Should you be making an Issue about Everything?


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Issue Mapping is the process of crafting an issue map, a way of making critical thinking visible. An issue map is a graphical network that integrates many problems, solutions, and points of view and shows the deep structure of an issue. Issue maps can be sketched on paper, but larger issue maps are typically crafted using a software tool.

The above is a quote taken from CogNexus Institute. The Institute’s mission is assisting others in creating organizational coherence in the service of world peace and healing. They specialize in teaching the Dialogue Mapping™ and Issue Mapping techniques and in research on collaborative technologies for design and deliberation on wicked problems.

Listen to the explanation of why using Issue Mapping may be appropriate for structuring your conversation in the next meeting.

This structure provides a unique perspective when you consider using a similar structure for reviewing a sales conversation. You may not be able to do this on the fly but what if you recorded a conversation and had an expert mapping map your process? Do you think each comment would be tied to the root question? Do you think grouping the ideas would allow you to see who had the best supported? Or, who objected the most and why? This process removes much of the subjectivity surrounding the sales conversation.

Dr. Conklin’s book, Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems, provides an excellent outline on the subject. What is the difference between Issue Mapping and Dialogue Mapping? Again from the CogNexus Institute:

Issue Mapping is Dialogue Mapping minus group facilitation. Issue Mapping is like writing – it is the process of analyzing and synthesizing information, often by an individual, to capture the essence and structure of a problem, whereas Dialogue Mapping of a meeting conversation involves an experienced mapper creating an issue map on the fly for the purpose of facilitating the convergence of the participants.

Issue Mapping focuses on map production, Dialogue Mapping on the coherence of the conversation. The difference can be subtle. For example, a group can do Issue Mapping by collaboratively building out the content of the nodes and the structure of the links in a map, but a solitary person cannot do Dialogue Mapping!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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