Yes And Mapping Article For Web


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Do you and your colleagues have to prepare and share plans for business or major projects?
Would an approach to present and share separate plans in an integrated way be
of help? One which helps people develop and understand the overall picture in
an interesting and participative way?
Read on….

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Yes And Mapping Article For Web

  1. 1. Do you and your colleagues have to prepare and share plans for business or major projects? Would an approach to present and share separate plans in an integrated way be of help? One which helps people develop and understand the overall picture in an interesting and participative way? Read on…. Driving to the coast with my children, I played over in my mind thoughts about a course design. Mapping The Way Arriving on a cold but sunny beach I found CLOUD MAPPING SITE ~ EXMOOR myself pointing at the sky, using the fluffy Project managers were developing new plans cumulus clouds as virtual “Post It” notes to for ten different areas of the project and he construct my course. With startling clarity I needed to be assured that the plans would "saw" the course; "The Flexible Thinking integrate. In addition, he wanted to ensure that method here, creative styles there, Solution the plans were robust, took into account key Focus at that end...," I mumbled. dependencies and that the plan owners’ colleagues would endorse them. Onlookers would have seen a lunatic waving his arms at the sky but my children provided the On the team, many people were new and those perfect excuse for lunacy. My impromptu "cloud with a longer history were low in energy from mapping" worked well, it allowed me to get a fighting fires. Some team building would be sense of how the course would fit together and beneficial. We agreed a two day workshop to I was able to design it quite quickly. tackle the situation. The challenge was how to design it for maximum success. Now let’s track forward in time to a recent meeting with a client. A programme director, Workshop Outcomes he had taken on the challenge of turning around a failing, multi-million pound, We agreed the following: transformational change programme. 1
  2. 2. CHALLENGE TWO – HOW TO ACHIEVE WORKSHOP OUTCOMES The Group will have: OUTCOMES Developed a high level integrated plan A common way to share plans is to have people to implement the System that identifies present them and others feedback but I why this plan is different to previous envisaged that people would be dozing in the plans first presentation and comatose by the tenth. Provided recommendations to We needed something participative and individuals so that they may adjust their collaborative so stealing a trick from my beach detailed plans exercise I decided to use mapping. A sound awareness of each plan Mapping is a technique I use often. For this workshop I decided it would be a collaborative and enjoyable exercise to have the teams Workshop Design Challenges create individual maps of the plans and then pool their knowledge by building these in to a CHALLENGE ONE – NEED TO BUILD TEAM giant integrated map. I used the type of Though it was not an outcome, it was mapping that Buzan calls “Mind Mapping”. important to build the team to ensure a For an explanation of Mind Mapping please see: successful planning review. Consequently, the client agreed to dedicate three hours to run a Solutions Focus workshop.1 The focus was on CHALLENGE THREE – HOW TO ENSURE how the team would be working when the CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK project was on track and achieving milestones. As the project had a history of issues, we needed to ensure that participants would review each plan in a considered and constructive way. To this end, we used a variation on De Bono’s Six Hats (please see Page 4). For an explanation of Six Hats please see: Running the Workshop The group of fourteen convened at a hotel near BUILDING THE TEAM – RICH PICTURE St Paul’s in London. The room was not ideal, having no natural light or fresh air but the group was keen and open-minded about the workshop. 1 [Please see our previous article on Solutions Focus or request it from ]. 2
  3. 3. Next, I drew a central image and name for the map on the first two sheets and plotted broad lines from this to each of the ten sheets. It’s quicker to use large flipchart markers for this Try and make the map attractive with colour, shading and thicker lines. The teams use these “marker lines” as the point from which to start their map. This framework also provides a good DAWN ST PAUL’S, LONDON illustration of what the final map will look like. PREPARING FOR MAPPING PREPARING THE TEAM You may ask, why map? Why not just list the We warmed up with a “focus” session of plans on a sheet? Our experience shows that around thirty minutes’ duration. This enabled creating maps enables people to think more the group to relax, review the purpose, clarify broadly, helps visualise relationships between objectives, see the workshop outline and set different aspects of a topic and is more the rules for the two days. Through this interesting than compiling lists. exercise and the Solutions Focus session, the To form the integrated plan, the group had to group generated a great deal of energy to carry draw their individual maps on a flipchart. As it forward. is crucial that the integrated map fits together, I prepared a map framework on the wall before the workshop. RELAXING START PARTIAL FRAMEWORK This framework consisted of two sheets of REVIEWING AND MAPPING PLANS flipchart paper on the wall and ten further We arranged the review and mapping into sheets of paper around them. three sessions. In each session, the group split into teams, each team reviewed a plan from Use 3” x 5” Post It notes to work out the right different perspectives, provided constructive configuration of the paper feedback to the owners and mapped the plan. 3
  4. 4. To ensure uniformity and ease of sharing QUESTION TEMPLATE ~ EVALUATING THE PLANS information, you should have a standard format 1. What benefits does this plan provide for the plans people bring. Brief the plan owners over what has been done before? To on the format in plenty of time to allow them to whom? prepare it. It could be PowerPoint or Word 2. What makes this plan different to what format has been done before? Why will it work now? In the first session I explained the end goal of an integrated map to the group, using the map 3. What issues must we manage if we are framework to illustrate this. to implement the plan successfully? 4. What additional data does the plan need Ensure that you record the brief on flipcharts or to ensure we can implement it on briefing sheets so that people can review successfully? them when needed. Chaos can ensue if you don’t 5. Who or what is this plan dependent on? How feasible is this? Next, I briefed the group on their review 6. What ideas do you have to overcome actions. I gave them a question template (see the issues you have noted at “3 - 5”? box) and explained that they should: 1. Review the documented plan (verbal report REVIEWING THE PLANS and / or reading) The group split into four teams to review one 2. Complete question templates plan each and had 90 minutes to achieve this. 3. Feedback to plan owner 4. Prepare two flipcharts and record on flipchart 1: A brief summary of the plan Benefits of the plan Why this plan is different to previous plans On flipchart 2 record: The issues the project team must manage to ensure the plan works Further data / information that is needed to ensure the plan can be completed On whom or what is the plan dependent EXAMPLE REVIEW OUTPUT Ideas to overcome issues 4
  5. 5. See the example map for an illustration of this MAPPING THE PLANS point. Following the review, I briefed the teams on preparing the maps and how they should For the first session, we split the review and mapping stages to avoid overloading the format them. Each map had the name of the participants at the briefing stage. Once they had plan in a “cloud” at the point where the map carried out one review and prepared one map, started, to make it easily identifiable. we combined the review and mapping of each Be prepared, they won’t all follow the format for the next two sessions suggested, but the starting point (the “cloud”) is crucial. They had thirty minutes for this GROUP FEEDBACK ON PLANS AND MAPS exercise. Each team placed their individual map on the Ideally, everyone would be experienced in this integrated map framework and presented it to type of mapping but this is unlikely so a few tips the group along with the review flipcharts. on map preparation are helpful. Send an e-mail They had five minutes to feed back and then to if you would like some tips ten minutes to discuss the plan with the group. Allow an hour to feedback three plans. Each plan owner was able to see where others were dependent on them, common issues and ideas to overcome them. They also received useful feedback from others in the group. Plan owners took away their feedback flipcharts to help them revise their plans. CONTINUING THE WORKSHOP As the group added more maps to the framework, they began to see the overall EXAMPLE MAP picture of the integrated plan. Whilst the teams completed their maps, they The rest of the workshop consisted of discussed the plan in greater depth and further reviewing the final six plans in two sessions. As enriched their understanding of it. people became more confident with the It is essential that people record plan process, they speeded up and we achieved the information on each map at a high level, review, mapping and discussion in 2.5 hours. identifying only the key aspects of the plan. As the final map was integrated, there was a This enables the group to absorb information sense of accomplishment and great energy in and compare information across ten maps. Too the room. much detail makes it too complex. 5
  6. 6. CONTACT: Write: Speak: 020 8869 9990 See: MAPPING OUR BRANDS FINAL MAP Another client, a chemical company, asked Yes! CAPTURING THE DATA And… to facilitate a workshop for the marketing team. They have grown through European When the integrated map is complete, take acquisition and have inherited a number of digital pictures of each map and use mapping different brands. They needed a workshop to software (I use Mind Manager Software2) to discuss a new brand strategy. make a hard copy map that you can share with To educate everyone on the similarities and the project team. dissimilarities of the brands, as well as understand the pros and cons, they planned to Conclusion have presentations on the branding in each Group Mapping is a very useful tool you can country. use to share information, prompt discussion As the time available was very short and the and increase understanding. presentations would be after lunch (ideal for napping), I suggested mapping the brands. It encourages participation, engages people We asked the country managers to bring along and can be done in a relatively short time. As some slides, adverts and / or marketing materials seen in our examples, people can use words, with pictures of the brands and an assessment of figures and pictures to express their message the pros and cons. and the map provides a basis for rich group We built a framework as before, except we gave discussion. each country team two sheets to map on. The As one delegate said in feedback: teams developed their maps using the pictures and we built a brand map of Europe. “The enthusiasm of delegates and the output of a two day workshop impressed me.” Each team then made a brief presentation on their map. With the information you have here, time and The exercise was very valuable in highlighting some facilitation skill, you can conduct a Group the disparity in the branding across countries and Mapping session yourself. in building the knowledge of the teams, providing Try it! core information for later discussions. John Brooker Innovation Director. Yes! And… 2 Available at 6
  7. 7. About the Author John Brooker started his career in the RAF and went on to become a Senior Vice President with Visa International. He now does what he loves; running his own company Yes! And… The company mission is to create successful organisations by facilitating flexible thinking. John and his colleagues help teams to think more flexibly by facilitating workshops, developing skills and advising management. His particular interest is innovation. John is a Solutions Focus Professional, a Kaizen Training Black Belt Facilitator and a NLP Business Practitioner. He also has an MBA from the Open University and tutors on the OU “Creativity, Innovation and Change” MBA Course. His regular clients include major organisations such as Visa International and EADS as well as Government departments. As well as the UK, John frequently works internationally in Europe, Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East. He writes the “Creative Gorilla” articles on creative leadership and flexible thinking, distributing it internationally twice a month. To sign up, send an e-mail with “Subscribe” in the subject line and your first and surname. DON’T HAVE TIME TO DESIGN AND FACILITATE? Do you want to share plans or other information across your organisation? If you have the time, you can use this article to design and run a workshop to help you do that, but if you are short of time or prefer to be part of the workshop, you might like to talk to us. In Yes! And… we are experienced in using Group Mapping and other approaches for workshops and have many satisfied clients. We also train people in Mapping. To discuss how you can use Group Mapping to develop integrated plans, share information and motivate your team, please contact John Brooker: Write: Speak: 020 8869 9990 See: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PASS THIS ARTICLE ON TO A COLLEAGUE WHO MAY APPRECIATE IT. 7