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Helping your team become better planners

Last time on the blog, we began a discussion on some principles featured in the book Die Empty by Todd Henry. Leaders especially will thrive as a result of absorbing the material that Henry presents, particularly where it concerns bringing out the fullest potential in the people you lead. That’s because in Die Empty, Henry describes three types of work that are needed to work at your fullest capability:


Mapping: “planning your work. It is when you strategize, conceive, think, plan, and plot your course of action. It’s the “work before the work” that helps you stay aligned.”

Making: “actually doing the work. It is when you are creating the actual value you are being paid for, or doing the tasks you devised while mapping.”

Meshing: “all of the “work between the work” that actually makes you more effective when you are working. It’s comprised of things like following your curiosity, studying, developing your skills, and asking deeper questions about why you are doing your work.”


In our last blog, we discussed the four different types of worker profiles Henry has created as a result of the various combinations of the above descriptions. For example, someone who Maps and Meshes but fails to Make is a ‘Dreamer’. They love to talk about ideas and develop skills but they aren’t disciplined enough to follow-through and get the actual work done.

If you want a highly effective team, then it’s essential you coach your team members into becoming ‘Developers’ – people who have mastered the combination of Mapping, Making, and Meshing. Building up more ‘Developers’ in the workplace can lead to a robust organisation where individuals are contributing on a more effective scale and putting out phenomenal work that can bring your company to the next level.

Below, find easy-to-implement strategies toward helping your team members master the art of Mapping:


To Map Better…

Team members lacking mapping skills need to weed out distractions so that they can follow through on their projects. In the absence of a long term plan and/or accountability, they may be successful at first but ultimately lack the conviction to see things through to the end. These team members need to learn how to organize their day better in order to make progress.

Interestingly enough, it’s been said that over 75% of employees would rather have a leader who helps them get things done than have a leader who is “inspiring.” According to the “progress principle” discovered by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, the most powerful motivator at work is making meaningful progress. So how can you help your team members become better ‘Mappers’ and make progress in the workplace?


  • One way to aid in this goal is to track performance. Have systems in place that will measure the level of effort, progress, and results accomplished by your team members. Doing so will give those lacking in ‘Mapping’ skills the accountability they need to complete projects.
  • Remember to also establish concrete (and realistic) goals, as this helps a team to stay organized and on task. Communicate your expectations effectively and ensure that each team member understands what’s expected from them. Then have regular check-in’s to ensure team members are on track with their contributions.
  • Help team members get their work done by providing the support, tools, and resources that they need. In other words, look for ways to collaborate with your team members to give them the occasional hand-up that they need and/or to provide them with any materials that may facilitate their growth. If you notice any learning gaps, for instance, connect that individual with the training they need to maximize their potential.
  • Remember to regularly emphasize your company’s big picture, so that team members understand the value in the work that they’re doing. Attributing significance to a project can give a team member the extra push they need to add fuel to their fire and cross the finish line strong.


In our next blog, we’ll discuss strategies toward bettering your teams ‘Making’ and ‘Meshing’ skills so stay tuned!

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