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Successful people are in action!

And unsuccessful people? They are inaction.

You can download your own Brainzooming personal success strategies mini-poster (from this link or clicking the mini-poster) to let people know you’re a successful person in action!

Successful-People

Personal Success Strategies for Successful People in Action

Beyond the mini-poster, here are forty-nine smart ideas for making sure you are a successful person in action!

These articles should give you a jump start on creating strategic impact this week! Mike Brown

 

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Some Dilbert comic strips are hilarious because they are so accurate. Other Dilbert comic strips are sad and pathetic because you suspect they are too accurate.

This Dilbert comic strip is in the latter category.

If this is how things go at your workplace in the way management tries to surface new ideas and judge whether new ideas are great ideas, you have my sympathies. And if this IS like where you work, the seething resentment created by doing all of that in such a ham handed way will seem way too familiar.

Trying to Come Up with New Ideas in a Bad Place

Dilbert.com

4 Ways Better than Dilbert to Come Up with New Ideas

stickman-drawingIf nothing else, this Dilbert comic provides an opportunity to highlight potential remedies in case any of these behaviors DO seem too much like your work place.

And since I don’t want to leave you in a creatively bad place, here’s a fun feature to lighten everything up – go draw a stickmanMike Brown

 

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Random inputs can fuel creative thinking and produce a variety of new ideas.

Brainzooming Makes More and Faster Strategic ConnectionsI’m a bigger fan, however, of using strategic connections to trigger new ideas.  

Suppose you are looking for innovative ideas, approaches, and strategies to address your current situation. Beyond random creative thinking, there is tremendous creative thinking power from generalizing your situation in such a way that you can identify comparable situations connected to yours in fundamental, strategic ways. 

Armed with these strategic connections, rich possibilities for creative thinking can begin through identifying new ideas from the strategic connection that can apply (perhaps with modifications) to your situation.

Ideas for Finding Strategic Connections

How can you efficiently and effectively go about finding as many strategic connections as possible you can use?

Try working through these twelve creative thinking triggers. They will help generalize your current situation, prompt creative thinking, and suggest fruitful strategic connections.

Simply use the question format below. Insert each creative thinking prompt into the first blank. Then brainstorm as many possible ideas to complete the second blank as possible.

My situation _______________ like _______________ ?

  • Acts
  • Sounds
  • Thinks
  • Looks
  • Turns into something
  • Behaves
  • Creates an impact
  • Serves customers
  • Feels
  • Moves
  • Communicates things
  • Is trying to accomplish something

On your first pass, don’t worry about HOW closely each potential strategic connection fits your situation. After you’ve generated a healthy list of potential strategic connections, you can refine and narrow the list to those that have the best possibilities for stimulating further strategic thinking.

What creative thinking triggers do you use?

This list was my first shot at identifying the creative thinking triggers I seem to use most often.

What other creative thinking triggers can you come up with to expand this list and lead to more robust strategic connections? – Mike Brown

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The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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We don”t necessarily have a lot of traditions around here.

Angel-prayingBut if there is one, it’s sharing our creativity prayer annually on Ash Wednesday as the the Lenten season starts. During Lent, Christians are called to increase their time devoted to prayer, reflection, and sacrifice as a way to detach from the demanding distractions of daily life. 

Perhaps more so than in recent years, I’m struggling with my own calls to prayer, fasting, and alms giving for this Lenten season. I’ve been praying about it for a couple of weeks and still haven’t “heard” exactly what I’m being called to do.

Maybe that’s the lesson – some Lents begin with very clear definition; others are true journeys to find where God is trying to lead you. Perhaps this is because of changes I’ve undergone personally in the last year. Some have given me more confidence and peace, while others have left me tremendously unsettled.

In any event, my hope remains, as always, that sharing this creativity prayer will provide creative inspiration for you and prompt you to seek new inspiration for your creative efforts in the coming weeks and year!

A Creativity Prayer

Lord,

Thank you for creation itself and the incredible gifts and talents you so generously entrust to me. May I appreciate and develop these talents, always recognizing that they come from you and remain yours.

Guide me in using them for the benefit of everyone that I touch, so that they may be more aware of your creative presence and develop the creativity entrusted to them for the good of others.

Help me also to use your talents to bring a creative spark and new possibilities to your world, living out my call to be an integral part of your creative force. Amen.

Copyright 2008, Mike Brown

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A Buzzfeed article shared by Emma Alvarez Gibson listed things every person with an unusual name understands. I suggested a response for people with common names.

Talking with the woman who is always on the elliptical trainer behind me at the gym prompted me to turn the article idea into reality.

She introduced herself with just her very distinctive first name. Her name was so unusual I wrote it pictogram style on my exercise sheet to remember it. Googling it later, it turns out to be a Biblical name I’d never previously heard, and she’s likely the only person in the country with her exact name.

Contrast that with “Michael / Mike Brown.” Some estimates suggest there may be 30,000 men in the United States with some version of my name.

11 Things Only People with Common Names Will Understand

Mike-and-Friends2

For those of with common names, here are 11 things only we will understand (minus the Buzzfeed GIFs):

1. You will never get your exact name on a social network

There is always someone with your name who beat you to signing up on the latest social network. My one personal exception is Twitter. I’m @MikeBrown on Twitter which leads to the next point.

2. Someone famous who is an embarrassment shares your name

Someone famous will have your name and that person will be a screw up. I have multiples, from national calamities to sports. A guy tweeted me to complain how stupid I was as the Cincinnati Bengals owner. I tweeted back he had the wrong Mike Brown. He replied, “I looked at your profile, and you don’t look like you know anything about football, either.”

3. Googling your name generates tons of hits, almost none of which are you

With a common name, Googling your name means finding yourself on page 107 of the Google results, preceded by 106 pages of articles about famous screw-ups with your name.

4. You must have a descriptor to separate you from the screw ups

You always have to use some other word or phrase to identify yourself. Mike Brown with the big nose. Mike Brown with the dented car. Mike Brown with the cute cat. Mike Brown with all that orange. Part of coming up with “Brainzooming” was it was a distinct and better descriptor. Now, many people have no clue what my actual name is.

5. It sucks when YOUR common name sounds like another common name

I’ve been called Mark throughout my life, even by people who know me. A guy I’ve known for ten years called me Mark in the grocery store recently. Even with “Brainzooming” linked to my name, at least the mix-up has changed. People think my name must really be “Brian,” since no one is named “Brain.” I actually now receive emails addressed to Brian.

6. It’s impossible for people you want to find you to find you

I’ve never been able to say, “Look me up in the phone book” even when people looked in phone books. Back then, there was another Mike and Cyndi Brown living 20 blocks from us on the SAME STREET! These days, you can’t tell someone to find you through Googling, as we’ve already established.

7. It pays to keep your address and phone number the same

With a common name, keeping the same contact information is vital to hearing again from old friends and acquaintances. We’ve had the same address and phone number for years. I’ve had the same cell phone number since the late 1990s. I still maintain my first AOL email address from the mid-1990s that some people still use.

8. Work in a big company long enough, and it will seem EVERYONE has your name

At one point in my corporate life, EVERY guy seemed to be a Mike, including my boss, a guy that worked for me, the president of one subsidiary, and the COO of another subsidiary, to name a few. Cross-company strategic planning meetings were a bit of a cluster to say the least.

9. You will never be able to go by one name

In contrast to the one-named woman on the elliptical trainer, Madonna, or LeBron, people with common names can’t ever go by one name when even a first and last name won’t set you apart. That’s when you hope for other options.

10. It helps having a middle name that stands out – unless people mock it

My middle name is my dad’s first name. In grade school, a kid whose father worked for my dad introduced that fact to my classmates. From then on, kids would call me by my dad’s name to irritate me. Then in my corporate job, my boss casually asked me my middle name at a senior management meeting before our national sales conference. I answered, our company president thought it was hilarious, and for the entire meeting, he jokingly referred to me from the stage by my dad’s name. That went on for several years. Yes, some corporate execs never mature beyond grade school.

11. You can maybe spice things up if you sound foreign

There was a guy in high school named Carlos Moreno. In Spanish I class, I discovered the English version of his name was Charlie Brown. CHARLIE BROWN! Carlos Moreno sounds so much better more exotic. Maybe going by Miguel Moreno would help me, but no one would call me that with a straight face, including me.

What about it common name people?

Do those sound familiar? And what else would you add if you too have a common name? Mike Brown

 

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Reflections on Life Last Week

reflectionsLast week’s blog traffic suggests it was a busy week for everyone . . . I admitted something to my Bible group last week that I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone. It was THAT kind of evening . . . One sign of maturity is having something go completely differently than you expected, but completely working out, and being completely okay with that.

My college nickname was probably well earned, as much as I hate to admit it. And no, if you don’t already know what the nickname was, I’m not sharing it here . . . Some people must go half way around the world to SEE what’s right in front of them at home. Face it: Exotic sells . . . There are so many celebrities heading to the Kansas City area in the next two weeks, and I know I won’t get to go see any of them.

Some lessons I learned SO long ago that I simply figure everyone has learned them by now. I’m pretty much always wrong on that lesson though, which is ironic, don’t you think?

Recapping Sports and Business

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is supposedly the definition of insanity. Expecting to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of traditional strategic planning . . . Why, oh why, do I put off what’s good for me in the interests of things that don’t really help in any appreciable way . . . I shuffle more things than a card dealer. That’s a proven fact . . . Step away from the food. Yeah, I’m talking to you (and by “you,” I mean “me). STEP AWAY from the FOOD.

How tired are you of minor celebrities who spill the intimate personal details of their lives to gain attention and then whine because they don’t want to be defined exclusively by the intimate personal details of their lives? Yeah, I’m talking to you (among others), mid-round NFL draftee offensive lineman from Missouri who didn’t look so great in the NFL combine . . . Sure there’s a common thread. Why wouldn’t there be a common thread?

I received a Big Bang introductory email from a new brand. And by “Big Bang,” I mean the brand decided it needed to include every copy point and potential message it’s contemplated since its inception into one email. And in case you can’t guess, Big Bang Email = Small Whimper Response . . . Pithy is as pithy does. Same with stupidity, and disdain . . . “Guess and go” CAN be a business strategy when you don’t have anything else prepared . . . We might not have a monarchy in the US, but we sure do LOVE a sports dynasty, don’t we “Junior Nation”?

With a Few More Life Reflections

Not every boundary line is the same. Some are bright and bold. Others are fuzzy. Still others seem pretty wide with lots of room to maneuver. If you think number three is what your line seems like, you may want to blink a couple of times and see if the line looks that wide after a second look . . . Two hour naps in the evening may be one of the most underrated things on the planet . . . You have to be interested in helping yourself get better. If not, how can you expect someone else to instill that interest for you in themselves?

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Picking up on the competitor strategy theme from the start of the week, I combed the Brainzooming archives to share a variety of competitor strategy ideas we have covered.

82 Competitor Strategy Ideas to Improve Your Competitive Success

Competitive-GorillaHere is a handy summary of 82 competitor strategy tools, questions, and ideas you can use to hone your competitive success now and in the future:

Going on the Attack for Competitive Success

Playing Defense with Your Competitor Strategy

There should be at least a few ideas you can start applying right away to go after that 400 pound competitor gorilla in the room and improve your brand’s competitive success! – Mike Brown

 

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The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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