99% of the time we assess what's happening in our life and make our plans using common sense but occasionally it's helpful to structure our thinking.
Domainal mapping is a tool I've found useful on several occasions. It allows you to understand a range of influences (often relationships) associated with a particular role in work or life and get a sense of perspective, as well as perhaps to identify some useful actions to help you progress.
I've used it most when I've either been feeling strain from change at work or I've been at some other turning point in my life. Google "domainal mapping" and you'll find a few articles about the technique, mostly focused on using it in very worky roles, but I tend to find that when I have decisions to make I need to consider what's going on outside work as well as within it. Mapping work and non-work "domains" alongside each other gives me a useful sense of perspective: "No wonder I'm stressed, look at all the crazy stuff going on!", or, "Hang on, I'm preoccupied with finishing that report and I really have other things to worry about - things that are more fixable.".
Perhaps you will find it useful to hear about my experience of setting myself up as a consultant, and how you can work with me.
Setting up has been pretty easy, so far, although I think I've had my share of luck. In my first couple of months I established marketing activities, and working out administrative stuff like tax and insurance. I found that the experience I have of running an organisation and of running projects gave me most of the knowledge and skills I needed, and where I needed help it was available through my network or, occasionally, from Internet resources (HMRC have some pretty good stuff). I have shared some tips in this article...
My recent survey of blog readers, LinkedIn and Twitter contacts indicates that understanding each other and our differences is our biggest challenge to working in partnership. Now I am building on the research results to design a course that will improve your ability to bring organisations together to create impact.
After 23 years of work I am still learning about what I do well and what I enjoy, and trying to become a better learner. Dealing with the challenge of senior management at Engineers Without Borders pushed me to be real about life and work and led me to decide to give up an amazing job at CEO level, even though I’d be trying to get to that level for five years. I hope the experience has changed me – I certainly think I’m on the right path now.
In last week's post about what I learned from Engineers Without Borders (here) I said we (voluntary sector) are only just beginning to understand the corporate sector. In three years with Engineers Without Borders I had more contact with companies than I'd had in the previous 17 years (at Oxfam GB, Nottingham CVS, Skillshare International, Regeneration East Midlands and One East Midlands), and it was all very useful contact.
After 20+ years in the third sector, having worked for five employers, maybe you start to feel like you know how things tick, but Engineers Without Borders thoroughly challenged my assumptions about what the sector can achieve.
I am currently working on a proposal to help bring funders together around the issue of scaling up successful projects to achieve large impact. The idea is to examine how you address the challenges of scale, like finding the resources you need and applying successful ideas in new contexts.
I find this really exciting: if we can learn lessons from successfully scaled-up projects we can perhaps influence practice, and make a difference for people all over the world.