NU: Visual Management, a Poem

Visual Management is a business management technique where information is communicated by using visual signals instead of text or other writing, with design deliberate to allow quick recognition in order to increase efficiency and clarity. – Wikipedia


I fell in love with Visual Management
as a process engineer

lines on a tarmac
to show pilots how to angle planes

tape on a tool board
to show where to replace the wrench

differing colored pens for notes was my
solution—green, blue
one meeting to the next, purple

for the presentation
on reducing risk, colors

so different from black
and white emails.

As a child, I was taught to color
inside the lines.  I outlined thick lines
in one color, lightly shaded within
to keep from breaking
the color walls.

Kindergarten trained my daughter
to sit on the blue line

At home, I taped red yellow and blue Vs
on the bathroom counter
for toothpaste, toothbrush, shared soap

my daughter spread makeup, toothpaste, toothbrush,
hairbrush, hair dryer, contact lens bottles, deodorant,
washcloth, pencils, earrings, toys, books, candy across the Vs

my son left his lonely toothbrush on the counter
right below the V.

They didn’t understand why
I could tape on the counter
when they couldn’t
draw red yellow and blue on the walls.

I trained my staff to choose colors for Powerpoints
only a few and
never pastels, but

sometimes I let Excel loose
among the pie charts
with as many colors

as I can find


out of control.