How do you get from tangled mess to system?

You know so much stuff. You have decades of experience and knowledge. What are the steps you need to take to extract the knowledge and turn it into something simple, elegant and powerful?

“How do I explain to someone my 20 years’ experience in 30 seconds?”

As experts, we know so much stuff. It’s our greatest strength, but it can be, in some situations, it can be a big weakness.

We can find it difficult to clearly and succinctly explain what we do. 

How do you take that tangled mess of knowledge from your head and turn it into something tangible? A tangible methodology, a signature system with visual models. From mess to system.

How do we distil that down? 

Creating a Signature System and turning that into visual models is a great way to do that. 

“So how do we do that? How do we get what is in our head and turn it into a picture?”

It’s a five-step process from mess to system.

Extract the Information

Firstly, Step number one is about extracting all of that fabulous knowledge inside your brain. 

Let’s say for example you’re going to be creating your Educate Model and the Educate Model is all about showing your clients what the step by step process, the things that they need to do to get from A to Z is. So they come to you with Problem A, they want results Z. “What are all the things I need to do to get that result?”

  • When a client comes to you, what is the first thing that you do? Great.
  • Then what do you do? 
  • And then what do you do.
  • And then what do you do? 

Make sure you’re focusing on verbs because the Educate Model is about doing things. 

So we wouldn’t say “mindset” as they don’t “do mindset”, what do you do with them that works on the mindset? 

Put everything that you do on a Post-It Note. Stick them all on Post-It Notes. You might want to put them up on a wall so you can visually see them better.

Pro Tip:

When you’re in that creative process, you want to be sure that you’re not censoring anything that comes out. Anything that comes out, any idea, any thought, any answers to that question, you want to say, “Thank you brain. Keep it coming.”

You don’t want to be sending the message to your brain that what your mind is doing is wrong because then it will start shutting down that part of your brain and you’ll start contracting rather than expanding your thinking. 

Keep brainstorm without censorship. This part is messy.

Start Chunking

This step is where we start to go from mess to system.

Now Step Number Two then, to say you’ve brainstormed all the things that you need to do to get your client from A to Z. 

You’re probably going to have 50+ Post-It Notes. 

You can’t go to your client and say, “Hey, I’ve got the 407 Step System to get from A to Z. 

They’d be like, “Screw you, I’m going to the person who’s got five steps.”

What you need to do with those Post-It Notes is then to start chunking them. Group them in a way that makes sense. 

You want to chunk that between three and seven chunks of information. 

I’ve found that the sweet spot with visual models is between three and seven.

I will always make exceptions to that if it’s hard and fast like there will be a, clearly are eight steps here, and we can’t take one of them out, or we can’t group two of them, and there’s eight and that’s it. 

Fine, I will be flexible on that, but generally, I try and work the models to between three and seven chunks. 

That’s Step Two.

Draft Your Visual Model

Step Number Three then is about drafting it. 

Say you’ve got five steps in your process. Then you want to draft a picture of what that’s going to look like. 

When you’re selecting the shape, you want the shape to be appropriate for the metaphor for the story that you’re telling with this model.

If it’s a linear process, a step by step chronological order like we’re talking about with an Educate Model usually, most of the time an Educate Model is linear. The order does matter. It’s going be something that generally goes from maybe left to right, horizontal chronological order of linear shape, or you might have a vertical one rarely, but sometimes people do choose those.

You’re going to pick a shape, and you’re going to draft it, and you’re going to draw it.


This is just a quick sketch. You don’t have to rush out and get it designed professionally just yet. I encourage you NOT to do that before you do Step Four. 

Present Your Model to a Live Audience

Then Step Four is that you’re going to present it. 

You can sit down and have coffee with someone and draw your model on the back of a napkin.

Or, what I prefer, is you stand up in the front of a room and draw it on a whiteboard and talk to it. 

You must present this model a couple of times and get feedback. Every time you present your model, you’ll go, “Ooh, actually that felt a bit awkward, I think I need to switch that” or “I need to change the language there because it didn’t quite flow properly.”

Get those tweaks out of the way before you pay for someone to design it for you.

Make It Sexy!

It’s essential to present your model before you go to Step Five, which is about the polishing. 

That is where you send your model off to a graphic designer to be done to a high standard in your branding and looking sexy and animated.

That is the Five-Step Process to take what is in your head and turn it into a visual model. 

Get started creating your Signature System with our FREE TRAINING: 

renee-b&W webRenée Hasseldine works with coaches, experts & thought leaders to turn what is in their brilliant minds into powerful signature systems using visual models. Her knack for extracting and unpacking thoughts and turning them into unique intellectual property is sheer genius.

Renée is the author of the best-selling book ‘Share Your Passion’, she is the host of the ‘Leveraged and Loving It’ podcast and a panel member on The Business Playroom TV.


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