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A Wall Street Journal article on how the Buffalo Bills are changing their typical practice routine caught my eye. The headline included the phrase “No Wasted Time.”

Not wasting time is near and dear to my heart. Not wasting time is a major part of why a Brainzooming strategy workshop is so focused on effective time management. We’re continually trying to be as productive as possible, generating business strategies in as little time as possible.

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6 Ways an NFL Practice Is Most Productive

The motivation for the Buffalo Bills changing the practice routine is a response to new NFL restrictions (only one practice allowed per day and only fourteen practices with pads during the season) and the short attention spans and need for ongoing engagement among today’s younger players.

The moves the Buffalo Bills are making and the associated reasons and benefits match closely to how The Brainzooming Group designs a strategy workshop. The Bills are:

  1. Splitting the team into two groups – Players are active all the time, with no waiting around for the next thing to happen.
  2. Making deliberate decisions about group composition and activities – Players are getting used to working with a specific group and are always engaged to stay focused.
  3. Increasing the range of plays in their repertoire – Getting more done at the same time allows them to implement and see the impact of new plays without extra time.
  4. Letting players’ mistakes and errors go uncorrected during practice – Not correcting mistakes builds an environment with less stress and creates opportunities for players to go all-out and risk making a mistake.
  5. Analyzing and addressing mistakes AFTER practice – With the various ways to capture what happens on the field and review it later, corrections and adjustments are more efficiently handled afterward.
  6. Creating more free time for players – The net of all the changes means the team is getting more done in less time, creating free time for studying playbooks or getting rest.

All those moves make sense and easily translate into a strategy workshop design.

6 Ways a Strategy Workshop Is Most Productive

Here’s how we incorporate these principles for Brainzooming. We:

  1. Use small groups to allow participants to be more active
  2. Manage group composition to structure groups that will work together productively
  3. Look at opportunities and challenges from multiple perspectives in shorter bursts of time to generate more diverse thinking
  4. Have clear times for coming up with new ideas, protecting divergent thinking from extensive explanations or analysis
  5. Move most of the evaluation and organization of ideas until later when it doesn’t waste time for the overall group
  6. Create an experience that uses as little group time as possible to maximize productivity for the organization

If you want to improve the productivity of a strategy workshop within your organization, we recommend using these six steps as a great way to start.

Or, you can call The Brainzooming Group. We’ll design the strategy workshop and make the whole thing happen for you so you can engage from beginning to end.  – Mike Brown

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We’ve written a tremendous amount about change and change management strategy since the Brainzooming blog’s inception.

Just HOW MUCH have we written on change management strategy?

Well, to identify the articles listed here, a search for “change” on the blog yielded eighty-six PAGES of articles. I reviewed all eighty-six pages to develop our change management strategy primer.

35 Articles on Change Management Strategy in a Change Agent Role

If you’re trying to determine, implement, or refine a change management strategy, especially in an organization resistant to change, these articles will take you through diagnostics, strategy planning, and implementation approaches to carry out your change agent role.

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Determining the Issues and Options for a Change Management Strategy

Confronting Individuals’ Change Challenges

Planning a Strategy in the Change Agent Role

Dealing with Change Management Strategy Barriers

Creating Change with Less Leadership and Information than You’d Like

 

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Looking for Ways to Develop a Successful
Innovation Strategy to Grow Your Business?
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Download this FREE eBook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s comeback!





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Suppose you’re going into a meeting and taking over leadership of a team or initiative where those you will be leading have been involved and active previously.

Or maybe you have been thrust into a job assignment that’s new territory for you.

Or perhaps you are filling in for someone else with extensive expertise, and you, unfortunately, don’t have the same background on the topic or the time you would like to have to prepare.

The question in each of these cases is how you use your leadership skills so you can “fake it until you make it?”

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8 Ways to Fake It Until You Make It

If you need to go into the meeting or new situation and move things forward with less knowledge and experience than you prefer, here are ways you can fake it until you make it. You can employ your leadership skills to:

  1. Do some homework upfront and focus on information sources you don’t suspect others involved with the initiative have been looking to for information.
  2. Solicit each participant’s ideas in advance. Aggregate and organize the ideas before the meeting to identify new, overarching insights unknown to the group.
  3. Develop a basic agenda for the meeting with the participants doing most of the talking, as you listen and summarize ideas.
  4. Jot down your initial ideas on the direction you think the meeting / initiative should go and introduce them at an opportune time.
  5. Reuse steps you have used previously in another successful initiative you led that faced comparable opportunities and issues.
  6. Ask the participants to help in catching you up on the most important issues they have been discussing previously.
  7. Have participants share what they would want to know if they were in your shoes.
  8. Return any questions you receive with questions in return, asking for clarification or soliciting the group’s ideas on a particular topic.

Frequently, when I write a story along the lines of how to fake it until you make it some folks will say you should never fake it.

That’s certainly one point of view, but not one I share when it comes to using your leadership skills in the best way possible.

If you are a leader, you need to lead – even when you are thrown into an unfamiliar situation. When faced with that type of challenge, it’s smart and professional to be able to take what you’ve been handed and make the best of it to move things forward.

So, have you ever faked your way to a successful start? What worked for you?  – Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

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Leaders are looking for powerful ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

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If you had the opportunity to spend an entire week dedicated to getting smarter, what would your professional growth plan be?

Thinking about that question relative to improving and growing my talents, capabilities, and knowledge prompted this list of eleven professional growth plan possibilities for a week dedicated to getting smarter. The idea would be to do JUST ONE of these activities for an entire week to boost your professional growth.

11 Ideas for a Dedicated Professional Growth Plan

How might I spend a dedicated week getting smarter?

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The whole week’s professional growth plan could be dedicated to:

  1. Participating in days full of multiple webinars as a way to create a personal virtual conference program
  2. Reading books, trying to get through as many books focused on professional growth as possible (Okay maybe I would just SKIM books)
  3. Interviewing smart business people around the world for future blog posts
  4. Immersing myself in one application, especially to get back up to speed on video production
  5. Learning (via videos and articles) and implementing (via prioritizing and DOING THEM) all the things we need to implement for the website
  6. Visiting both new (to me) and favorite museums around the city and regional area
  7. Taking professional mini-courses and seminars each day at a community college
  8. Attending a lunch seminar every day, with the added benefit of getting away from the office and talking with a variety of new people
  9. Reading all the unread magazines in the office and writing a two-sentence learning recap from each of them
  10. Scheduling each day full of in-person meetings with smart, intriguing people around the city (and interviewing them for future blog posts)
  11. Reading every eBook I can download (or that I have already downloaded and never read) and doing the two-sentence learning recap for each of them

There are other ideas that could be part of a professional growth plan, but these make the top of the list for ones I could see working well with my learning style.

The BIG question is, however, why don’t I pick one idea and one dedicated week (or heck, even one dedicated DAY), and just get on with getting smarter?

How about you? Are you ready to dive in deep for a week of dedicated learning? – Mike Brown

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Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Marianne-Carr-PhotoListening. It is one of the best ways to get creative.

But listening seems to elude most of us during the day. We are busy talking, formulating thoughts, reading emails, and other activities such as looking at stuff, and tasting, smelling and touching. So why increase listening? And how? Here are some Creative Clicks that may help.

Remember to click on the headlines for these creative clicks to link to the articles. Enjoy! – Marianne Carr

What if Medium were a Podcast?

“There is one big problem on Medium for me: So many great articles posted every day, but so little time to read them all. I listen to a lot of podcasts, shows or talks in the background while I work or when I walk to the office, and I think it could be awesome to do the same thing with my saved Medium articleslisten to them as audio instead of reading them as text.”

I have become Podcast Crazy lately. It reminds me of something maybe you youngins don’t know too much about – RADIO!  I think this idea about listening to Medium Articles is just great. Listening is a gift we can use when doing something else. Of course, having the written word to go back to for quick reference is a real asset. Did you know you can read faster than you can listen? I like the way this can combine the advantages of both.

Magical Effects of Music

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“Effects of music include improving verbal IQ, aiding in heart disease treatment, evoking colours in the mind and even helping you see happy faces all around. Every fan knows the tremendous effects of music and the power it can have over both thoughts and emotions.”

Do I really need to add anything?

Messy mind? Clean it up with a tip about Listening

Five Ways to Declutter Your Body and Mind – “When I am particularly overwhelmed by negative thought clutter, and it seems as though the ruminations won’t end, I like to recite a poem. I literally recite my favorite poem (which I committed to knowing by memory for this very purpose), which happens to be Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver. I become so engaged in reciting the poem, mindful of both the rhythm and meaning of the words, that I let go of all other thoughts. My brain can’t both recite a poem and ruminate at once! You don’t have to use a poem…you can use a favorite song, monologue, etc.”

Listening to poetry is a great idea to take a break. Reciting it out loud, or in your head is the perfect way to combine speaking/thinking with listening to refresh. What’s your favorite poem? One of mine is “The Road Less Traveled” by Robert Frost. After reading this tip, I am going to memorize it so I can listen to it when I need it.

Listening to an advisor, but be sure it’s a good one.

Why Every CEO Should Have at Least One Trusted Advisor – “Having a trusted advisor eliminates the risks associated with working in isolation or at warp speed. To accept the advice of your advisor, however, you must have a sense of humility. You must accept that you could be wrong, you might require course correction or you might even have to start all over again.”

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Sometimes listening to others, really listening, can save your soul. Or job. What works about this article is it outlines the kind of advisor to seek out. My Mother often has advice for my professional life, but is it worth listening to?

Listening to the Wisdom of the Ages

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“Get inspiration from the best in (this) SlideShare. The collection of 50 motivational quotes on what good leadership truly means will not only help you be a better leader, but a better coworker, mentor, manager, employee, and even a better person.”

Why re-invent the wheel? Those that don’t study history, are destined to repeat it. Etcetera, Etcetera.

Managing the Noise of Social Media: Infographic

“Chances are you spend a pretty substantial amount of your life on social media. Be sure that you are getting the most out of your experience.”

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It’s not a Creative Clicks without an Infographic. This one has helpful hints for managing your listening to and interacting with the top Social Media sites. Including muting on Twitter, a.k.a. not listening anymore.

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

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Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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When I’m asked what Brainzooming does, it’s always challenging to answer.

The Long Answer – Strategy, Creativity, and Innovation

The reason is that working from the incredible resource of strategic thinking exercises, creative thinking tools, and collaborative models The Brainzooming Group has created, what Brainzooming does can vary dramatically for each client engagement.

Given the client’s needs, we might look like strategists, community engagement specialists, innovation facilitators, creative thinking trainers, content creators, professional coaches, inspiring speakers, content marketing planners, or something entirely different.

That’s why it’s tough to give a short answer to the question.

Brainzooming-Group

A Short Answer

When asked how he tracks down fly balls hit miles from him, steals bases, forces defensive errors, goes for extra bases, hits inside the park home runs, and tags up to score on fly balls that would keep almost every runner glued to third base, Kansas City Royals Outfielder Jarrod Dyson’s answer is, “That’s what speed do.”

Putting the Two Together – That’s What Brainzooming Do

Since Jarrod Dyson can condense all the ways he uses speed into a few words, here’s a combination of a short and slightly longer answer about what Brainzooming does, with thanks to Jarrod for the inspiration!

What-Does-Brainzooming-Do

The Brainzooming Group would LOVE to do these things for your organization!

Strategy, creativity, innovation, or some combination – or something slightly different.  Which one or which combination is what your organization needs?

Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call at 816-509-5320, and let’s work together. You’ll find out first-hand, that’s what Brainzooming do! – Mike Brown



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A solid social media strategy can do many things for your brand’s results.

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At the same time, there are many things social media won’t do for a brand.

Social media WON’T:

  • Deliver business results if you can’t articulate a business objective you expect it to support
  • Fix a brand problem – in fact it will call attention to a brand problem
  • Make your brand suddenly intriguing to its audiences
  • Stop talking negatively about your brand if you decide to retreat and not participate in the conversations
  • Let you get away with the same poor customer treatment your brand could get away with twenty years ago
  • Give you more points for the quantity of content than it will take away for poor quality content
  • Tell you what content topics to address . . . but it will give you all kinds of hints
  • Make sense if you can’t stop talking about yourself all the time
  • Ever completely ignore the things you hope it will ignore
  • Automatically make the things you want to go viral go viral
  • Change the world as we know it . . . even though it will shake up a lot of things beyond recognition

If your brand is still on the social media strategy sidelines (or is in the game without a strategy), these are all reason it is better to create a solid social media strategy first before just starting and seeing what happens. – Mike Brown

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