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    Entries in visual mapping (3)


    Sensemaking is like listening on steroids

    The performance enhancing tool for workplaces today is sensemaking. It's the skill of connecting dots and understanding the deeper meaning of what’s being discussed.

    When we try to take information in, understand what’s going on or decide what to do, we can use sensemaking to help us listen, think and decide. Too often we suffer misunderstandings, time wasting repetition, conversations that go around in circles, people interrupting, and still others who repeat information … but LOUDER! We’re all trying to understand what’s going on, and work out what we need to do about it.

    It can be too hard (and dull) to make sense just sitting around a table or via remote hookup looking at each other. That’s because sensemaking may not come as naturally as we assume it does. 'I can listen, I can think, I can talk. Therefore I can make sense, can’t I?’

    We need to do something more. We need to write some stuff down, to map it out - and thankfully, 'any old map will do’, says sensemaking guru Karl Weick.

    More to come this week on sensemaking...if you'd like more info on sense making, let me know. 


    A tool to make 2016 even better than 2015

    Before you turn the lights off, disconnect or switch off, no matter how cray-cray it feels out there, do this one thing...
    Hint at the future. 
    To help you make 2016 even better than 2015, indicate a few things on this visual roadmap for next year and give some hints for what could be for 2016.
    What could be better for you, your clients and customers, your team, your family, your community...?
    Don’t leave your work, team or project this year without this thought for next year’s focus.
    Even if you don’t know all the details yet. 
    When you hint at the future now, you'll have a much better result than trying to start fresh in 2016. If you come at this thinking all cold after a break or if you're feeling a little ‘bluh’ after too much turkey, you won’t do your best work - alone or together. 
    Leverage the crazy momentum of now to set some thoughts for next.
    So go ahead and get some of your initial thoughts, hints and hunches down now. Just a few. 
    Use a Roadmap for 2016
    Here's how to use my Visual Roadmap above for 2016....Print it out and have a think about:
    • the four quarters for 2016, stretching out ahead of you; what will they be about for next year? You can include a phrase or list of things to get done. (And there's a fifth quarter in there, did you see that? Use it to wrap up 2015 or even hint at 2017 - you choose!)
    • what your focus or major project is for each of those quarters; you could write that theme in the white signs on the side of the road.
    • and then add in any other key things to look out for or think about or work on; you could write that on the greenery on the roadside. 
    Some teams have a meeting to work on and chat about my roadmap, others fill it in and then compare notes - whatever works for you, get some initial thoughts down before you wrap up the year. 

    Comfort and Joy
    Here’s how else this Visual Roadmap for 2016 will be super helpful :
    • if you won’t be around for some of the holiday time, or if the team are working alone - they'll have a reminder of their overall focus
    • to help get people on the same page swiftly
    • make projects and activities connected to a bigger purpose or reason
    • make it real for people
    • put people at ease, and
    • make them part of the picture. 
    Get some of your thinking outta your head now; you will all reap great rewards when 2016 arrives. 

    Be super safe and enjoy every little thing until then...

    How to deal with all that complexity and uncertainty

    With the world all VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) things can get pretty scary for our teams, clients, competitors, customers… and ourselves.
    Perception is...
    I heard a comedian say ‘perception is nine tenths of the law’; a take on the adage that possession was nine tenths of the law.

    But that's how we make our representation of the world... our perceptions. We need a map, a visual sense or a way of connecting some dots to understand what's happening. It gives us something to hold on to and helps reduce fear about unknowns.
    So where the **** are we?
    Author and Director of MIT’s Leadership Centre, Deborah Ancona shares the story of some soldiers lost in the Swiss Alps. Not knowing where they were, things got even more uncertain when it began snowing. Visibility dropped, landmarks were unknown. But later, one of the soldiers found a map in their pocket. Hooray! They worked their way through the map and found themselves out of the snow and clear to safety.
    It turns out the map was of the Pyrenees, not the Alps! It shows that, as sensemaking elder Karl Weick says, 'any old map will do'. The soldiers had purpose, focus and they were heading somewhere. The map was just a start.
    Ask these:
    So two questions to ask to deal with uncertainty and complexity are:

    • What’s going on here?
    • Now what should I do?

     These questions help us make meaning about things. You’re more able to pick up on cues and clusters of information when you’re looking to connect some dots Wondering what's going on and what you should do will help.

    Map it out
    The best way to look at what the story is and what’s going on is to map it out. Do this for yourself on a piece of paper, on a tablet or a whiteboard and most of all... for the people you're working with.
    This is 'making sense' and it often starts with chaos. Phew! That’s a relief, because we need sense making most when things are a tad crazy. Like VUCA crazy.
    Sense comes after action
    Don’t just sit and wonder or be all talk. Making sense is about action. Think, map and act and then think and map some more.
    In sense making we are constantly iterating, changing, building, developing, growing and shifting our understanding. Things can’t help but be shaped and shifted when we talk about them.
    In a VUCA world, things will never be totally ‘right’ or ‘all right’. There will always be more change. Get used to that and keep making sense by mapping it out.