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Visual mapping and recession-proofing your job

It looks like businesses are in for a tough time in 2008 and beyond. If your employer downsizes, how can you take steps to make sure you're one of the survivors?

Helping others see your value with visualization

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Surviving in a shrinking economy and nervous times is most often about being better than the next guy or gal. But it's not enough just to be better, if you are a cog in the machine, or even a bigger wheel, you need the higher levels to know that you're better. The fastest and most memorable way to get that message across is visually.

My advice to the real survivors is:
- Don't just know what you know, show what you know.
- Don't just know what you're planning, show what you're planning.
- Don't just know what you're doing, show what you're doing.

A well-organized mind map or series of maps can show all that quickly, and doesn't depend on the boss sitting down to read a report. As a consultant I've consistently found that the higher the level of a decision-maker is, the more often they want a diagram or some other visual encapsulation of a complex problem. They rarely want detail. Unless you are talking dollars and cents, of course. Even the micro-manager who wants to know everything will appreciate starting with a helicopter view.

Once you have hooked senior management's interest visually, using mind mapping software to go to the next stage shows that it's not just a party trick. Showing that a mind map that kicked off a presentation is linked directly to data that tracks, for example, progress or costs can be truly impressive. One of the "dashboard" add-ins for popular mind mapping software can help you pull that one off and keep it up to date automatically.

Or a project's main mind map, or series of maps, can be linked directly to files of information. Direct, clickable links on the maps allow project team members to find information they need quickly, just where they'd expect it to be, because they've worked with the same mind maps as they were developed.

Finally, out of the many possibilities, here's another chance for you to shine. If you work in an environment where there are too many meetings, mind maps can keep a meeting focused, record next actions and decisions made as you go alone, as well as making the meetings more effective, and shorter, as a result.

You'll be remembered and appreciated for that!

Vic Gee
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software.

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Good luck out there, and keep mind mapping!

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Concept maps and web research

For me, web research and concept maps are a good pairing. As I research - I build a map. As I map - I realise new areas that need research.
This papers variously by Arguedas, CaƱas, Carnot, Carvalho, Dunn, Eskridge, Gram, Leake, Maguitman, Muldoon and Reichherzer have helped me to understand why, and see other possibilities.

Assessment by concept map

This piece discusses the nature of knowledge, the difficulty in measuring achievement in the three types of domain knowledge, and how concept maps offer one way of judging students' knowledge structure.

Framework for mind mapping

Here is a link to a set of free templates for many types of mind maps. This is good solid stuff, and if you have MindManager, there's no reason not to get it.
But if you don't have MindManager, well, there's still no reason to hold back - go and pick up the MindManager Viewer from MindJet's site. That is also free.

Knowledge mapping for communities

Here's an interesting slideshow in which authors Simon Buckingham Shum and Alexandra Okada make a case for a move away from text towards knowledge or mind mapping presentation in a knowledge community. Their objective is to change cognition, no less.

Visual mapping and recession-proofing your job

It looks like businesses are in for a tough time in 2008 and beyond. If your employer downsizes, how can you take steps to make sure you're one of the survivors?