Map Your Relationships
The strength of your relationships determines your chances of success –mapping your relationships is key at the beginning of a new project, when you are starting a new role or feeling stuck. It can help you identify your support network as well as the gap you must fill.
Relationship mapping is an ideal tool to identify and assess your relationships –– both professionally and personally. It helps map relationships by type and strength: unbreakable, strong, weak, and broken.
My first experience with this tool was when I attended a three-month Change Leadership Program at Stanford’s d.school five years ago. It was originally designed by SY Partners SF. I’ve adopted it as a critical tool for team development and personal growth workshops.
- Print a copy of the Map Your Relationships canvas (see image above).
- On a piece of paper, list all the people that play an essential role in your life (I recommend doing one for personal purposes and another for professional ones, though some people might be included on both).
- Write all the names around the “Me” circle (that’s you).
- Now draw a line to connect each name to you. Choose a specific type of line depending on the strength of the relationship according to the references (i.e.: ‘unbreakable’ use three lines, for “weak’ use a dashed line).
- Now reflect on all the relationships, what’s the story? What have you uncovered? Why are some ‘links’ broken or weak?
- Categorize your relationships into two groups: those that matter and those that don’t. This is not about who you like or not, but who are critical to helping you (or not) achieve your goals.
- Reflect on the strength of all the relationships that are critical to your success (emotional, functional, networking, etc.). How can you leverage unbreakable relationships? Why are some relationships broken or weak? What can you do about it?
- It’s OK to accept that some relationships will be weak or broken forever. But don’t give up on those that do matter without trying first.
When you gain clarity, everything feels easier.
This exercise is powerful. Be honest with yourself. Having a clear assessment of your relationships provides clarity and will move you into action.