As someone who has used MindMap techniques daily for the last 25 years, I cannot quite understand why their use is not more widely adopted by organizations the world over. We grew a very successful software business that helped organizations in over 100 countries manage quality, safety and risk in highly regulated industries and I am convinced that our company wide adoption of the technique let us punch way above our weight for years. Why?
We were just so productive in anything we did. Nobody ever had to create, read or interpret 20-page reports – everything was mapped, making it easy to review what was there and more importantly spot what was missing or conveniently forgotten. As a result, we caught things before they became problems. Not only that, but the time savings alone in that particular use case, freed us up to do things that we’d never get round to otherwise. On reflection we were able to review and adjust things across the business regularly. In all honesty, that would never have happened had we prevailed with our standard office tools. We were pretty nimble and good at what we did. Others agreed and as we grew to become the market leader in our sector, before we opted to sell Gael to Ideagen plc in 2015, having rejected countless approaches in the years prior.
I want to share 5 ways MindMaps and MindGenius helped us stand out from the crowd.
1. Managing Strategies
Across the business you need to continually manage several strategies to optimize your own performance and how you are perceived in the marketplace. Sales, Marketing, Customer Services, IT, Product Development, all need looked at regularly to make sure we are doing the right things effectively.
Irrespective of discipline the process is the same and MindMapping and MindGenius is brilliant for it.
- Define the current situation – what works, doesn’t work or needs improved.
- Define where you ideally want to get to – ideally quantify your ambitions as much as possible
- Identify what stopping or blocking you getting to your desired position now
- Agree what is and isn’t feasible given the constraints on what is available to you
- Prioritize what to tackle having considered the impact and effort required for each possibility.
- Get on with it
2. Managing Meetings
There are many types of meetings; some are formal whilst others less so. In business their purpose is to drive things forward but too often they become talking shops. I see others talk up MindMapping for pulling together meeting agenda’s, notes and minutes and of course they can do that, but so can MS Word!
What nobody shares is that MindMaps are unbeatable in managing status meetings. This is where the purpose of the daily / weekly meeting is in driving and managing actions through to conclusion. Actions are triggered from the map; statuses are updated by respondents in real time between meetings and consequently the status meeting becomes really efficient in addressing things falling behind or tackling issues. It helps keep everyone informed, it allows for decisive decision making and the map is a live rolling agenda and an active status tracker as to how the project is progressing. If nothing else, consider MindMapping for this – it will save you hours and keep you totally organized.
3. Capturing Information
MindMapping is unique in how it helps you collate information. The very structure of a MindMap encourages you to break down and elaborate on each topic, allowing you to quickly pull together what you know about the subject matter. This process also helps you quickly identify what you don’t know and so it becomes easier to establish what is still required to have the relevant information to move forward.
Probably the biggest advantage mindmapping has in this use case is in how easy it is to add “new” information without having to worry about sentencing, formatting, paragraph structures or page breaks. You simply append what you have learned to the relevant section and the map adjusts automatically. That alone saves a lot of frustration and time.
The same applies for group discussions around a subject. MindMapping is ideal for brainstorming as it allows you to capture input from others in the room without any judgement being applied, allows you to quickly group related information and then collectively agree what is and isn’t relevant. From there on in, it’s a case of prioritizing and determining what actions are required to make the progress desired.
4. Project Management
The Project Management (PM) remit is wide with many disciplines and yet MindMapping plays a significant role in all of them. Unfortunately, up to 40% of all projects fail to deliver what was expected, with the project managers community largely in agreement that oversights at the very front end of the project contribute significantly to poor outcomes.
This is an area often neglected by established PM tools who I think contribute to the problem by encouraging people to get to action before things have been thought through. These tools excel in action management but are really deficient in helping organizations define, understand and agree the challenges that need to be overcome to allow the project deliverables to have any chance of success.
MindMapping as stated previously helps capture relevant information, helps facilitate group discussions and contribute to organizations agreeing the best way forward. Equally as stated above, MindMaps are outstanding in managing status meetings by drawing focus to the issues that are falling behind or are running into trouble.
Maybe your next project is the one to use MindMapping to help manage the process – you will not be disappointed.
Using MindMapping on a daily basis allows you to better manage information, engage better with peers and stakeholders and ultimately make less costly mistakes by taking correct informed decisions. Collectively this reduces expensive rework or indeed canned projects; freeing up yet more productive time to drive things forward. You will stand out in any organization if you continually deliver great results. Get MindMapping, get using MindGenius.