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Book Review: VisuaLeadership by Todd Cherches

The French novelist Marcel Proust famously wrote that:

 “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” 

A new book, VisuaLeadership: Leveraging The Power of Visual Thinking is Leadership and in Life, (Post Hill Press, 2020) written by Todd Cherches, delivers sound advice and ideas for helping you and those whom you lead to see with new eyes.

Todd Cherches has the street credibility to have written a book like this one.  Besides being the co-founder of BigBlueGumball LLC, a training and consulting firm, he is also a two-time award-winning Adjunct Professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies, in their Division of Programs in Business, where he teaches the top-rated graduate course, “Leadership & Team Building” for their Human Capital Management master’s degree program. A specialist in experiential learning and faculty development, Cherches has received the prestigious NYU “Excellence in Teaching” award (2016), as well as an NYU Center for Academic Excellent & Support (CAES) “Impact Award” (2018).

Cherches offers a clever definition for his book’s title:

VisuaLeadership [noun]: The art and science of applying visual thinking and visual communication tools, tips, and techniques, in order to turn your vision into reality.

But, that’s just the beginning. Cherches takes his readers on an awareness-raising journey through the foundation stones required to become a “Visual Leader.” Offering insights into and commentary on the essential visuals, models, metaphors and stories that must underpin a leader’s approach to becoming more visual in their communication.

Packed with samples of the frameworks that Cherches espouses, the book should be considered the primer for how to leverage the promise of visual thinking as a tool to engage and inspire. His “Passion/Skill Matrix” can be a game-changer in the right hands, for example. I particularly enjoyed his “Viz-O-Meter” chapter, where he points out:

“In leadership, and in life, we are constantly evaluating everyone and everything. By using the Viz-O-Meter as a mental model, you ca be more consciously aware of when you are doing it and make the necessary adjustments to make better and more informed, and less biased, evaluations.” 

Something we all can become better at practicing.

Each chapter offers a summary in what he calls “In Review” section.  It is a handy quick reference source for diving back into the book after you’ve consumed its vast contents. The short appendix at the end of the book offers some fun quotes by famous thinkers on the virtues of being more visual. The only thing lacking here is an index to enhance a reader’s ability to revisit topics in the fly. Maybe future editions of the book will provide this feature.

VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life

To close, if your aspiration is to become a better communicator and leader, a more innovative thinker, a more dynamic presented, a more efficient manager, a more effective coach, or a more visionary and inspirational in your professional life, then this compelling new book will open your “mind’s eye” to a whole new world.

VisuaLeadership is certainly something I intend to extend further in the work that I do.

VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life ( Post Hill Press; May 12, 2020) – reviewed by James M. Kerr.

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James Kerr
James M. Kerr, founder at Indispensable Consulting, is a long-time management consultant, vision maker and leadership coach. For nearly 30 years, he has helped his clients re-imagine the way work is organized and performed. His latest book, Indispensable: Build and Lead A Company Customers Can’t Live Without is his 6th business title. Kerr is an expert in leadership, strategy, organizational design and cultural transformation. James Kerr is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.