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Here’s a brief video produced by SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, where I talk about four easy ways for companies to boost creativity in the workplace without taking a lot of time to do it. The key to efficiently boost creativity in the workplace is through introducing idea-rich questions and statements into daily business conversations.

We shot the video after I delivered our presentation on Taking the NO Out of Innovation at the 2015 SEMA Convention.

This video was one of a series of presenter videos on the SEMABizTips video channel.

Orange-Pickup-Truck

My favorite expression of creativity at SEMA!

4 Tips to Efficiently Boost Creativity in the Workplace

If you want to go deeper on how statements and conversations can help you efficiently boost creativity in the workplace, here are the four supporting Brainzooming articles for the video that you can explore:

Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help  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. Contact 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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The challenge in a client meeting was developing the strategy for a later meeting intended to build support for a biennial community event. The potential supporters in the later meeting were community organizations. The tricky balance was articulating an initial direction the group couldn’t derail while providing room for them to contribute ideas and time to make the event successful.

Listening to the discussion among the team leader and other members of the organization driving the event, I grabbed paper, a Sharpie, and started organizing their aspirational comments into a presentation for the next day’s meeting.

Within forty-five minutes, I drafted a few slides for them to review and modify. At the conclusion, they had a game plan for securing participation and soliciting input while avoiding comments they didn’t want.

The team leader asked, “How is it possible to listen to us talk and turn it into a strategy so quickly?”

9 Creative Thinking Skills to Turn Talk into Strategy

Creative-Thinking-Skills-Ta

The team leader’s question prompted this list of 9 creative thinking skills that help turn strategic conversations (or even conversations that seem like talking without any particular strategic focus) into something that feels like strategy.

  1. Tie the comments to a structure that’s familiar, already sold in, popular with many people, or classically strategic
  2. Listen for smart things people say, even if they are snippets, and incorporate those right away into the strategy
  3. Remind team members of the smart things they said if they start gravitating toward liking things that aren’t as smart
  4. If team members are saying smarter things, use those while still keeping previous smart things that you are nudging down the list
  5. Listen for things they say more frequently than other things and quickly determine whether these things are smart or simply popular but not smart
  6. If something is off the mark, try to ignore, downplay, or otherwise make sure the idea isn’t brought up again
  7. Repeat the most important and high-impact items in familiar and reinforcing ways
  8. Use odd numbers – five slides, five categories of information (one to a slide), three bullets of explanation under each of the five slides – because odd numbers seem as if you tried to get that one more idea
  9. Incorporate a bigness and boldness into the language you use to describe the strategy in order to stretch the organization

Remember that although these creative thinking skills are presented sequentially, they may be used in any order.

There may also be equally important creative thinking skills not included on the list. This is simply a stab at dissecting how these types of exercises have developed in a variety of situations.

The net of it is this: a lot seemingly wasted business conversations can contribute to progress if you have the wherewithal to listen and restructure them into clear strategies.  Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Improve Strategic Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders need high-impact ways to develop employees that can provide input into strategic planning and then turn it into results. This Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons leaders can use to boost collaboration, meaningful strategic conversations, and 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

Download Your FREE Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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When individuals download our free Results!!! mini-Book, we ask a question about the biggest strategy implementation opportunity or challenge the individual is facing in his or her organization. One reason for asking the question is to identify organizational change topics we can address here.

Someone downloaded Results!!! and listed “unfreezing (a) team, moving forward, and preparing for growth” as the strategic task at hand. The clarity and directness of this strategic challenge prompted me to assemble this list of organizational change articles focused on these three areas.

Unfreezing a Team

Unfreezing a team begins with identifying the strategic path from where an organization is to where it needs to go and eliminating roadblocks along the way.

Unfreeze-Team-Opus

Moving Forward

Whatever the hesitancy to innovate has been, unfreezing a team involves identifying and launching the steps (even the small steps) to make progress.

Preparing for Growth

Preparing for growth involves using today’s resources to aggressively build for a bigger and more robust future.

Keys to Organizational Change and Innovation

We’re exploring new ways to package Brainzooming content to address reader and client business opportunities and challenges. Look for more of these types of compilations to help you go to school quickly on business situations you face.  Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Improve Strategic Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders need high-impact ways to develop employees that can provide input into strategic planning and then turn it into results. This Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons leaders can use to boost collaboration, meaningful strategic conversations, and 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

Download Your FREE Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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There are multiple types of people I love, including :

  • Underdogs
  • Those that patiently build success by deliberately following a plan
  • People that display unwavering loyalty
  • A leader willing to a make decision not in his or her own best interests because it’s the right thing to do
  • Those that prize honesty, openness, and vulnerability over gamesmanship, manipulation, and never failing to exploit any advantage

I don’t know how correlated all of those characteristics are with people that have successful strategic relationships.

An article in The Kansas City Star about Dayton Moore, the general manager of the Kansas City Royals, however, suggests all of these characteristics intersect in how Moore has rebuilt the Royals and created a positive organizational culture.

Strategic-Relationships-Day

If I were to attempt to summarize the great lessons about strategic relationships in the article here, I would wind up repeating all the quotes from Dayton Moore and those speaking about how he does business.

So if you want to learn rich, meaningful lessons in the right way to approach strategic relationships, read the article by Vahe Gregorian from Sunday’s Kansas City Star.

For any of our readers that try to cultivate strong strategic relationships and the personal characteristics listed above, it will be well worth your time to leave this article right now and go read up on how Dayton Moore does business. Even if you AREN’T a baseball or Kansas City Royals fan!

Trust me! – Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help  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. Contact 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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I presented a solo social media presentation at the February 2016 Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas. For folks in and around (or willing to head to) Chicago, I’ll be presenting a workshop on creating fantastic content at the April 2016 Social Media Strategies Summit in the Windy City.

SMSS_Graphic

These events are always treasure troves of great learning and networking with such varied and smart marketers from around the country. Coming out of the Las Vegas event, I have several articles in queue.

14 Top Content Marketing Quotes from the Social Media Strategies Summit

Here is the first of the articles from the Social Media Strategies Summit, with fourteen quotes on content marketing, social media platforms, and standing out from the event’s great speakers.

Content Marketing and Community Engagement

“Credibility silences noise.” @BevJack MGM

“We time lapse everything around here because things are always moving.” @BevJack MGM

“Many brands miss the opportunity to create stories around the role they play in their users’ lives.” @mdeziel

“In the end, storytelling comes down to two things: connection and engagement.” – Ryan Mathews as shared by @RMMAGEDDON

“There are B2B opportunities in viral video because so few B2B companies have tried to do it.” @JereMarketer

Being Distinctive with Content Marketing

“A good piece of content shouldn’t need music. The visual scroll should be enough to get people to stop. “ @BevJack MGM

“There is a lot of crap and average people out there on social media. It’s much harder to stand out when everyone can start doing things and claim to be an expert.” @PhilPallen

Making the Most of Social Platforms

“You should be able to perform at a B+ or better level on any platform or kill your time spent on it.” @JereMarketer

“It’s two thousand sixteen; I don’t want to see pixels or eggs (on Twitter).” @PhilPallen

“Pinterest is a catalog of ideas” not a social network. “If Facebook is selling the past & Twitter the present, Pinterest is offering the future” @ChristineCassis @Pinterest

“The Bellagio Fountains are the nineteenth most Instagrammed place in the world.” @BevJack

Bellagio-Fountains

“Rather than be mediocre on 10 social platforms, be a rock star on 3.” @PhilPallen

Let Me Tell You about Myself

“I like to go on tangents. And I f’n like to curse a lot.” @RMMAGEDDON

“I’m opinionated, but I’m honest and I’m sweet.” @PhilPallen

Mike Brown

Solo-Social-Media-Cover2Looking to Improve the Efficiency and Productivity of Your Social Media?  
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I retweeted a Brainzooming article on seven reasons to ask for forgiveness, not permission in launching a new strategy. Tara Rethore, CEO of M. Beacon Enterprises, a strategy development and execution consulting firm, replied that there needed to be a post on the seven best reasons to be forgiven, instead.  It didn’t take long to jump on the offer and suggest that Tara guest write that article for us!

Innovation-Strategy-Tweet

Tara (@TRethore on Twitter), works with organizations and leaders to develop realistic business strategies and to break them down into the key actions that allow them to succeed. She earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and an AB cum laude from Mount Holyoke College. Tara also comments on business strategy, execution, and results in Strategy for real™.

Here are Tara’s seven reasons why leaders should grant forgiveness, not enforce permission when it comes to innovation strategy:

Innovation Strategy – 7 Reasons to Grant Forgiveness, Not Enforce Permission by Tara Rethore

Tara-Rethore-Innovation-StrategyIs it better to ask for forgiveness after (not permission before) launching a new direction or innovation strategy? That question is targeted at employees or staff.

In our strategy work, we’ve found that reframing the question can be a powerful tool for executing strategy.

So, what if you’re the boss?

If you grant forgiveness, what’s in it for you?

7 Reasons to Grant Forgiveness, Not Enforce Permission on Your Innovation Strategy

Here are seven reasons – in order of increasing importance and impact – to grant forgiveness and spur innovation:

7. You are allowing, or perhaps creating, space for insight.

6. It encourages creativity and initiative, critical sparks for innovation.

5. The potential reward surpasses the risk – or the risk is being sufficiently managed to avoid catastrophe.

4. The initiative is bringing people together in a new way and for a common purpose that could benefit the organization.

3. The freedom to experiment – and permission to fail – is a great way to build a “test and learn” culture.

2. The idea or approach is sparking new ideas, or another direction that make even more sense.

And the #1, best reason to grant forgiveness: It’s working!

Innovation often comes from insight, mistakes, or accident. So the next time someone starts without permission, then begs your forgiveness, consider whether she/he also sparked something awesome! – Tara Rethore

 

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

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help  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. Contact 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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Many organizations are in the early stages of executing new strategies for this year.

That is when you discover whether you have a solid, implementable plan or something that (maybe) looks good on paper, but doesn’t work well when you try to execute the strategy.

9 Strategic Thinking Questions for Helping Teams Execute Strategy

Team-Execute-Strategy

When it comes to helping teams execute strategy, we recommend leaders ask themselves these strategic thinking questions before convening the team to launch a new initiative.

  1. Do you personally believe in the strategy?
  2. Is it believable to others?
  3. Were serious, strategic people involved in creating the strategy?
  4. Is the plan realistic – and that doesn’t mean “easy” – just that you can see how it comes together in a reasonable way?
  5. Is the strategy specific and simple enough that people will understand their roles?
  6. Does the implementation team have an opportunity to weigh in and make smart adjustments that improve implementation?
  7. Are there early indicators to signal if something is amiss?
  8. Are there provisions for correcting potential issues?
  9. Is there support for the strategy in the places where it needs support?

Asking yourself these strategic thinking questions upfront gives you a head start to address any issues you can with the strategy you are about to hand over to the team to implement.

So while these questions are about helping teams to execute strategy, they are as much about making sure you’re a strategic leader that is setting up your team and your organization to maximize success.  Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Improve Strategic Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders need high-impact ways to develop employees that can provide input into strategic planning and then turn it into results. This Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons leaders can use to boost collaboration, meaningful strategic conversations, and 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

Download Your FREE Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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

Continue Reading