Brainzooming – All Posts | The Brainzooming Group - Part 321 – page 321
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There’s a Peanuts cartoon I wrote about recently showing Snoopy sitting silently with Charlie Brown, a checker board between them, and Charlie wondering what Snoopy’s next move will be. He suspects Snoopy has a fancy strategy planned given how quiet and tricky he is; the more Charlie thinks about it, the more he wonders what Snoopy is thinking. In the last panel, Snoopy is silently trying to recall whether he’s playing red or black checkers!

I’ve used the cartoon many times because like Snoopy, I often think quietly, even if I’m actually “thinking” about something much more basic than people expect. That’s just one advantage of thinking quietly. If you don’t usually do it, you may want to consider using it more to your advantage because thinking quietly:

  • Can provide mystery and cover – Quiet time allows you to potentially mask when you don’t understand something or don’t have a good idea to contribute right at that moment. Quiet thinking can also create a sense of mystery, as in the Peanuts cartoon. Particularly in an adversarial situation, causing the other person to think about what you’re thinking (thereby losing focus on their own thoughts) can provide some advantage.
  • Creates a learning opportunity – I hardly ever learn while I’m talking, but there’s a lot to learn when others are sharing their perspectives. Shutting your mouth and listening is a great way to go to school on what others are thinking and expressing.
  • Is great if you don’t want to influence others’ opinions unnecessarily – One of my mentors uses a relatively unconventional approach – in a team meeting, he always expresses his views last. The most junior person on the team always comments first so that they can respond without influence from statements by their boss or other senior team members. People express their perspectives in order of increasing seniority until the most senior person speaks.
  • Allows you to build off of others’ ideas – Relative to the previous item about commenting in reverse order of seniority, it’s a great advantage to be thinking as you hear the perspectives that others are expressing. Having been one of the most senior people, I usually get to go next to last. There’s a tremendous advantage to be had in being able to listen to and vet your own thinking based on what others are thinking. Even if you’re not in a position to adopt this approach, gain the advantages by letting others get a word in before you do.
So what do you think? And don’t worry people who don’t think quietly; future posts will extol the virtues of thinking in other ways too.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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When you need to tap your creativity for a new look at an old project, try this 3-step creative quickie approach with a goal of generating 33 new ideas from each creative thinking exercise step.

A Creative Thinking Exercise with “3 Steps and Pick”

Step 1 – Think Connections: Ask, “What’s this project like?” Generalize the project, select an analogous situation, and then apply attributes, lessons, and possibilities from the analogous situation to your project.

Step 2 – Think Random: Select random words, phrases, and images from a magazine and ask, “What does this word, phrase, or image suggest about possibilities for my project?” Stuck for a good magazine to use? Try “Real Simple” or any other big, picture-rich magazine outside your field.

Step 3 – Think Again: Go back through your 66 current ideas and start pairing them up to generate 33 more possibilities.

Pick: With the 99 ideas you now have, there should at least 10 to 15 possibilities that you can select and directly apply to your old project to enliven it!

How’s that for a creative quickie to get a lot of ideas and then do something with them! – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at             816-509-5320      to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Following up Tuesday’s article, I appeared Friday, June 20 on the “Eye on Small Business” radio program with Kelly Scanlon (KCTE Hot Talk 1510 AM). It’s an hour show, providing an opportunity to talk with Kelly, publisher of “Kansas City Small Business Monthly,” about ways to foster a more innovative approach in business and life. You can listen to the entire program by clicking on this link to her Talkshoe.com site.

We covered many topics during the show including those below:

Since there won’t be an article on July 4, here’s tip: If you have the opportunity, watch fireworks from the tallest building that you can. We typically watch from the 9th floor at work because we can see fireworks displays from all over Kansas City in one location! Hotels with restaurants at the top are another great option as well.

Be safe and check back July 7 for a “Creative Quickie,” the new every Monday feature to get your week started creatively.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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There is always the potential for a business, a project, or even a personal situation to run into difficulties. In the business world, a frequent answer when something goes wrong is to call in a turnaround CEO to fix it. Using well-tested techniques, their goal is to quickly diagnose underlying problems, correct them, and return the business to solid performance.

This week, consider delegating a broken situation you have to a turnaround CEO and let them take a run at fixing it. Try to generate three new turnaround ideas for each item below as a turnaround CEO would:

  • Identify the most critical problems
  • Bring in unbiased consultants to help fix things
  • Make fact-based decisions
  • Look for smart & simple steps to take right away
  • Bring in their own people to run the company
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Cut costs in a dramatic fashion
  • Uncover hidden problems in the business
  • Secure needed resources
  • Write off bad operations

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – 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.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Before and after the recent National Association of Women Business Owners session on DIY Strategic Thinking, I had the great opportunity to appear on radio programs on Kansas City’s KCTE Hot Talk 1510 AM. Strategic Thinking and Hot Talk – what a combination! Since both programs are available for listening online, you can be the judge.

In late May, I appeared with good friend Jay Liebenguth on his Thursday afternoon show, Live with Jay. Jay has been a great supporter, and beyond putting the radio show online, he wrote an incredibly kind post on his blog.

We covered a variety of strategic thinking topics, many of which have been highlighted here. Take a listen to the show, and for your quick reference, here are links to topics we covered.

After the NAWBO program, I met Kelly Scanlon, publisher of “Kansas City Small Business Monthly,” appearing on her June 20 Friday morning program. This Thursday there will be a link to that show and the innovation topics we covered.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Thanks to everyone responding with website comments. Based on your ideas and my objectives for it, look for:

  • “Creative Quickies” – brief creativity starters – running Mondays and “Brainzooms” appearing several times monthly as strategic thinking prompts. Shifting toward creativity-oriented material reflects my focus as  I work on a “Creative Instigation” book.
  • The “Change Your Character” exercise to stop appearing Wednesdays. Following this week’s exercise and next week’s summary, it will run once or twice monthly.
  • Shorter articles.
  • Guest authors and more variety in communicating content (including first-version looks with original sticky notes, cartoons, and concept sketches).
  • Experimenting with brief surveys and other ways to solicit your participation.
  • More personal perspectives where it makes sense.

Taking advantage of other ideas depends on your active participation:

  • Some suggested topics are outside my areas of expertise or personal passion. Consider this an open invitation to you to create guest articles for the website on these related areas. One suggestion was doing more on strategic games & puzzles, especially related to chess. I’ll follow up with Seth Chapin (who’s been posting great comments on Brainzooming) about some possibilities!
  • If you have blogs or other links you find interesting, please send them. Leslie Adams has been great at suggesting intriguing sites. Look for your ideas to appear in future “Surf’s Up” pieces.

 

 

  • If it’s convenient, sign up for an email of each day’s article (upper left on the page). Provided through Feedburner, you get a daily email, generally by 6:30 am central time. It’s a great way to forward articles to others who might find them of value.

 

 

  • Whether via email or other means, please suggest the website to others and link to it on sites you visit. This can help build the richness of the discussion for the benefit of you and other readers. Thanks to Amy Hoppenrath for suggesting the blog in answer to a LinkedIn question!

 

After all that, you’re probably still wondering – who won the book? I decided to give away two, with Seth Chapin and Bob Kizer winning “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide.” Congratulations!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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The title is from a leadership presentation that I do. It’s how I’ve tried to live my life in business, organizations, and relationships. I’d never specifically articulated what “understanding the political fray” means though until a good friend said recently that she’s just not politically savvy. Here are eight general principles I shared with her for being attuned to an organization’s political environment.

  • Understand the organization’s long-term needs. Use your strengths to best address those needs and create results.
  • Know “what” drives the business – which revenue streams and cost centers really matter.
  • Translate that into “who” drives the business. Then figure out where you stand now relative to the “what’s” and the “who’s,” and where you want to stand relative to both in the future.
  • Figure out the organization’s tolerance for variation from the norm in the areas (important and unfortunately, trivial) on which people judge people. Know what the expectation is for fitting a certain type and make very conscious decisions about where you’ll play along (i.e., “fit”), and where you’ll make your stand for being different.
  • Consistently and unequivocally deliver value. Do it for lots of people at all levels of the company – above you, with peers, and at lower levels of the organization.
  • Make sure you’re seen as someone people can talk to and confide in reliably. Ask open ended questions, listen, provide a little bit of sound counsel, and keep confidences. You’ll help others and learn a lot.
  • Always know who you can trust. Challenging issues and situations are great tests of this. The people who support you and / or have your back during the intense times are the people that you should go out of your way to invest in generously.
  • Don’t stop thinking, and don’t say everything you think.
  • Cultivate as many personal options as possible, and know how realistically they can come to fruition.

This list has helped me. Please take the opportunity to share what’s worked for you.

Today’s Get ‘Er Written Approach A non-starter that was rescued. The original approach was too specific. I needed time to come back and generalize it for the blog.

Thanks for coming along on “Get ‘Er Written” week.

Ideally you’ve gotten some ideas in these posts for how to rescue the scraps of paper and incomplete electronic files that may still hold the seeds of creative or strategic value for you. Don’t be reluctant to twist, turn, and gut them in the interest of revealing lessons that could be very relevant for your current situation in business or personal life!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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