CMAPS is an operational Framework for Change Management from a strategic perspective. It can be deployed for both personal and team planning to overcome stuck-ness and launch transformative action. It employs the metaphor of change as a journey and focuses on achieving potential through a forward-focus, while maintaining an honest but positive outlook on current and past realities.
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Change Is Nature
Two laws govern life on Planet Earth: First, change is essential to survival. Second, things rarely change unless they have to. This means the tooth-and-claw battle to survive - fought by all creatures great and small - is the central engine of biological health, growth, and success.
Humans rule the globe because we adapt so well. It is our mastery of change that has spread our civilization worldwide and made us largely resistant to the perils of the natural world. We do this by creating culture, technology, and information in the context of collaboration. In other words, we think and redesign the world by working together. We are at our best when we put our heads together, and this has made us masters of the first Law of Life: everything must change.
Although our species is uniquely talented when it comes to the first Law, we struggle quite a bit with the second: nothing changes unless it has to. We are not satisfied with changing just because we have to. We want to change because we want to. To that end, we spend huge amounts of time, energy and money attempting to intentionally change, often with mixed results.
CMAPS: A Structure for Change
CMAPS is a framework for self-directed intentional change for individuals and groups. Drawing from broad historical lessons, ancient sources of wisdom, and modern social science, the CMAPS process offers human "best practices" for transformation and success in almost any enterprise or endeavor.
We discovered that people who regularly and intentionally change share the following characteristics:
- They see the obstacles and opportunities -- the situations that indicate a need for change -- as neither inherently good nor bad, but always as opportunities for positive forward motion. They are powered by positive realism: while they clearly see what's going on (realism), they maintain a sense of hope for a better outcome (positive).
- While they are skilled at thinking about challenges in a variety of ways or modes, they operate and act in a state of high-level or visionary thinking. Most people who are regularly successful at change have the ability to monitor, identify, and alter the quality of their thought concerning their challenge.
- Frequent changers usually have a better-than-average ability to identify and track assets to meet their challenge. Whether these assets are psychological, social, physical, or material, they employ strong skills in "connective creativity," linking the assets at hand together in unique and unconventional ways for new outcomes.
- The best changers develop strong plans that play to their assets, but remain flexible to take into account new and emerging assets that can be connected into the mission to meet their challenge. In other words, they navigate by connecting the dots between their strengths, resources, and relationships.
- People who are successful at change use simple and elegant disciplines to support practical step-by-steps actions. These disciplines are organically-derived from their strengths and story, and are support by a network of meaningful relationships.
Observing these "common ingredients" for change led us to develop the CMAPS framework. When we say "framework" we mean a flexible structure for crafting story and language and organizing tools and resources. As such, CMAPS is always growing in application and contextualization, but remains a common reference point for sharing insights and experience.
CMAPS is an acronym that stands for the basic steps the the sequence of self-directed change:
C - Challenge Identification
Identify your challenge. This could be an obstacle or an opportunity -- any situation, positive or negative, that calls for growth and change. Once you've identified your challenge, rate it in relation to your priorities and explore the realities leading to this crossroads.
M - Map Your Mind
How you think about your challenge is more important than what or why you think about it. Where your challenge lives in your mind will determine the creative energy, emotion, and resources you can employ to move forward. Awareness of the type of thinking you've been doing is essential, and monitoring your type of thoughts will lay a foundation for new ideas. Elevating your thinking is the answer to seeing a break through and maintaining proper direction as you begin to move.
A - Asset Inventory
In most cases, there are considerable assets at hand to meet your challenge. The secret is seeing them and how they relate to each other. What resources do you have in terms of power, people, principles, processes, and practicals that you can leverage for a new outcome? How can the available assets be used to fill in "asset gaps" that remain in the way?
P - Plan with Purpose
Find the way ahead by connecting assets by sequence, task, and relationship. Create a well developed but flexible map of next steps taking into account details and dependencies. Draw in collaborators and partners for the journey and add their strengths to the asset pool and plan.
S - Support Strategic Action
Employ simple and elegant support practices based on the passion, strengths, and story of you and your team. Line up practical and professional help where needed and execute step-by-step actions with regular progress checking and adjustments.
CMAPS encodes this framework into a shared narrative using the "Change as a Journey" metaphor. By entering the story of life on the move, a common language describing change is established and participants can access rich resources from personal, historical, mythical, and spiritual tales movement, migration, exploration, and adventure. Speaking of change in this way allows participants to use natural language and experience while maintaining continuity between tools and events in the process.
Resources, Tools, and Toolsets
- CMAPS Downloadables: A variety of documents and resources for CMAPS are available in our Download area.