3

AgreeX3My friend Tony Vannicola used to remark when everybody at a meeting was piling on to say the same thing, “Sounds like we’re all in violent agreement.”

I always loved that phrase.

Over time, I realized how much project management time gets wasted with people rehashing topics where they are truly in violent agreement.

When time is limited, and you need to get things done, however, you don’t want to waste time on areas of violent agreement. You want to focus your project management efforts instead on areas of violent DISAGREEMENT.

7 Project Management Techniques to Spend Less Time Agreeing

Try these seven project management techniques to get to disagreements faster so you can turn them into agreements, or at least see if there are solid reasons to disagree.

  • Use online surveys to understand a group’s sentiment before or during a project
  • Have individual conversations with group members about their initial perspectives
  • Ask team members to write down their personal perspectives then collectively plot them on a matrix or scale to isolate disagreement areas
  • Run through a checklist of potential issues to see if there are any you can dismiss with no further discussion
  • Set a time limit on conversations in a meeting and only extend the time if there are conflicting points of view
  • Keep a running list of previously agreed to decisions posted so you don’t unnecessarily revisit them
  • Use multiple small groups and try to keep the “agreement talkers” bunch together

All these project management techniques work.

Quickly pick those you agree with and try them with a project team where you want to efficiently focus on where you disagree. – Mike Brown

 

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

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.

Continue Reading

5

Fake-Book-BoundDuring a recent “Creating Strategic Impact” workshop, I had the attendees (who were all from one company) form smaller groups to identify potential disruptive competitive threats in their technology industry.

Talking in advance with the client organization’s president, he said his people might struggle with this strategic thinking exercise since they hadn’t previously addressed competitive threats this way.

The One Strategic Truth You Must Never Forget

One group had a participant who quickly completed the first part of the strategic thinking exercise, listing three clear customer benefits his company delivered.

But then instead of identifying companies who might offer any one of those benefits individually, he put a big, bold imaginary circle around those three customer benefits. This quickly dead-ended the strategic thinking exercise as he claimed NO competitor could come to the market with all those benefits. As a result, he reaffirmed his belief that his company had few, if any, disruptive competitive threats.

The other participants in his small group perceived the flaw and tried to help him see the error in his perspective. I too tried to redirect him, pointing out that truly disruptive competitive threats targeting his company weren’t  going to show up nice bows around all three benefits his company delivered.

In fact, very real disruptive competitive threats might appear offering only ONE of those benefits, with little concern for the other two. This new disruptive force would win business with a different approach, different strategies, and different perceptions about what is important to my client’s customers.

Because it was a workshop format, there was no opportunity to spend any more time with this individual to see if he was finally persuaded about competitive threats or not. But whether he was or wasn’t, I suspect many of us, even though we know better, fall into the same trap.

Disruptive Competitive Threats

Let’s state it again so we can all be clear: the disruptive force in your industry isn’t going to show up looking like your brand and offering the same complete set of benefits.

The disruptive force may have only a vague resemblance to your brand and what you do, and win business because it sees the rules of competition and success very differently than your brand does.

That’s why so many companies who TRY reinventing themselves and staying successful fail. They have WAY TOO MUCH invested in every part of their status quo (and likely antiquated) views of the world. Unwilling to blow themselves up because they have too big a stake in what has existed for a long time and persists to today, some other brand with an insightful view of tomorrow is more than happy to do the work for them.

Think about it this way: No matter how much you might hope it might be different, you can’t have archaic and eat it too. 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!

 

                                                                                     Affiliate Links

Continue Reading

2

Do you ever need to explore and describe a new product idea?

Opposite-ExpectationsIf so, here’s a productive twist on a new product ideation strategic thinking exercise we used just this past week that you can use too.

Having limited time with a current client who is exploring a new product idea within a joint venture, we had to cover both the basics of the product definition and some more extreme ideas all at one time.

The answer was to combo up a strategic thinking exercise focused on new product idea basics with another one using extreme creativity questions.

New Product Idea Basics and Extremes in 30 Minutes

This is a worksheet adaptation of the strategic thinking poster we used to create a big head start on new product idea possibilities in less than 30 minutes. We first asked all the basic new product ideation questions followed by the extreme questions. Each question received about 3 to 4 minutes of attention before moving on to the next one.

Brainzooming-New-Prod

Strategic Thinking Exercise with Extreme Creativity

Within the few questions in this strategic thinking exercise, we covered a lot of territory. Additionally, incorporating the extreme creativity questions with the new product ideation basics introduced an intriguing dimension for even an already creative group.

Once we started asking the extreme creativity questions, it was as if the group went, “Oh, you want us to go THAT far. Okay, I’ll go there!” Those questions definitely brought out distinctly different and bolder ideas than the basic questions generated.

Go ahead and have a go with this strategic thinking exercise worksheet, and be sure to let us know how it expands your new product ideas. – Mike Brown

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

Brainzooming-Before-After

 For More Information |  Phone: 816-509-5320  |  Email: info@brainzooming.com

Continue Reading

0

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

 

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

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

 

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

3

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

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

 

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.

Continue Reading

1

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

Continue Reading