In today’s business world, the ability to develop profitable new ideas is a critically important skill, says Mark Levy in his new report, List-Making as a Tool of Thought Leadership. To do this, he recommends brainstorming a series of lists to develop a storehouse of fresh ideas that you can use to grow your influence in your work – to become a thought leader in your area of expertise.
The list-making process that Levy recommends has much in common with mind mapping, which often involves the deconstructing of a problem, challenge or project into its component parts. This deep analysis often leads to new insights and ideas.
Levy recommends asking yourself questions that help you to generate ideas around your key challenges and opportunities, which are outlined in the mind map above (click on the image to view a larger version). You record your answers in a series of written lists. These ideas and insights can then be evaluated and developed further using the second list of recommended evaluation questions.
Why even consider a set of thought exercises like this? Because your career and future success may depend upon it. Levy explains:
“You’re hired for your ideas. In a sense, your ideas are your inventory. They’re your currency. Bluntly stated: Your ideas equal money. Your ideas get you noticed in the marketplace, help you to command enviable fees (or salary), and enable you to do good work on projects of significance.”
Levy’s approach is an excellent one, but I believe it could be improved by recording your ideas in mind maps, rather than linear lists. Mind mapping software provides not only a way to not only record your ideas, but also gives you a powerful, flexible platform to expand upon, organize, evaluate and take action on them. For example:
- As the number of lists and ideas grow, you can easily break one large mind map into a number of smaller linked ones, keeping them manageable and helping to prevent information overload.
- Supporting information can be captured in notes, links and attached documents.
- You can use icons to indicate areas where you need to do additional research, or where you have unanswered questions
- You can record the contact information of subject matter experts, whom you need to interview for more information – and attach the results of your discussions with them
- You can convert your best ideas into tasks, define deadlines for next action steps and track their progress. Mind mapping software isn’t just a brainstorming tool, but also a light-weight project management tool.
I highly recommend you download List-Making as a Tool of Thought Leadership, and then apply its techniques to generate your own list of valuable ideas to help build your influence and success in your work. It’s a free report, and you don’t even have to give up your e-mail address or other personal information to download it. It’s only 27 pages long and is written in a clear, easily digestible style. In other words, it’s easy to take his techniques and put them to use immediately. Why not do so today? You’ll be a better person for it!