Ever wondered how some organisations seem to navigate the same situations better than other organisations which seem to have the same resources and opportunities available to them? Leadership is the answer. The thing about leadership is that a leader can only with what they know they have. You cannot make a plan to take over the world with forks when you don’t even know if you have any forks in your drawer. Asset maps are an innovative idea that brings together the assets an organisation has and makes linkages that help the organisation understand how to deploy the assets.

Asset maps

An asset map, contrary to the name is not a cartographical representation though it can be. An asset map is a way for organisations to recognise their skills, resources, gifts, talents, endowments and experiences. The asset goes further than just recognising by creating linkages between these items and helps in formulating plans to take care of them. Asset maps are useful in all types of organisations including governments, corporations, community groups, private organisations and small businesses.

Take stock of resources

The major purpose of the asset map is to take stock of resources. This is easy to do with physical assets where the best practice is to keep a fixed asset register that contains information used to determine their value now and in the future. When the assets are not physical or explicit this becomes more complicated. Of course, traditional accounting does account for intangible assets, quite well. However, assets don’t always fit those traditional definitions, especially in the diverse organisation types. A church or charitable organisation will look at things quite differently from a business. Some assets such as the experience of staff members may not be immediately stated or included as assets but still exist.

Formalises mind asset map

Asset maps are something we already use in our daily lives we just don’t recognise them. The mind asset map is as you would imagine a mental asset map. It’s best to use a practical example like organising a party. Even without writing anything down you already know that Tawanda is a DJ with a PA system, Tatenda is a braai master, Grace has access to meat at abattoir prices, Jabu can get beverages at wholesale prices while others will have different roles they are best suited to. That’s a mental asset map and bringing these people together is putting it into action. In this case, the people, through their knowledge, skills and experience, are the assets.

Think Head, Heart and Hands

When organising an asset map some assets are not explicit. For example, someone with party planning experience in the organisation who was employed in administration may hold this as a hidden talent. This person may be useful when it comes to planning a launch or Christmas party. The best way to identify assets is to use the head, heart and hands framework.

Head (Knowledge)

When we look at the head we are talking about knowledge a member of a group or the group possesses. This may come from formal or informal training but mostly the former. This is usually the easiest to identify because it is explicit knowledge that a person possesses.

Heart (Passion)

When it comes to the heart we are speaking about passion. So we are looking for things that people are passionate about. This is where it gets tricky because getting people to open up about their passions isn’t easy in all environments. However, if they do, you can make use of their passions. I recall working in an organisation where a senior staff member kept the rest of the organisation up to date on the rugby world cup that year. Passions are areas people enjoy working in regardless of skills or experience.

Hands (Experience)

Hands look at experience meaning what people have managed to execute before and execute again. An organisation with someone who has worked in eCommerce or digital marketing as an example is certainly closer to implementing a digital selling strategy if they employ the existing assets they have. Experience isn’t always relevant to the member’s role, it may be completely disconnected and will come from knowing their history.

Put into action

When you put down a list of assets and categorise them into head, heart and hands you have an asset directory. An asset map goes one step further and links the various assets to other assets to create a plan or target opportunities to exploit. Assets maps can work in any organisation type