0

A client raised a question the other day in a Brainzooming strategic thinking workshop about what you can do when you are waiting on someone busy AND important to provide input on an initiative so you can continue making progress.

That is a question I have had to consider and address frequently.

9 Strategic Ideas to Keep Moving without Important Input

I didn’t have time to share all nine of these strategic ideas to keep moving without important input, but I think I’ve used all of them multiple times to try and work around someone else’s slow response when an important timeline needed to keep moving!

  1. Try to get the decision-making authority or latitude to know what things you can advance without going back for input.
  2. Continue advancing the initiative with an eye toward developing several attractive options your input person can review and select.
  3. Reach out to someone that knows your input person well and can provide reliable feedback on how the individual might respond.
  4. Let them know you are using a “you only have until a CERTAIN DATE to provide input or we’re moving ahead” review standard.
  5. Simplify or eliminate other steps in the development process to allow the current schedule to accommodate a longer review and input time.
  6. Keep going on the initiative, making only “safe” choices, i.e., ones that you are sure your input person will approve.
  7. Prioritize work you can easily change if late input derails the direction you have taken.
  8. Prioritize work that does not preclude you from pursuing other viable options your input person might request.
  9. Focus on work that is familiar or adapt something that has already received approval – as long as you understand why the earlier work was approved and can make smart decisions about the new work.

Try one or more of these nine options, and keep pressing for timely input – as best you can! – Mike Brown

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your organization’s success!

Continue Reading

1

Interestingly, the most challenging situation for Brainzooming strategic thinking workshop success is when it includes TOO MANY individuals viewing themselves as creative.

Yes, you read that right.

Having TOO MANY strong creative perspectives can tank the actionable results coming from a strategic thinking workshop more than having too few creative individuals.

Whenever you have too many “creatives” in the room, it can devolve into each one trying to outshine the others in extreme creativity.

Talking with someone about the most difficult Brainzooming strategic thinking workshop EVER inspired the blurb below. That particular session was filled with about 85% HUGE creative egos. We eventually had to put them in their own creative alliances and work in very small teams (or as individuals) so each one could articulate his or her own creative vision.

By the end, we made progress, but not nearly as much progress as we are accustomed to making.

Servant-Leader-Collaborate

That’s why we like a great balance of people, perspectives, and voices in a strategic thinking workshop. That’s why we like servant leaders that figure out ways to work collaboratively, productively, AND creatively with other members of the team.

So get creative individually. Get creative in a group. And remember that when you are working creatively with a group, be sure to make creative room for others! – Mike Brown

 

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

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Extreme 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.

Download Your Free

Continue Reading

0

Internal executive videos are funny things.

Well, actually, they are rarely funny things. More frequently, internal executive videos are boring things. Or odd things. Or cringe-worthy things.

Internal-Video

A friend working at a university sends me links occasionally for internal videos featuring a university leader trying for a “rah-rah, pick them up, congratulate and challenge them, but leave them feeling good about themselves” videos. They are heavily scripted (but trying to act as if they aren’t) and delivered in a syrupy, grating style that defines the standard for cringe worthy employee videos.

As I told my friend, it’s as if these videos are employee morale snuff films.

That’s not the way to advance an internal branding strategy.

Alternatively, talking to a nonprofit executive, the issue with her organization’s internal executive videos is execs SAY they want to create videos where they are approachable and relaxed. They then, however, re-watch, re-think, and reject the edited videos because they seem too casual. The question was what to do to get the leadership team comfortable with actually being casual and approachable on camera.

1 Way to Stop Horrible Executive Videos

My suggestion for these videos to have an impact on their internal branding strategy?

Start recording the executives all the time with phones instead of exclusively using video crews and shooting only planned videos. Tell them you are just getting the video to reference for blog posts or press releases with no intention of releasing it. Then, capture them explaining strategy at employee meetings. Video them talking with employees. Ask them simple, direct questions before or after big meetings. Shoot informal moments when they are interacting and relaxed.

The objective is to get them comfortable being on camera when they don’t think it’s going to matter. Then when it’s no longer a big deal for them to be on camera, you can then start introducing these video moments where they are truly relaxed and approachable.

How you break the news to them that you really ARE going to use the videos you said you weren’t going to use?

Well, that’s up to you to figure out! – Mike Brown

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

 

DInternal-Brand-Strategy-eBoownload Your Free Internal Branding Strategy eBook!

Are you looking for new, more effective ways to engage your employees in shaping and successfully carrying out your brand strategy? You need to download this FREE Brainzooming eBook, published with the Global Strategic Management Institute. You’ll learn three effective strategies to engage employees as an internal brand team.

Download Your FREE eBook! 3 Actionable Strategies for Engaging Your Internal Brand Team

 

Continue Reading

0

Looking for Extreme Creativity?

Are you REALLY looking for extreme creativity?

Extreme-Creativity-City

Do you have a few minutes to spare?

Then you have to look at this video, “History of Rock.”

As it bills itself on Vimeo, History of Rock features “348 rockstars, 84 guitarists, 64 songs, (and) 44 drummers” all in “1 mashup.”

Much thanks to Emma Alvarez Gibson for pointing this out to me on Facebook Sunday evening.

Yeah, it’s Monday, and you’re busy. But take a few minutes and start watching this video (and be sure to watch it on full screen to see all the cross-references and shout outs across musical styles). If you’ve been a fan of rock music at anytime in the past fifty years, you’ll be hooked.

History of Rock from Ithaca Audio on Vimeo.

Close the door, or put on the headphones, and settle back for extreme creativity in a unique rock music mashup style! – Mike Brown

 

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

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Extreme 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.

Download Your Free

Continue Reading

0

What a strong first day at the Brand Strategy Conference in New York. There were lots of great ideas and very little free time!

The kickoff presentation on the first day was from Kodi Foster, Vice President – Data Strategy at Viacom. Kodi’s presentation focused on fusing creativity and data innovation to drive brand growth.  His discussion on the need to integrate science and art was on the money.

Five Things Your Content Marketing Strategy Should Deliver

While Kodi Foster presented lots of great ideas, that whole very little free time necessitates focusing on one item: this photo which details five things Kodi says audiences expect a brand’s online content marketing strategy to deliver for them.

  1. Education – Delivers systematic instructions or provides an enlightening experience
  2. Information – Delivers facts or knowledge about something or someone
  3. Inspiration – Stimulates the audience to do or feel something
  4. Entertainment – Provides amusement or enjoyment
  5. Utility – Provides a useful or beneficial function or capability

Content-Marketing-Strategy

His five-points form a strong checklist with which to assess your content marketing strategy. How many of these areas does your content touch? And what are you doing to tackle content that doesn’t address ANY of these five areas? – Mike Brown

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

 

DInternal-Brand-Strategy-eBoownload Your Free Internal Branding Strategy eBook!

Are you looking for new, more effective ways to engage your employees in shaping and successfully carrying out your brand strategy? You need to download this FREE Brainzooming eBook, published with the Global Strategic Management Institute. You’ll learn three effective strategies to engage employees as an internal brand team.

Download Your FREE eBook! 3 Actionable Strategies for Engaging Your Internal Brand Team

Continue Reading

0

I am in New York today delivering a Brainzooming branding strategy workshop on Engaging Your Internal Brand Team. The event is the Brand Strategy Conference. Our content addresses collaborative ways to strategically engage employees in creating and delivering the best brand experience.

Empire-State-Building2

The branding strategy workshop came about from talking to too many executives that think it’s okay to let employees in on branding changes at the same time (or even after) customers learn about them.

THAT is a horrific idea for delivering a great brand experience.

We will introduce a new Brainzooming Fake Book soon that includes the exercises we will cover in the branding strategy workshop.

Branding Strategy – Engaging an Internal Brand Team

Here are links to fourteen articles integrated within the workshop.

Identifying Opportunities for Employee Input on Branding Strategy

Collaborating with Employees to Enhance the Brand Experience

Supporting a High-Performing Internal Brand Team

Inviting Employees into Branding Strategy Conversations

Mike Brown

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

 

DInternal-Brand-Strategy-eBoownload Your Free Internal Branding Strategy eBook!

Are you looking for new, more effective ways to engage your employees in shaping and successfully carrying out your brand strategy? You need to download this FREE Brainzooming eBook, published with the Global Strategic Management Institute. You’ll learn three effective strategies to engage employees as an internal brand team.

Download Your FREE eBook! 3 Actionable Strategies for Engaging Your Internal Brand Team

 

Continue Reading

0

In my corporate days, I was dispatched to work with competitive companies our corporation purchased. The objective was to help them become better strategic thinkers and marketers.

The ground rule was, however, I couldn’t tell them WHAT to do. Since all the companies competed with one another, each one needed to determine its own business strategies.

When I tell people this story, they chuckle. It seems ridiculous to help a company become better at strategic thinking and marketing without being allowed to tell them how to do it.

While this constraint may seem (and actually be) ridiculous, it shaped how the Brainzooming method developed.

Strategic Thinking Exercises – 3 Responses to New Ideas

Idea-bulb-grid

In planning how we would help these companies, we realized there were three possibilities whenever we asked people to answer a question inside our strategic thinking exercises:

  1. The answer could show their strategic thinking was in the right direction.
  2. The answer could suggest their strategic thinking wasn’t effective in this situation.
  3. The answer could be a complete surprise we hadn’t anticipated.

Each of the three options suggested a potential response from us:

  1. With on-target ideas, we’d cheer them on and encourage more like it.
  2. With off-target ideas, we would say, “That’s great,” and suggest other strategic thinking exercises to re-orient them toward a better direction.
  3. If the unexpected idea was on target, we’d consider it a pleasant surprise. If it was off-target, we’d suggest alternative strategic thinking exercises to try.

What this suggests for you is that when working with a team, you don’t necessarily have to be ready to respond by saying ideas and concepts are good or bad.

You can, however, vary your reaction based on whether you perceive an idea to be good or bad. And if it’s bad, use other strategic thinking exercises to gently bring the ideas back to something smarter and more productive.   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