This weekend I decided to mind map my business.
I had a couple of wonderful conversations with some peers who inspired me through their outlook and approach to work which aligned to my own personal values which made me question my approach to who I wanted to work for and with. For some time now, I had been struggling to articulate why I felt at odds with the current approach to how people were building their consulting practice and reputations in the market.
The model for many consultants out in the market are to be touted as “thought leaders” and that there’s a formulaic and templated approach to solving complex organisational problems by following models, formulas or reading their books.
In my mind, I simply can’t grapple the idea that one person has the answers or that their way is the best and only way. If we’re espousing collaboration, co-operation, participation, contribution, trust, accountability, generosity and reciprocity in work then the current business models of working with clients and corporations don’t seem to properly align.
Similarly, there’s a disconnect between how we openly share our knowledge and work, take risks and put ourselves in a vulnerable position when we do this especially when our livelihoods depend on it. There’s also a missing gap between being properly remunerated and acknowledged for work and ideas that you put out there in the public forum and how it is then used by others who profit from it. I can’t seem to shake that there’s an underlying “unfairness” to it all.
With that, at 4:30am on Sunday morning, I got up and decided to mind map my entire business offering on paper. I used my coloured markers to write out every product and service I have, all the downloadable resources, the workshops, webinars, the clients I serve, the people and teams I want to work with and my why.
Doing this exercise made me realise the amount of work I had put in the last few years to get to this point and it’s no mean feat. What’s not on this mind map are the wonderful people who have come across on my journey (those who I’ve met and worked with) and those who I haven’t who have inspired me because they lived similar values to me and somehow seemed to “intuitively understand” that we’re in the middle of an interesting time in society where some people are asking some big questions about how we will work and live in the near future.
What’s going on in organisations is really a microcosm of the bigger picture in society so I guess I’m thinking what role I play from here on – and how to navigate feeling confident that my values align to a future that is focussed on human interaction and connections; a civil society; and one which has the common good as a focus.
I also realised that I’m “ME” (the real me) when I work with people and teams who share my personal values of integrity, fairness, community and generosity and that for my sake of sanity, to seek these types of people, teams and organisations who are focussed on these and not on profit at the expense of people.
I’ve still got lots of thinking ahead of me but the process of just getting it out first on paper, and then on MindMeister which is a free mind mapping tool, freed the doubts in my mind.
The future is collaborative and co-operative so maybe the way to make a small start for me is to seek out people, teams and organisations who are open to working this way and creating their own solutions and not following the crowd, social media influencers, ‘thought leader’ superstars or formulas.