Whenever I form new teams, or a new team member joins an existing team, I first start to draw my Personal Map and explain what I am doing. Starting with my name in the middle, I create some bubbles for my home, work, goals, family, hobbies, values, and even write my values. That helps participants to get an idea of what we are looking for. In the next step, I invite them to write their own Map. I recognized that some people feel uncomfortable by writing too many personal details. For example, they do not want to get deeper into family situations, I try to ease the situation and tell them, they do not have to share all information. They decide on their own how much they want to show.
After a while, we come together and have a look at each Map. I ask the group what we can see here and what person could this represent. In this way, the participants have to take a closer look at the map, and they can ask questions and find topics to talk about. Sometimes people see the family situation and start to understand some behaviors like always beeing late because the child has to be in kindergarten.
When we have finished looking at all Maps, I ask them for similarities and have a closer look at the values. Maybe there are values some people cannot identify with, and we can start discussions about our team values.
By sharing private information about the participants, an environment of trust is generated. Empathy in this team raises, and we start seeing the human and not only the working machine. For this, we need a private space where no one else is watching or listening.
I also used it in a job interview. People asked me to introduce myself creatively, and it helped to create a picture of what I did, who I am, and where I want to go.
You can find more on Personal Maps at the Management 3.0 Homepage: