If you missed the first part of how to make a team decision with mind mapping, here is the link.
1. Choose your visual indicators for analysis and decision making
Last, but not least is the part where we can elaborate more about Visual Tools. These are intended to aid you to view in real-time the status of decisions and give a global panorama to the team on the impact that their decisions will have on the whole project.
It is important to provide this visibility because it will consolidate a moral contract between the people who participated in the decision-making process. It remains to choose your Visual indicators to visualize the decisions, and you can do this by using:
1.1. Markers/Icons progressive:
What is interesting about the markers/icons is that you can put several subjects and give more information simultaneously thanks to the power of the Visual channel and the Visual areas of the brain.
1.2. Use colors:
You can use colors in the same way as icons. The color gives more visual impact than an icon. But you can put only one color by subject.
2. Analyze and decide visually
Mind Mapping is an intuitive and logical decision support tool. If we accept the scientific work that concludes that our decisions are more influenced by our unconscious criteria than the conscious ones, then it is better to use a tool that will support the parts of our brain connected to our unconscious and which will help us decide intuitively and mostly relying on space, forms, and colors.
Of course, we must also continue to support our conscious brain, logical and analytical criteria. This is also very well done with Mind Mapping and thanks to the prioritization of information and the use of words. Visual and spatial indicators give a comprehensive and immediate information like the dashboard of a car or a GPS dashboard: texts, icons, and colors tags or markers. They can give qualitative (value of ideas) or quantitative (weight of ideas) information.
Choose/decide = balance + evaluate + prioritize
If we look at the issues mentioned by professionals since we entered the era of complexity and information overload, to “Choose” seems to be the hardest and the most complicated thing.
It is often considered to be complicated because managers have little knowledge about the cognitive processes of decisions.
But ultimately, the choice emerges “naturally” once following these 3 steps:
- Balancing: information influence us;
- Evaluate: we influence / interpret information;
- Prioritization: we combine balancing and evaluation to prioritize.
2.1. Balancing = weight of ideas
We are mainly sensitive to the quantitative dimension of information. We are influenced by the size, the importance of information, and the number of subjects in a category.
The weight of information can help us to put our judgment into perspective.
The number of branches with common Visual indicators gives the Visual weight of the information. To isolate the information with the same feature, you can use the advanced filters available in iMindQ.
The number of sub-branches in the main branch is also a Visual indicator that influences our judgment.
2.2. Evaluate = value of ideas
The value of a single information can help us put the power of many pieces of information into perspective.
We are mainly sensitive to the qualitative dimension of information.
These are values, beliefs, knowledge, experiences, and contexts that influence our judgment. So for example, a branch with a small number of ideas can be very important for us.
The value of single information can help us put the power of many pieces of information into perspective.
The value of an idea cannot depend on its statistical presence on the map.
Indeed, an idea may appear only once and yet be very important in the eyes of a person or group. So, this information can be visually enhanced by a Visual indicator, chosen by the group.
Hierarchy features of the logic of reflection are what helps to analyze and make choices. The spatial arrangement of information according to its place in the hierarchy – or at the level of branches either within a same branch – may give some more or less explicit value which will influence our judgment.
2.3. Prioritize and choose collectively
Prioritize: give more importance to information over another. We incorporate scales to establish our priorities. Pay attention, do not choose broad scales. 10 levels of priority will not help you see things clearly. By experience, 3/4 levels are sufficient and more effective to decide quickly.
Examples of scales:
In conclusion, if you are working with a team over a Mind Map, decision-making will become easy and sometimes even a playful activity. The essential part is to follow the steps and mainly guide the group by focusing them to comply with the rest of the steps.
Honest advice: Before making a team decision using Mind Mapping, try to collect initial ideas by brainstorming with Mind Maps.
About the author
Franco Masucci is the founder of Signos, one of the first French companies to deliver expertise in Management and Visual Mapping. Franco is an ardent mind mapper, providing companies and professionals with advises on the use of mind mapping and concept mapping in a collaborative environment.