effectiveness, Leadership, Learning, Sample Tools, vision, visual mapping

Not necessarily digital

I was told last evening to keep my presentation short. In other words, the fewer words the better. I knew that there was an overly-tight agenda.  I had doodled a few words in the morning but I didn’t know if there would be a projector. So rather than taking the time to create a slideshow, I used the photocopier.

If I were more confident I would draw this while speaking. Doing it this way though means that people have a take-away. The principle is that what we remember what we see better than what we hear. This is the doodle and an approximation of the script:


It’s the year 2020.  The leaders have a vision.  They see us with 225 people in the parish church every Sunday (compared to 150 now) a balanced budget  about $150,000 higher – and the place full of people.   They went to our parent body over here on the right. (I held up a copy of the full proposal)  The diocese has similar goals and they have money to help.  So they did – the carrot is money for new staff. We will expand from one-full time and two-half-time people to three full-time and two half-time.  That’s a big jump in a single year.  The stick is accountability.  That comes with a coach who guides us for the seven years.  He helped us clarify what we want to do – which is to:

  • Have more members
  • Have more money
  • Make our parishioners disciples who reach out –  and by their example welcome and nourish others. That’s our mission.

Our next budget reflects these goals along with a road map for 2014.  The road map, called a work plan, describes what to do, who does it and when.Each goal has its own swim lane.  We report to the coach every quarter.  The last doodle bottom right is the org chart. (I held the real one up). It shows all the key players.  You are on the edge supporting the inner circle along with your working groups.  I’ve attached a sample of the 2013 work plan so you can see how it’s laid out.  We’re still improving the one for 2014. I’ll send it to you in digital format to save paper.

Even though I couldn’t spell accountability correctly, the points got made – in 273 words.  While this is a specific context, you can adapt the pattern to your own needs.  Try a word count on a typical written report and compare. It’s not what you write or say that matters,  The real test is whether anyone hears, reads, gets it or remembers.

Creativity, mind mapping, visual mapping

A new year of possibilities

Happy New Year!

And a quick reminder – thanks to Creative Confidence from the Kelley brothers of the famous Ideo – a company renowned for its innovative design. It’s a good read.

The brothers remind us that Mind Mapping is a great tool to expand and generate new ideas – making notes instead of taking notes.  The further you go in adding words and ideas to each branch the more innovative the ideas because of the mind’s incredible ability to make links and associations.

Lists, on the other hand, are excellent reminders of what you know already.

In a recent session where the objective was to generate new ideas, the facilitator suggested that we make lists first – and then turn the contents into a mind map.  but the reverse process will actually work better.  If you are using mapping using software, of course, you can turn any map into a list with the flick of a button or two – a way to deal with your list loving friends.

I’ve started the year by making a map of all the things that I want to do in order to have more fun.  That’s different than making resolutions and we’ll see how it works.

Learning, mind mapping, visual mapping

Mapping is a good way to start the year

The beginning of the year is a good time to rediscover what counts.  While mapping with software has the advantage of live links to content – and I’ll expand on that soon – hand drawn maps have a good deal of value, not the least of which is their uniqueness.  Here is one the shows the summary of Twyla Tharpe’s The Creative Habit. I made it some time ago but it still captures the essence of what I read.  This one and others are included in the Maps and Diagrams section on the above menu.

Beauty, Benjamin Zander, Creating, Innovation, mind mapping, mindmapping software, purpose, Reflection, self realization, VisiMap, visual mapping

Good Start for a New Year

Happy New Year – and let’s start with possibility as summarized in Ben and Roz’s Zander’s wonderful book. You can enlarge the map if you need to by clicking on it

There are two good uses for Maps – note making – getting your ideas down, having a look at them and sorting out what their order should be in order to move toward doing something about them – but also note taking – summarizing other peoples’ ideas and practices. Maps need to be inspirational in this second mode – with reminders of the emotional tone as well as the fact of the message. So that’s why I took the time to add images to this one – created in VisiMap– to make it more evocative. I also added notes under some of the headings.

The Art of Possibility is a great reminder for starting the year. It’s not new, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. If you want a copy of the map with the attached notes, just ask. It is easy to send. And making further comments about what it says will keep me busy for a few days.

I rediscovered this book in my own library through reading another one, Nancy Duarte’s Resonate. She references the TED talk that Zander gave as a model of what a presentation should be. Meeting him there where he embodies what he cares about is also a model for all of us going forward.

Creating, Creativity, effectiveness, Innovation, mind mapping, planning, Reflection, visual mapping


One of my favourite images of the year is one a padded post – to keep smart phone users from bumping into it and banging their heards. I have no idea whether it has been staged, – purportedly it exists in London England, but it strikes me as a great message for how we are evolving.

Ann Herrmann CEO of Herrmann International uses it as an example of what she calls Hyper-Thinking, – multi-tasking to the extent that we lose all contact with the real world of which we are a part. I see it in my children and grandchildren. I see it in myself from time to time.

Stanford University researchers confirm that multi-taskers perform much more poorly than they think.

The solutions

– Face the fact that complex issues need focused attention
– Plan time to work without interruption; schedule such time and commit to it
– Recognize that your own experience may provide as many insights as Google and let nature influence you at least as much as technology
– Try doodling as an alternative to surfing ( incidentally Mind Mapping with images is a great form of doodling)

Ann also recommends Herrmann International’s Thinking Magnet. It looks like a great tool. More on that later.

effectiveness, Innovation, mind mapping, Pausing, Reflection, visual mapping

One Big Brain?

Robert Wright writing in the New York Times today starts by telling us to focus on the article and not to immediately flip to Facebook or e-mail – and then tests us by including links within his own article – and of course he could cry, “Gotcha” when once I succumbed and did. But the article is provocative in helping us reflect on where things are going.

We all ask the question whether technology is our friend or foe. He issues an immediate good reminder:

“Maybe the essential thing about technological evolution is that it’s not about us. Maybe it’s about something bigger than us — maybe something big and wonderful, maybe something big and spooky, but in any event something really, really big.”

He anticipates a new book by technology veteran, Kevin Kelly entitled What Technology Wants, to be released this fall. What Wright goes on to discuss is the advantages that technology offers in terms of linking us to a much wider perspective. By wandering around the technical universe we are increasing our knowledge in ways we could never have imagined and our neural connectors are benefiting from the new links and associations, – something that Mind Mappers have always recognized as a strength. The real issue is how to keep the balance between making those associations meaningful and simply descending into total triviality.

Wright does end on a positive note:

“But at least the superorganism that seems to be emerging, though in some ways demanding, isn’t the totalitarian monster that Orwell feared; it’s more diffuse, more decentralized, more reconcilable — in principle, at least — with liberty.

And that’s good news, because I do think we ultimately have to embrace a superorganism of some kind — not because it’s inevitable, but because the alternative is worse. If technological progress grinds to a halt, it will be because chaos has engulfed the world; and if we don’t use technology to weave people together and turn our species into a fairly unified body, chaos will probably engulf the world — because technology offers so much destructive power that a sharply divided human species can’t flourish.”

Assessment, effectiveness, HBDI, HBDI Assessments, Innovation, mind mapping, Reflection, Teamwork, Thinking Styles, visual mapping

Networks and Associations

Sample Mind Map created in VisiMap

Roger Cohen has some interesting things to say in today’s New York Times op-ed article.He distinguishes between countries that see themselves as victims rather than acknowledging shortcomings and moving on and those who continue to blame others for their difficulties. He also points out the values of networks. Both Mind Mapping and the Herrmann model are useful here. A Mind Map looks very much like a neural network. The nature of the technique leads one to see associations and interconnectedness. A group profile using the HBDI model shows collective strengths – and sometimes shortcomings. Both tools have value in helping us relate to changing times.