Covey - Day 1Early in 1996 I was certified to teach Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” workshops for leaders with EDS (Electronic Data Systems). On a late Friday afternoon in August I was facing the daunting task of teaching my first two 4-day Covey workshop in Indianapolis with one of my co-workers Lisa Morgan. Unfortunately I hadn’t touched the material since the certification, so I grabbed the 3-inch instructor manual and prepared myself for what seemed to be an impossible feat of preparing for next week’s classes. Then I had an idea!

The reality that I could not be ready to teach hit me hard, so I proposed an idea to Lisa. The two Indianapolis workshops were structured so that the first class would attend on Tuesday and Thursday and the second class would attend Wednesday and Friday. Then we would repeat that pattern the following week to wrap up the 4 days for both groups. My thought was to let her teach the first day of the first class while I sat in the back. At that point I had been teaching and utilizing mind mapping (pre-idea mapping days) for over 4 years. So while she taught, I was going to simultaneously mind map every detail of the course in preparation to then teach the following day for the start of the second class. She agreed with the plan.

It worked like a charm. The attached map is the original that I created the first day while Lisa taught. It includes every detail necessary for me to teach. The following day I taught from this 11″ x 17″ single piece of paper. We repeated this strategy for the remaining 3 days of both workshops. I saved at least a week’s worth of studying and for the first time I personally experience the power of Idea Mapping to a degree I had not up to this point.

Lessons: Until you personally experience the power of Idea Mapping it’s a nice tool but it might not be one you use frequently. The scenario doesn’t need to be of this magnitude, but there needs to be one. I understood the value of the tool, but this solidified it even more for me.