Visual Management in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Daniel Schwen

There are many great things to do here in Chicago so we have no trouble thinking of ways to entertain when family or friends visit.  One great indoor activity is the Shedd Aquarium so we decide to take our niece there on a rainy Saturday.  Apparently, the rest of Chicago is thinking the same thing and we face a two-hour line just to get in the door.  Since we are in no mood to stand in the cold rain, we go to enjoy one of the city’s best pizzas at Gino’s East.  After lunch we embark on a driving tour of the Magnificent Mile, Lake Shore Drive and the weather clears just in time to take a walking tour of a neighborhood in Oak Park known for its Frank Lloyd Wright homes.  I take note of this sign as we drive away:

I’d have to say that I got a good laugh from this sign.  How often do you suppose through traffic drives into this garage?  Maybe the sign is trying to prevent using the driveway for U-turns.  If that is the case, the sign should say something like No U-turns.

No U turns

No U turns (Photo credit: greensambaman)

So what’s the point?  Visual management should be clear, easy to understand, and have a purpose.  There is also a limit to how much you can have before it just becomes background noise.  Lame signage is just a distraction from your important messages.

Lean Leaders, keep it clear, concise, and on target.


You may know that I am a big fan of good visual management and have shared some good examples on this blog. There are a few less exemplary signage here as well.

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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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2 Responses to Visual Management in Chicago

  1. Hahaha I wonder if someone has tried to drive through that garage before. Definitely a weird place for that signage.

    • Yes, I wondered what prompted the sign as well. My guess is that they didn’t want people turning around in the driveway but that’s not the message I get from the sign. Sorry for the slow reply-your comment was hanging out in the spam folder.

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