Words pictures are much effective than generic paragraphs in term of two important characteristics.
As Word Pictures provide a clear and specific image about Behavioral Specificity, employees will be able to envision themselves having the behaviors that are described by words. For that purpose, three tests of Behavioral Specificity are used in Word Pictures as well. These are:
The most difficult part when creating Word Pictures is to make specific enough to pass the observable and gradable tests. Luckily, you can turn your Answer Guidelines into Word Pictures and you can use the guideline for warning and positive signals to teach the differences between bad and good performance.
The categorical distinction of ‘Needs Work, Good Work and Great Work’ broaches the subject of the second powerful characteristics of Word Pictures: Concept Attainment.
Concept Attainment is a learning theory that is searching for and identifying of the attributes to distinguish the bad and good examples. By analyzing the good and bad examples, you can figure out the characteristics that define your good and bad employees.
It is true that people learn better when they are told an example about how to deal with things. However, people learn even better and quicker when you show them a bad example about how not to deal with things along with the good examples.
Word Pictures is a tool to teach new, tenured employees and for onboarding and evaluating performance. It can be used to give instructions or constructive feedback, also to identify the good performance so that you can reward high performers.
You can teach your employees any performance topic applying Word Pictures such as accountability, leadership, innovation, efficiency, competition, abstract thinking, diversity, flexibility, individual growth, problem solving, commitment, motivation, discipline, emotional intelligence, and so on. The topics you present to your employees in Word Pictures depend on what you want from your employees. Nevertheless, the key for an effective teaching is to create an interest for the employees as people learn best when they are interested in the topic.