How to make your strategic planning day triumph: The plan

holding your strategic planning day

In the past report I dealt with the mechanics of location up a intellect mapped planning day in terms of machines, software package and venue specifications.

In this put up I’ll choose a appear at getting ready a planning day plan that will optimize the advantages of utilizing intellect mapping software package. I’ll be utilizing examples and terminology drawn from MindManager but most major intellect mapping programs provide equivalent functions.

1. Structuring the day

In common terms the information of a planning day plan created with intellect mapping software package will be equivalent to one developed any other way. Inspite of this, it is nevertheless a good plan to prepare the plan instantly in your intellect mapping software package relatively than writing it somewhere else and then converting the output to a intellect map. Aside from preserving time, this will give you a superior tackle on the program’s framework and how the day really should circulation.

The initial undertaking is to set up the map with the planning workshop title as your central subject matter. Then you need to imagine about the various sessions you will have. Allocate a initial stage primary subject matter to every single session and transfer these all around the map until eventually you imagine you have the correct get.

Things this sort of as the session themes and detailed information will be specific to every single business but as a common rule the initial branch really should concentrate on common concerns this sort of as the organization’s or project’s aims and targets. This will also supply an straightforward way to introduce the intellect mapping approach to the workshop individuals.

It could be handy to body at least the primary matters symbolizing every single session as a collection of inquiries which will provoke a reaction. For instance, you could start out with a session inquiring simple inquiries this sort of as why the business exists or why a new undertaking really should be created. Other inquiries could be asked all around the vital alternatives and problems faced, how the business will respond to these problems or how the outcomes of the planning day will be applied.

2. Adding detail

You then need to drill down to nominate vital dialogue factors or essential concerns in every single session, incorporating these as sub-matters. These should not be much too detailed or go down much too a lot of ranges check out to restrict every single sub-subject matter to a word or quick phrase and comprise every thing with one or at most two ranges of sub-matters. You really should also retain the wording of these sub-matters as neutral as doable.

A person suggestion: You could want to look at splitting the identification of concerns (together with problems and alternatives) from the dialogue of probable responses to these concerns and placing these into individual sessions. This assists to retain the workshop additional concentrated and reduces the probable for people today to provide pat remedies – for instance, “We need to slice costs/services/personnel etc” prior to they have discovered specifically what the troubles genuinely are.

At this point you really should evaluate the sum of substance that will be covered in every single session. A person of the advantages of a intellect map is that you can very easily reallocate sub-matters to other branches, or slot in an added session to accommodate a specific set of concerns that emerges from as you prepare the plan.

As part of this assessment you really should also imagine about session timings. You need to allow for a good deal of time, in particular for major sessions as well as for lunch, tea/espresso breaks and for people today moving all around if you are planning to operate concurrent or breakout sessions. It’s a good plan also to allow for a quick split concerning every single session not only for individuals but also for facilitator to update the map.

three. Brainstorming and timer possibilities

Even though all intellect mapping programs by their mother nature facilitate brainstorming, some arrive with specific brainstorming functions which allow for buyers to document ideas immediately in an unstructured way to be collated afterwards. Some programs also support this functionality by supplying added functions this sort of as problem playing cards and timers.

No matter whether these functions are beneficial in a planning workshop is a concern every single facilitator requirements to decide for by themselves. Individually I really do not imagine distinctive brainstorming functions insert a great deal price if you have a rather structured agenda but if you are genuinely starting up from scratch and your intellect mapping plan has this facility it could be worthy of exploring.

What can be of broader use is the timer characteristic observed in most intellect mapping programs. Even though this is commonly linked with the brainstorming functionality, the timer can frequently be used independently of it to make sure that the session instances set by the facilitator really do not blow out. Depending on the intellect mapping plan being used, the timer could arrive with functions this sort of as count up and count down, audio alarms and the skill to hide the timer until eventually the ultimate couple of minutes of a session. If you are going to use the timer facility you really should observe with it prior to the planning day.

four. Tags and icons

All major intellect mapping programs supply some kind of facility to insert icons or markers to map matters. At the most simple these include things like icons to clearly show priorities as well as undertaking-similar facts this sort of as completion position, but most programs also supply a vary of other icons as well as the skill to insert text tags.

These functions can be used to keep added facts relating to unique matters and also to categorize and review them. This suggests that icons and tags can be incredibly handy in running a planning session, supplied the facilitator has at least a simple understanding of how they operate.

As a initial phase, the facilitator requirements to operate out what requirements to be categorized and also what is the ideal way to include icons and tags in the planning workshop approach. Primarily there are three possibilities, even though in observe these overlap and any blend can be used in a one session:

Setting up a set of tags or icons prior to the session. This is method is ideal for applying recognized groups, for instance, if an business has a number of geographic spots or a variety of distinct projects matters can be tagged to reflect their relationships to these. A set of icons or tags can also be founded to mark matters as alternatives or threats and to clearly show the relative priorities of vital concerns and responses.

Producing markers “on the fly” during the session. These could reflect groups that emerge from the dialogue for instance, if a new probable supply of funding for a non-financial gain business is discovered during the planning session, an icon could be included to mark individuals projects which could be suitable.

Analyzing the outcomes after the session. Icons and in distinct text tags can be used to detect designs and relationships that look as the facilitator reads through the session output. Alternatively, they can be used to slice up this substance in various approaches. For instance, if all threats have been dealt with in one session, all alternatives in a second and proposed alternatives in a third, the facilitator can tag all the remarks across these sessions that relate to a specific concern or undertaking.

If the initial two parts of tips are to come to be relaxed with icons and tags beforehand if you are intending to use them and then to system how they will be utilized, there is an equally essential third suggestion – be sparing in their application, in particular during the session. Tags and icons really should assist understanding relatively than bring about confusion.

five. Appear and layout – it is not just about the information

Determining the matters to be covered, how the map will be structured and what “extras” this sort of as tags and timers will be used are all essential but they type only part of the approach of getting ready a map for use in a planning session. Creating the map’s layout and how it will look on display screen are just as vital if you want your planning day to triumph. Below are a couple of suggestions:

Lay out your map for straightforward looking at. All intellect mapping programs will allow you opt for concerning various layout possibilities on the fly, so you can experiment devoid of affecting the map information. The one I use most frequently is a blend of an org-chart for the primary matters and a tree layout for sub-matters, commonly down only to the primary sub-subject matter stage. Most people today are common with org-charts and this layout helps make ideal use of a rectangular screen display screen.

Scale up and go for substantial print. Workshop individuals will obviously need to be capable to examine the display screen very easily even from the back again of the area, so experiment with the measurement of the two the map and the text fonts used in all noticeable matters to get the ideal final result.

Really don’t be fearful of shade. Let your creativity go when it will come to colors and be geared up to splash out – so extensive as the final result doesn’t hurt the eyes! Choose a various shade for every single primary subject matter but really do not be concerned much too a great deal about seeking to make these selections symbolize a thing. The closest I get to this is creating the vital subtopics a lighter shade of the same shade I selected for their dad or mum primary subject matter. Bear in mind to verify the output if you print the plan in black and white, in particular if you stop up utilizing white text versus a dim qualifications. Also play all around with the map qualifications shade – a light-weight green/grey or blue/grey reduces glare and helps make the map a lot easier to examine than the default white qualifications.

Delve into templates – or get relaxed with map areas. Really don’t ignore that even if you do scale up the measurement of text in the map, any time you insert a remark during the planning session it will most likely look utilizing the program’s default sub-subject matter font which will nevertheless be much too little. There are two approaches to deal with this, based on the plan you are utilizing. The initial is to structure the map template and in distinct the default sub-subject matter font measurement and visual appearance to reflect the type you are utilizing. The alternative is to structure a blank sub-subject matter the way you want and help save it as a map part which can be pasted back again into the map any time demanded.

Less is additional – retain the map primary see uncluttered. If you do all the earlier mentioned and discover that there are much too a lot of matters to in good shape on-display screen although holding the map legible, choose it as a sensible trace that you could need to cut down the variety of matters and sub-matters. An additional method is to blend some of the primary sub-matters and their primary sub-subtopics. As a common rule, I check out to restrict the major screen of a planning day map to displaying only the primary matters and primary sub-matters, with a highest of 4 or five primary matters and no additional than five or 6 primary sub-matters per branch. Except maybe for session graduation instances, I usually really do not clearly show timing facts on this map.

Prepare to clearly show one branches and matters. Some programs supply an automatic skill for the facilitator to phase through the map, displaying branches and even unique matters by by themselves, but in most intellect mapping programs this can be carried out rather very easily manually. This assists get rid of interruptions during the session and also supplies a clean up canvas for people today to insert their ideas. This is where by any sub-sub-matters really should look, but the same tips about holding the map uncluttered applies at this stage as well.

Apply to triumph. As I mentioned in my past report, you really should choose a dry operate through the plan, if at all doable utilizing the display screen at the venue where by the planning session will be held. This will also give you an option to exam the technology. If you just can’t do this prior to the day, check out to uncover a equivalent display screen somewhere else to give a feeling of what the map will appear like when it seems on a thing a great deal bigger than your computer screen.

Exhibit the full map (which really should be your starting up point) then phase through the branches and primary matters to get a feeling of how the day will circulation and regardless of whether any of the unique branch or primary subject matter shows are nevertheless much too cluttered. Choose one or two primary matters and insert random remarks, then insert icons or tags to see how crowded the display screen will appear. You really should also observe with the session timer if you are planning to use it.

6. Finalize the documentation

When you are pleased with the map contents and layout you can finalize the documentation for the planning day. The easiest method is to switch the primary screen map into a one-sheet PDF file of the map picture which can be printed or dispersed electronically to individuals alongside with any supporting documentation demanded. The following is a hypothetical instance:

holding your strategic planning day

Even if you decide to adopt the alternative of exporting the map to a Word doc so you can insert additional detail, the map picture helps make a beneficial and appealing initial web page. Both way you really should look at incorporating facts this sort of as the prepared session instances and lunch and refreshment split preparations. Really don’t ignore to include things like a brief rationalization of the intellect mapping approach to be used.

You really should also look at building a individual variation of the map as a running sheet only for your eyes as facilitator and individuals of everyone helping in running the planning day. This really should include things like specifics this sort of as the session timings, split preparations and specifics of the technology to be used.

Upcoming, in the ultimate part of this collection I’ll communicate about the approach of running your planning session with a intellect map and how to use the intellect mapping edge in writing up the workshop outcomes.

Other articles or blog posts in this collection

How to prepare for your initial strategic planning day (part three)

7 vital advantages intellect mapping can bring to your planning session (part 2)

Strategic planning – Stuck in the whiteboard time warp (part 1)

Mexico & World Map

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