It is a known fact that people support what they help to create.

I remember working with a Fortune500 client a few years ago that was reorganizing several key departments in its largest division, they were at the point where a strategic retreat for leaders was necessary to develop the department’s 3 year strategic plan. They brought me in to facilitate the retreat for them and one of my suggestions was to start by engaging the mind mapping process.

Surprisingly, many of the senior managers and C-suite executives had never heard of mind mapping as a vehicle for strategically planning an organization’s next steps. So I explained it to them: A mind map is a visual representation of ideas, goals, and plans for a specified purpose. It’s a visual planning tool and mind mapping is a process of creating a mind map.

I (as well as many of my clients) have used mind maps for a very long time to plan out my company strategic plans, workshops, speaking topics, etc. Essentially, anything I need to plan, starts from a mind map.

When you are in the strategic planning process and engaging a team to help you to create the plan, using a mind map as a visual “think tank” of all the ideas is a great way to create cohesion, reinforce the strengths of each member of the team and to easily come to a conclusive end of the goals that should be focused on to advance the organization.

As I have led several clients large and small through the mind mapping process as a part of their strategic retreats and planning meetings, I have observed the following benefits to the entire team and ultimately the organization’s customers and shareholders:

1. Mind maps evoke creativity. When employees are using their creative ability to enhance their job performance, they are more engaged, focused and task oriented.

2. Mind maps create team cohesion. The old adage that it takes team work to make the dream work is so true. Because people support what they help to create, its a great way to highlight the strengths of each individual contributor when working toward a shared goal. It’s a fun “burn the box” kind of planning proces that inspires a new type of action and definitely a more strategic visioning process and result.

3. Mind maps promote organization. When all of the goals and objectives are visually represented, it makes it easier to go from there to organize the ideas into the appropriate action steps, keeping the timing in mind as well. And, let’s be clear, an organized company runs better, projects better and achieves better.

4. Mind maps make the next step more clear and position the best action to take. Setting priorities and assigning responsibilities become much easier when you create mind maps.

All of these benefits will inspire your leaders to keep working to advance your organization. At the point on a strategic planning process? Looking for a fresh approach to planning with a master facilitator? Visit our contact us page and share your strategic planning challenge with us.

*photo credit: www.mind-mapping.co.uk

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