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The Power Of Mind Mapping In Decision Making

by Joel Roberts, project manager for Seavus Project Viewer

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Business owners and entrepreneurs rely on making the right decisions, in terms of following trends and taking up innovative ways to make their business more successful. But dealing with decision making, with risks of failure and multiple engaging factors on the way, is seldom an easy task. Many entrepreneurs have problems connected to uncertainty and not owning enough information to establish confidence and forecast risks while coming up with a decision.

While it is difficult to establish a clear view on the definite outcomes of any decision, one must think about future outcomes and possibilities, and make a quality risk assessments before implementing any decision.

As a fan of new concepts I frequently incorporate the famous technique into the decision making process, called mind mapping, which deems really useful, since it provides me with a way to unite a few decision making methodologies into one.

Mind mapping is a visual technique to organize ideas and information. The product of mind mapping is called a mind map which is a diagram, representing a central topic branching out to subtopics that elaborate the central subject, in this case a decision to be made. This tool is used to generate, visualize and structure ideas and aids decision making and problem solving, by providing the user with a base to see the big picture.

Mind maps can help you visualize and document all connected information to a decision, and will guide your analysis of the situation, with clear documentation of pros, cons, risks, resources and outcomes.

Mind maps guiding decisions – explained.

As an avid follower of this mind mapping technique, I would shortly elaborate the process of creating a mind map, in terms of aiding the decision making process.

A mind map is a hierarchical radial diagram, which organizes thoughts and information around a central idea, and so the first step to do is to determine the main topic that will be positioned in the center and around which you will document all related information.

To start off you can easily create mind maps with a simple pen and paper, and maybe lots of different color pens, but this will quickly limit your space to express, and will be impossible to grow your mind map and provide details to your main topic. That is why usually, users are inclined to introduce a mind mapping software into their practice, and incorporate a more flexible approach to support this technique.

As you start with the main topic, you move on to define a branch that will elaborate and clarify the issue, or the problem that needs to be solved, by stating whether it needs action, it represents an urgent issue or an important matter. While you clear out these points, you start with a subtopic that will list all the gathered facts connected to the decision. These are very easily correlated with other information in your mind map, by connecting it with so called relationships. To reference more to this, please preview the image of a mind map presented below.

One of the next steps is to include a brainstorming session, an individual one, or including the team that is directly affected or concerned with the decision. Mind maps work great as an inspirational tool to gather new and fresh ideas and to organize the brainstorming sessions.

Another subtopic in your mind map needs to state a list of alternatives, for which you can document an evaluation, according to principles connected to your organizational culture. Alongside the selected alternatives, you can prepare a balance sheet of the pros and cons of the proposed decisions, so you can visually interpret the number of benefits and risks to a decision, along with its significance.

Last but not least, you elaborate a plan guideline within your subtopics, by using graphics and notes to describe the approach of explanation and presentation of the decision, to those involved.

Guide to decision making

It is probably impossible to surmise all advices or tips have in mind when delivering any decision, or when you go through the decision making process with the use of mind maps, but you can take into account some of the following:

  • Make sure you are sufficiently informed and disregard all conflicts of interest;
  • Give value to information and document it in mind maps;
  • Take account of all relevant factors and ignore any irrelevant ones – set priorities in your mind maps;
  • Think through actions that are within your power and try to act upon them;
  • Always make decisions that are within your range.


joel roberts

 

Joel Roberts is an entrepreneur and a project manager with more than 12 years of experience, working for Seavus Project Viewer – a standalone viewer for team members who need to view and analyze project plans. Passionate about ideas and innovation management, she uses mind mapping on a daily basis to organize, plan and improve her work. Her articles have been featured in more than a dozen project management and business websites. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

 

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