As entrepreneur's problem-solve or seek the next steps to grow their company, they tend to toss ideas around in their mind, waiting for the magic solution or next brilliant idea. No doubt, it will come - but then what? Most entrepreneurs will come up with more than one great idea and they merge in the brain to confuse, overwhelm and produce frustration. Making lists of your ideas is a good way to get them out of your mind but doesn't offer much opportunity for exploration and expansion of your concept. How can we take our ideas, goals, and problem solving to the next level?
The 'Information Age' is giving way to a whole new world where right brain thinkers and whole mind thinking are the power weapons necessary to create success. People and companies are recreating themselves, learning to think differently, becoming more creative, empathetic and purpose-driven. I witness this daily as I work with my amazing clients; most of whom have a 'greater purpose' for running a successful business, a purpose that takes them beyond the profits.
Mind Mapping gives us an opportunity to engage right brain thinking. It's a creative process that is easy for the brain to follow, expand upon, and remember. For me, the key to mind mapping is asking the next question, drilling down and then drilling down some more.
If you wish to consolidate information, create a process, think through a complex thought or brainstorm an idea, try this process. You can get as creative as you like, or keep it simple. There are computer programs you can utilize or you can use a white board, poster board or large piece of paper. I really like using the paper because using my own hands to draw and write seems to pull more creativity out of me. Begin with your main topic. For the sake of today's discussion let's say that you are creating a process to release your new product. In the center of your paper, write the word 'product release.' Then ask yourself questions like 'what do I need to have in place to launch'? Draw a line from your center topic for each thought that comes to mind. If the thoughts are linked, create a tree branch-like effect and continue creating. Write down all of your thoughts, one will lead to another as the process continues. You might consider using different colors for various lines of thought. Get creative, have fun and be amazed at what surfaces. Drill down, keep asking questions like, 'and what do I need to have in place to do that'?
Consider your resources and create a branch for all of those as well. As challenges arise, they may merit another mind map or you might resolve them after drilling down with a few more questions. There are no rules here – let your whole brain guide you to the answers!
See some great information and examples at Mind Tools and Litemind. Then try it today and let us know the outcome!
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka