simple, Stupid!” We fail to realize that in order to keep it simple for our audience, we need to work hard at the complexities behind the scenes so that  it appears simple. My experience is that diligence seems to be in short supply. Will you be diligent in formulating strategy and communicating it?

Words have the power to change us. So do images. So do sounds. What will you do today to ensure that your words, images and sounds are helping you achieve your goals? Stop thinking picture from now on. Start thinking movie!

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