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To get the most out of mapping, let the stories flow

One big advantage of doing Wardley mapping sessions is retaining knowledge within the organization. This is very different from other consulting approaches, where consultants do the analysis, learn from people (or not), and give you the answer. Then you're supposed to push that answer through change management and make people want to do what they're told. This can sometimes work fully, partially, or most of the time just looks successful on paper (because everyone wants to appear that way).


But the real issue is that a consulting report has too much information. It needs to capture the existing state (which is already impossible since multiple states exist), multiple potential futures, and the reasoning between our current state and desired future.


So I wonder if anyone in either organization truly understands not just the logical before-and-after change, but also how the series of past changes affected reality and why certain things are done certain ways.


Seeing this journey is crucial, if not most important for organizational strategy. Many things make no sense without the historical context. Many ingrained ways are extremely hard to challenge. Few of us are like Elon Musk who can freely break and learn. We have to build solid narratives of our evolution and find the next rational step.


But retaining that level of knowledge requires effort over years - letting people discuss, ensuring shared purpose, and people believing in what they do.

Interestingly, organizations viewing employees as assets with high retention seem to struggle with mapping. They lack the knowledge to make maps.

I simply can't count the insightful stories I've heard during mapping workshops. I'm realizing I love working with long-termers. When conditions allow and others listen, they'll share rich context on why things are certain ways.


And what I'm realizing is that I love working with people who have been with the organization for many years. They know the context of why certain things are done in certain ways. And they will share those stories if conditions are right and if other people are willing to listen.


While analysis matters, strategy involves much more than just logical thinking alone. It's about capturing the rich journey shaping an organization. By allowing storytelling to flourish, mapping unleashes institutional knowledge as a powerful strategic asset bridging the past and future.


To get the most out of mapping, let the stories flow.

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