Setting business goals for the next year
Mind Mapping! Have you heard of it? It’s perfect for brainstorming alone or together as a group activity AND for keeping a record of ideas for the future.
So what is mind mapping? Wayyy back in the 1970s the term was coined by Tony Buzan but apparently the concept has roots as far back as the late 50’s and early 60’s. It’s a great visual technique to put all your ideas in some sort of order to help make sense of them and find connections. You can utilise a fancy app but we highly recommend going old school and use a pen and paper. Of course, you can use a whiteboard, just make sure you record the ideas for future reference – you want to keep all those golden nuggets (aka ideas).
Putting ideas down on paper sounds easy so how can it help achieve your business goals?
Build team relations
This activity makes a great team building activity where people can contribute in a fun and interactive way. And make sure you remember to let your team know the first rule when brainstorming: no idea is a bad idea (more about this later).
While some people thrive on spontaneity, many need a little bit of time to consider ideas. Let your team know beforehand the general theme for the session, for example “New strategies for lead generation” to give them some time to ponder. You may find that new ideas will also grow during the session.
New ideas a plenty
The beauty about using mind maps in a group scenario is that when an idea is presented other ideas that weren’t originally thought of can follow. Initially there might have been some limitations or an inability to “see” more than just the obvious but, with mind mapping, it can really get the creativity going!
Let it evolve
Mind maps are not to be just a stagnant display of ideas but can be grown, reviewed and updated regularly. By having your mind map in a prominent place your team can add to it after the session if they think of new concepts and ideas.
Accountability and tracking
After ideas have been properly fleshed out, you can add in deadlines and the relevant people allocated to the task or idea. It’s a great way to maintain accountability and not forget who was doing what or what was meant to be done.
Ok, so you’re sold on giving this mind mapping exercise a go. What now?
First of all, identify what you would like to achieve. Let’s use the idea of “New strategies for lead generation” – you need new clients in 2022 so how are you going to do that?
Second, schedule your team meeting and let them know you’re wanting them to think about theme and to consider, in their valuable experience, ideas to contribute. Remember to tell them that No idea is a bad idea. Realistically they may not all be viable BUT if they are recorded your staff member feels like they are being valued AND you may be able to make it viable at another time.
Gather your supplies (laptop, whiteboard, paper and pens) and set up your space. Also consider sticky notes where team members can write down their ideas if they are not comfortable in vocalising their ideas out aloud.
Making the magic happen
Kickstart the session by writing up your theme or goal in the centre of the page. Ask the team if they have any ideas they would like to put forward and write them off to the sides of your centre theme.
If ideas sounds similar put them in a similar space to group them together:
Each bubble might then get it’s own piece of paper to expand on the idea further:
High fives all round, we have some mind maps. That’s it right?
Well, it could be but you really want these ideas and goals to succeed, don’t you? Using all these wonderful ideas is where you can now create those action plans using the SMART concept: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Bearing all of this information you have gathered you need to put some measurable parameters on it. Take the “New strategies for lead generation” and now make it “Grow our database by 100 new leads by the 31st of March”.
And remember those sub maps? They need SMART added to them too! In our example it might be:
Create and post 1 set of Facebook ads per month for January, February, March (budget of $xyz) and
Create and post 1 organic post per week for 12 weeks.
Check in with your team – are these attainable? Can you measure if they have been achieved or not?
As with everything in business, things go awry and change, sometimes on the daily! Set a time (end of month for example) to review the maps with your team. Do things need to be added / removed / adjusted / reallocated? These maps work as a great plan that can evolve with you and your team as the business grows and develops.
Now, what about if you don’t have a team. Can you still utilise this concept? Absolutely! By putting things down on paper and keeping them handy, you can be as dynamic as if you had a team. After all, who knows when or where your next bright idea might come from?