nMaps: the practice
‘Magic happens when teams learn to be greater than the sum of their parts, for thisis when they surprise themselves with what they can co-create and achieve together.’
W H Y T U N E Y O U R T E A M ?
Breakthrough is fundamentally a human activity, born from putting our differences into creative relationship, in order to create a plethora of new and novel intersections, and a myriad of empty spaces – all full of latent potential.
For this reason, our capacity to break through is dependent on the quality of contact and relationships we build in a team.
Much research has been done on what makes a team highly productive, peak performing and creative. Is it the right mix of introverts and extroverts, of followers and leaders, or of personality types? Or is it more about group norms, unwritten rules, conversational turn-taking and social sensitivities?
Latest research would posit that the key to breakthrough teams and productive meetings is ‘psychological safety’, ie. it is safe to speak up, voice differences of opinion, think out loud, take
risks, disclose, fail fast etc.
Psychological safety and the trust that ensues is, from our experience, one of the four allied states of mind that enable breakthrough teams to work at their creative edge and make the unmade future.
The other states of mind are:
- having a shared passion, belief in and commitment to something larger than ourselves
- the willingness and resilience to wander with wonder into the unknown together
- the ability to see and work with pattern so we can move like a flock of birds
The beauty is that when we move into these allied states of mind together, breakthrough teams begin to manifest like flames.
Unfortunately, if one or more of the team lack the selfawareness, interpersonal skills or behaviours needed to work in this way, these allied states of mind become undermined or distorted. The team then struggles to establish and maintain their creative relationships, and become unable to marshal the energy needed for breakthrough. The team and the work simply fragment and collapse back to being less than the sum of the parts.
The first challenge, therefore, is for teams to raise their awareness to those states and qualities of mind that take them out of creative relationship with each other, and those that put them into creative relationship. Then they need to learn how to interrupt those that distort them, individually and communally, and amplify those that ally them. Finally, they need to master their allies so they can call them forward in various sequences and forms, at will and with skill, to catalyse breakthrough and move to new levels of peak performance.
n M A P s – T E A M J O U R N E Y s
Business leaders rightly make huge efforts to bring ‘talent’ into their organisations, but all too often the value and impact of this effort is undermined, as teams of highly talented individuals somehow become ‘less than the sum of the parts’.
nMaps is a unique, cutting-edge framework, practice and tool that reveals the hidden code for how teams and leaders can become greater than the sum of their parts.
nMaps are often deployed as part of team development journeys – starting with a team map and the leader’s map. The insights these generate are then used to craft 4th Realm experiments that both the team and the leader commit to practising.
Once this learning is integrated, they can then go deeper by using relational maps (between members of a team) and culture maps to further tune the creative frequency at which you, and the people you lead and work with, operate.
n M A P s – T H E F R A M E W O R K
nMaps help us see the unconscious patterns of thought and action that either take us into, or out of, co-creative relationship with each other and with the world around us.
The maps are based around a ‚wheel‘, that consists of eight ‘Allies’ that open co-creative space within ourselves and with others, and eight ‘Distortions’ that close that space down. The challenge is to develop our Allies and interrupt our Distortions. When we learn to stand at the centre of the wheel, we are able to call forward our Allies at will and with skill.
‘Being at the centre, in command’ takes time. However, used within an ongoing, iterative practice of experimentation and reflection, nMaps transform our capability to experience peak performance and collective flow, more often and for more extended periods of time.
n M A P s – T H E T O O L
The nMaps tool is an innovative on-line questionnaire that gathers feedback on how our Allies and Distortions are shaping our dayto- day habits and experience. The report provides a profile which generates clues and insights into:
- Your strongest and weakest Allied energies
- Your strongest and weakest Distorted energies
- How you, as a team, leader or culture, can expand your Allies and diminish your Distortions
- Where you stand in this moment in time, with regard to the ego-development stages of your team, your leadership and your culture
Each participant receives printed and digital reports, and a detailed guidebook that describes the framework and how to make meaning of your map and dashboard.
Note: The questionnaire takes about 20 minutes to complete, and is available in multiple languages.
Becoming an Accredited Practitioner
- An opportunity to learn a powerful framework and practice for unleashing the creative and productive potential of teams, leaders and cultures.
- A 2×2 day training program for selected consultants, coaches and OD professionals to become accredited in the use of nMaps so they can add it to their ongoing leadership and team development practices.