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WritingWhen you write, how do you write best?

If you’re writing when you are by yourself, it can be great. You might be more productive and experience stronger creative thinking with fewer distractions, no drop-in interruptions, and extended opportunities to focus.

This is non-friction writing, and these types of writing situations CAN BE incredibly productive.

The challenge of non-friction writing for me, however, is the friction of interacting with others creates problems, issues, opportunities, and challenges that all beg for resolution.

In the resolution of these situations you develop new learning, creative thinking, and the impetus to write.

That’s why I’m definitely a friction writer when it comes to generating new ideas and creative thinking.

But then maybe I’m a non-friction writer when I can get away and just write, with the memories of friction inspiring my creativity.

Which do you prefer?

Friction or non-friction writing? -  Mike Brown

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imageAre you interested in pursuing a corporate career? Are you in the midst of a corporate career already? Or maybe you are wondering how in the hell you get out of a corporate career and land on your feet?

Corporate Career Success – 35 Articles for Arriving, Thriving, and Surviving

If you find yourself in one of those situations, here are thirty-five articles from the Brainzooming blog archives to help you in arriving, thriving, and surviving for corporate career success.

Launching Your Corporate Career

Developing Your Skills for Corporate Career Success

Sustaining Corporate Career Success

Dealing with Mid-Career Stagnation

Troubleshooting Yourself

Troubleshooting Your Career Situation

Mike Brown

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Audio-recorderUnless something has happened to prevent it, I have audio recorded every presentation I have given since 2005.

That date coincides with starting to more aggressively search out presentation opportunities and build my repertoire of content. The overall objective was to gain as much speaking experience as possible before leaving corporate life.

7 Reasons to Record Every Presentation

You may ask why you should record every presentation you give.

Here seven reasons why you should record presentations:

  1. The recording will allow you to hear your presentation in a relatively similar fashion to how the audience members heard it. This gives you a much stronger sense of the experience for the audience.
  2. Being able to review the audience reactions to the content provides a better sense of what worked and didn’t work throughout the presentation.
  3. You can revisit specific content where audience members sought clarification or more information, providing opportunities to deepen or refine your content in future presentations.
  4. You can confirm audience questions and your answers so you are able to more easily develop them into online content.
  5. You can edit the audio into small segments to share through a podcast.
  6. You will be able to detect the bad speech patterns you use (i.e., ummms, slang, mispronouncing words) so you can begin to work on eliminating them.
  7. Before the next time you give the same presentation, you can listen to previous versions to refresh yourself on the content and all the things you say that aren’t on the slides.

That’s really just a start to the list.

Another benefit for me is that the recordings capture unplanned stories I drop into presentations based on the interaction with the audience. Being able to listen to the presentations later helps turn those stories into more permanent fixtures in the content.

If you’ve been recording your presentations, what other advantages do you find? And if you haven’t been recording your presentations, what else will it take to get you to start doing it? Mike Brown

 

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There are many incredible authors writing compelling books on improving career success.

Yet instead of immediately running from one book and point of view to another, ask yourself this basic question:

Before trying to learn and adopt someone else’s personal success story, what more can I do to understand my own personal success story?

imageAs so often happens, this message came together over the course of a day from multiple directions. The common theme with each piece of the message was the importance of knowing what creates success for you before rushing to adopt an external view of success.

It’s a lot easier for many people to look for answers by bouncing from one author’s 5 tips for success to another’s 5 lessons of success. 

It’s vital, however, to know what success means for YOU. And right after that, it’s important to have a solid handle on how you improve your own likelihood of success by finding, adapting, and/or creating the work and personal situations to  support achieving personal success.

5 Questions to Revisit Your Personal Success Story

You simply have to KNOW what will lead to improving your career success.

If you struggle with this, work through these five questions to help you get a handle on this:

  1. In the instances where I’ve enjoyed the best career success previously, what were the situations, themes, types of people, relationships, opportunities, and challenges involved?
  2. How did the characteristics I just identified work together to pave the way for success?
  3. In situations where I have not enjoyed success, what things got in the way of creating success?
  4. In those same situations, what things weren’t in place that appear necessary, in retrospect, to support my career success?
  5. From the exploration in these questions, what’s my short list of personal critical success factors?

We actively use the concept of critical success factors with clients to ensure we’re improving the likelihood of organizational success. You can and should use the concept personally as well.

Think about critical success factors in two ways:

  1. What needs to be in place to maximize the likelihood of success?
  2. What things need to be avoided, prevented, or eliminated because their presence will minimize the likelihood of success?

See what I mean about your inability to READ your way to critical success factors?

Your knowledge of them comes from reflection and exploration of your past and deliberate experimentation in your future.

Improving Career Success

So put down the popular author’s personal success story, and spend some conscious and quiet time if you haven’t already, to revisit and learn from your own personal success story.

Ultimately, it’s the only one you’ll earn a grade for in this crazy thing we call life. - Mike Brown

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Clementine-AsleepIf you tend to be an overachiever when it comes to delivering on expectations, maybe that’s not the best idea in the world for improving career success.

Sure, there are some areas where it’s pretty important to over-deliver. But if you do it uniformly with little regard to the situation, it could be time to consciously deliver less and invest your newly available time, effort, and energy in other places.

By the way, the first paragraph has been me for much of my career.

Increasingly, however, I see the need to differentiate where and how I over-deliver.

7 Questions for Doing Less than Before

Here are some questions I’m using to identify opportunities to begin doing less than before:

  • Is something really important to me, but I’m the only one who thinks it is?
  • Will anyone notice the impact of delivering less?
  • Will there be obvious unused leftovers if I over-deliver?
  • If something is finished, will adding to it only make it seem less finished?
  • Have the standards of everyone that matters already been surpassed?
  • Is it true that more effort won’t result in more beneficial results?
  • Will spending more time on something that has a little room for improvement create disproportionately negative impacts on something else that has MORE room for improvement?

Improving Career Success

I will readily admit these questions are more easily asked than answered. In turn, they’re more easily answered than the answers implemented.

But these questions ARE a start to better connecting productive effort and results in the hope of strengthening the results we can all deliver and improving career success.  - Mike Brown

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Creating-a-Strategic-ImpactWith any new initiative in an organization, it’s not enough to simply do the strategic planning on how to shape and implement it if you really care about creating strategic impact.

Even before launching strategic planning with a new initiative, you should start figuring out how the new initiative will be successfully sold and implemented.

Doing this involves many of the same steps as the actual strategic planning, and it’s incredibly beneficial to do it upfront. The approach you develop should influence how the initiative is developed (and who participates in the subsequent strategic planning) to maximize opportunities for success.

12 Strategic Planning Questions Before You Start

Before you launch strategic planning, here are twelve questions to ask and answer in three key areas:

  1. Issues to help or challenge the initiative
  2. Decision making
  3. The implementation process

1. Issues to Help or Challenge the Initiative

Identify broader issues in the company that might impact a new initiative’s success:

  • What are the issues that could help or hinder implementation?
  • How likely is each issue to be a factor?
  • How do we address these issues to enhance the enabling ones and mitigate the challenging issues?

2. Decision Making

Identify who will decide on recommendations about the new initiative as it is implemented:

  • Who are the decision makers and who influences them?
  • What is important to them?
  • What motivates them?
  • Do they support the effort conceptually?
  • How do they process information and make decisions?

3. The Implementation Process

Identify who will likely have to participate in implementation

  • What motivates those who will be involved in implementation?
  • What reluctance will those involved in implementation have relative to implementation?
  • What challenges will they have (skill sets, capabilities, resources, etc.) with implementation?
  • Do these individuals like to shape things, do things, or both?

Creating Strategic Impact Before Strategic Planning Starts

If you can get a handle on the answers to these twelve questions, not only will you be better prepared for strategic planning, but your path to new initiative implementation has a much better chance of creating strategic impact. – Mike Brown

 

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Clemmie-BoxI’m frequently asked how it was possible to stay, survive, and achieve career success for so long in one corporation.

The easy answer is I was “built” to thrive in an organization based on background, education, and temperament.

But that’s a pretty vague answer.

9 Ways to Get 9 Lives in a Corporate Career

When it comes to improving career success, here are my 9 ways to get 9 lives in a corporate career.

  1. Stand for something that means something and grow from it, but don’t waiver in it.
  2. Make sure what you stand for is relevant to what’s going on right now and will be relevant in the future as well.
  3. Know what your toolbox of skills is and keep adding to it all the time – with both your own development and surrounding yourself with others who complement your talents.
  4. Make sure you are low maintenance and represent minimal overhead so it’s clear there’s more value to be freed up by letting you do more things than getting rid of you.
  5. Build beneficial relationships with many people.
  6. Become recognized as a corporate historian, remembering what’s been done, what’s worked and hasn’t and why, where ALL the bodies are buried, and who was responsible for putting the bodies where they were buried.
  7. Deliver objectively unmistakable value that transcends opinion.
  8. Invest time to imagine what the future is going to look like and how you’ll need to adapt to fit into it.
  9. Always know where a door is and what situations will make you want or need to use it.

Those are nine career success principles I tried to follow then, and still do now to the extent they make sense in a smaller, more entrepreneurial environment.

What about your ideas for improving career success?

If you’ve been in the corporate world for some time, what are your keys to getting your full nine corporate career lives?

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