By Melissa Smith and Lorraine Grubbs
This is the second in our four-part series on how GIC is preparing for the future. Our last article highlighted Rick McMullen who talked about the GIC 2025 Initiative. In this article, Al Zaepfel, VP of Strategic Planning introduces his thoughts on how Mind Mapping and Mindjet are helping GIC prepare for change.
Al Zaepfel, Vice President of Strategic Planning
Mind Mapping and Mindjet
Five years ago I went through the same GIC leadership program that Rick talked about. My two-year journey culminated in a graduation present from Frank; a new role and title, “Vice President of Strategic Thinking”. Frank asked me to capture all the “big picture” thinking in a way that everyone could understand. Typically, like many companies, we communicated verbally by making lists and in some cases by PowerPoint presentations. GIC needed one place where all those ideas and plans could come together. Shortly after starting my new role, I enrolled in a course to learn about Mind Mapping. It’s a powerful, graphic technique used to translate what’s on your mind into a visual picture and gives you one database in which to store all ideas. Mind mapping works like the brain does; It allows you to organize and understand information faster.
Today, we have a tool called Mindjet and it’s being used to help GIC improve communication in four areas:
1. Strategic Planning Process: Mindjet templates give us a platform to organize and share ideas and business strategies.
2. Group Brainstorming allows us to document and sort ideas for later use speeding up the process. We can share the mind maps so everyone’s on the same page.
3. Project Management: Mindjet makes it very easy to take Ideas and put them into Action. I am using this product to help Frank Costa develop the big picture plan for our new GIC Academy. It has also helped in documenting the process of opening up a new branch.
4. Support the development and communication of GIC 2025, specifically, our future Supply Chain methodology.
Mind mapping has made us more productive and improved our communication through better transparency.
On a personal note, I accompanied a new group of Leaders attending GIC’s Leadership Academy to Dallas. We had lunch with the infamous founder of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher. I had taken my brand new leather bound journal to take notes. Before I wrote a word, Herb picked up my journal, admired it, and then asked me what I did. I responded I was the VP of Strategic Thinking and Planning. “Wow,” Herb said, “that’s a really important job!” He then proceeded to leaf through my journal, which contained only blank pages. “Amazing!” Herb commented, “You’re one of the smartest men I know! You figured out how to get a title without doing absolutely anything!
I wish I had Mindjet at my fingertips at that moment. Herb would have really meant what he said!
Please watch Rick McMullen’s video below and follow the link to the Commitment to Culture Articles that you can share with your friends and family.