Book Review: Up Your Impact
One of the many great things about the mind mapping world is that it is full of innovation experts who combine the use of mind mapping software with other innovation processes. One of the leaders in this combined field of innovation and mind mapping is Chuck Frey, author of the mind mappingsoftware blog, and new book “Up Your Impact: 52 Innovative Strategies to add value to your work”.
Chuck's new book (available here) takes the simple concept of 'adding value to your work' and breaks it down into a series of ideas, tips, and practical actions that actually help you to put theory into practice... something many other books seem averse to doing! Adding value to your work is actually not simple at all, and knowing what exactly this means, and where to begin, is a genuine problem that Chuck is looking solve through this work. Fortunately for us, he succeeds in presenting a clear roadmap for doing so...
I am an impatient reader, largely because I have a very short attention span, and one of the ways I know whether I want to continue with a book is if I recognise the reality that an author paints as the context for their book. If I can't associate with the reality they claim exists, then I know I will struggle to engage with the content that follows - I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks like this! Chuck paints a very recognisable picture of the current challenges facing individuals in the working world today, who face an increasing struggle to be recognised as valuable and unique, as opposed to inter-changeable and easily replaced. The author offers this picture not as a bleak status quo from which we cannot escape, but rather as the context in which we must learn to adapt and improve the ways we have traditionally contributed to the input and output of an organisation. It is no longer enough to turn up and clock-in. We have to identify better ways to contribute to the overall organisation, and better ways to make ourselves indispensable within it.
Chuck's book contains 52 strategies that can help to do this, but by focusing even on one of these, I'm confident you could see and feel a genuine shift in your working world in a very short time. As always, there are no quick fixes, but there are easy starting points, and Chuck is adept at identifying these, and giving you practical tips and actions to get an improvement process underway. Whether it is developing your presentation skills through story-telling, or developing a strategic mindset that enables better decision making, Chuck has considered the best ways to make things happen, rather than simply trumpeting ideals and leaving you to figure out the rest! For example, he regularly references contemporary tools like Linkedin, Google+ and others to support the actions he suggests. Importantly, he recognises (and advises) that while these tools may evolve and change over time, getting used to using them in effectively will ensure you are far better prepared to take advantage of whatever the ‘next big thing’ in social media or the web might be. The tools and technology will change, and at a rapid rate, but a mindset that recognises how they can be used quickly will remain invaluable regardless. This is how Up Your Impact can help.
Overall, the book is an excellent and extremely easy read, and one that you could jump back into at any point to spark an idea or guide a particular process. Chuck is an absolute leader in several fields, and his expertise distilled down into 52 key ideas is absolutely invaluable. I thoroughly recommend taking a look at the Up Your Impact website, and committing to implementing just one of the 52 strategies over the next week or so. You will not be disappointed, but you may be surprised by just how quickly you start to shift your perception of your organisation, your colleagues, and yourself. And all for the better!