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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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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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Eight years ago today, I published an article about personal leadership, asking the question, “What would you do with an extra day?”

Well, here we are again, with an extra day for Leap Day.

The inspiration for the original post was losing someone in our department, Lori Schade, to another company. I predicted at the time that it would not be the last time we worked together. That proved to be true; since that time, we have collaborated on two American Marketing Association national market research conferences several years ago and a creative workshop a few months ago.

Last Friday was my day for losses this Leap Year. Several business relationships transitioned, and we discovered one of our key software resources might be going away as we look for a replacement.

The question in the original still holds: What would you do with an extra day?

Extra-Day

Today is Leap Day, an extra day on the calendar. Use it well, because there are no guarantees on how long our important relationships will last, whether they’re in our business or personal lives. So take advantage of every opportunity daily to grow the people around you and to learn from them in turn.

Ask yourself several questions. Are you giving enough of yourself to these important people? Can you see your positive influence on them? Have you helped prepare them to pass on to others the lessons you’ve shared? Do these people know how much they mean to you? Are you ready to let them go?

To judge whether you are doing this successfully or not, try this. Imagine one of your most important relationships is ending, but you get one extra day with that person. Would you do anything differently on that special day? If the answer is yes, you have some more giving to do.

And as sad as it is to lose someone you enjoy working with, it’s among the most gratifying things in business to see some of the very special, talented people I have work with go on to be so successful in their careers. They all make me so proud to have learned from them and to have been a part of their professional growth!

Here’s to those extra days – make them count! – Mike Brown

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As you think about your career strategy, how do you see yourself?

Are you bigger than your job, or is your job bigger than you are?

job-bigger-than-you

I had not really considered this career strategy question until the end-of-season speculation about which NFL coaches would be fired immediately after the regular football season’s final weekend. The discussions seemed sad, as if NFL coaches at poor-performing teams could do nothing but sit around and wait to be ushered out the door. In those situations, it seemed clear these coaches’ jobs were bigger than they are.

Tom Coughlin was one striking contrast among departing NFL coaches.

In his final press conference as coach of the New York Giants, Tom Coughlin demonstrated what it looks like when someone is bigger than the job. Coughlin “resigned” after fifteen years with the New York Giants, twelve of them as head coach. He led the team to two Super Bowl wins, and was on the coaching staff for another one.

Rather than playing back what Tom Coughlin had to say, you can read the transcript of his remarks.

I would encourage you, however, to watch the press conference video.

You will get a sense of someone who, while obviously devoting himself to his job, his organization, and his players, definitely realizes his job is not bigger than he is. – Mike Brown

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Is it a good or bad career strategy if you do not have a job description?

And if you have to write one, what are good ideas for creating your own job description?

We tackled both questions recently in working with a nonprofit executive charged with crafting one for a newly expanded role.

Quite honestly, my initial career strategy advice was to avoid a formal job description for as long as possible. My preference was always to get a general understanding of what my boss wanted, but to avoid spelling out all the specifics. If I would have had strictly stated job descriptions, I am not sure I could have morphed my corporate job to be able to lay the groundwork for what became the Brainzooming methodology.

3 Career Strategy Questions for Creating Your Own Job Description

Since this executive was expected to devise a job description, we created a straightforward career strategy-oriented exercise to start. We suggested answering the following three questions:

  • What are ten things you WANT to accomplish in this new position?
  • What are ten things you NEED / HAVE TO accomplish in this new position?
  • What are ten VERBS you want to have associated with your impact in the organization?

Short of starting by developing a personal core purpose or branding statement, we suggested these three career strategy questions to balance aspirational activities and the “what has to get done” stuff that will not be as exciting. The verb question is to identify viable action words (other than “develop”) to incorporate into the job description.

After recording with these thirty ideas, we suggested picking the top three from each list to provide a starting point.

We will incorporate the input into a trial balloon job description that carves out a bigger role while stopping short of wrapping “world domination” into the job description.

We’re Throwing Orange Paint on the Wall

Throwing-Paint-Job-Description

As we often mention, this one is from the Brainzooming Strategic Thinking Lab. We will report the results as the job description comes together. – Mike Brown

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I have been having Facebook conversations with a friend for several weeks about God’s voice in providing strategic direction – whether personally or for a career. Amid those conversations and sharing a message I had received in prayer one morning that was for HER specifically, I happened upon an idea:

God reaches us through those that reach us.

The point is while we might be looking for flashes of lightning and thunder to accompany a divine message, God is going to try to reach us through the people around us that we interact with, share our challenges and hopes with, and listen to most earnestly. Because THOSE interactions can seem so common, however, it is easy to miss when a divine message appears wrapped in everyday conversation.

The other day, our Facebook conversation turned to a song that showed up a couple of times for her recently. One instance was related to a time of personal challenge where she has been seeking answers; the other was when she was acting on the divine message I had passed along to her. Within our conversation, these seemingly unconnected instances revealed a potentially profound relevance to one another. That part of the conversation led to scribbling out a few sentence on a notebook as I was hitting the road to go home for a pre-Christmas visit.

Prettied up and edited a bit, it is conveyed in the graphic here.

151216-God-Reaches-Us

This may surprise some of you, but as the years go by, I have become increasingly devoted to trying to pray more and listen to divine messages offering strategic direction. Sometimes the messages are big; most times, however, they are simple, direct, nudges taking me in a different direction or confirming what I have been contemplating.

And if you are part of a Brainzooming workshop or presentation, you can be pretty assured I have prayed not only for your openness to new thinking, but that I can humbly serve you with any and all talents I have been blessed with to help you. If things are more challenging or difficult than expected during a workshop or presentation, you can bet I am praying for both of us during a break to mutually find the way to make progress.

As we enter the holiday season, I am going to try to blog less and focus more on looking ahead to the future of Brainzooming and what we need to do to grow and improve what we do for clients and readers. That will take prayer time to create more opportunities to listen and look for divine messages and strategic direction. It is also going to take some time away from the day-to-day stuff.

I want to take this opportunity then to say Happy Holidays to all of you, and thank you for reading what we have to share on a daily basis. Our motivation is to help you daily, and we will do everything we can to fulfill on the promise even better in 2016 than we did in 2015.

God bless!

Mike Brown

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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. Email 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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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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I had a Twitter question from Charles Westscott about creativity and how to make money from your passion.

Money-Creativity

 

We haven’t tackled that topic previously, so the first creative thinking move was sketching out a matrix comparing the degree someone is able to express a personal creative version versus how much they are getting paid for it. From there, the creative thinking question involved the moves someone can make to move toward the upper right (using more of your creative passion for more pay).

5 Ideas for How to Make Money from Your Passion and Creativity

Here are five potential moves this creative thinking matrix suggests to get paid for your passion based on where you are starting out creatively.

Paid-For-Passion2

Move A – You’re using lots of your creative vision, but not getting paid much

This is the typical starving artist position, with someone pursuing a creative passion without significant economic returns. This strategy focuses on marketing and distribution. You have a creative product or service, but the market isn’t rewarding the work. Explore the typical marketing issues:

  • The product isn’t matching audience preferences and needs changing or more time to find an audience
  • There is low awareness requiring a push for attention
  • The pricing is out of whack compared to the perceived value in the market
  • The product is not reaching the right audience members when they are ready to buy

That covers the 4 Ps of marketing at a high level. They are a good place to start exploring.

Move B – Applying your creative passion in a different type of career

This move is for creative people rooted in pragmatism. You may not be able to get paid what you want from following your creative pursuit along. You apply your creative passion in another career that is more or less related to your creative aspirations. Think about the writer hoping to write a novel that takes a full-time writing and marketing job at a company. It’s not writing novels, but it’s getting paid to do something related to what you love. You may just love it more when you get to do it outside work hours.

Move C – Getting a paying job unrelated to your creative passion

This may feel like a sell-out move, but it’s a familiar strategy. Actors working in restaurants. Singers temping at office jobs because of the flexibility to go to auditions. Keeping your creative perspective is dependent on working two plans at once: the less creative plan that pays you now and the creative plan you hope grows into a more robust paying gig. This move can be coupled with move D.

Move D – Building a financial cushion and to take a run at pursuing your creative passion

If you’re getting paid but not getting fulfilled creatively, consider streamlining your living situation and stashing away as much cash as you can. Then take a bigger run at pursuing your creative passion, even if it’s going to take time to get paid what you want for doing it. My neighbor is an interesting example of this. She’s a nurse, but really loves gardening. She retired from nursing ten years ago to work in a garden center. After a few years, bills started piling up, and she did a reverse of Move D. After rebuilding her financial situation, she retired from nursing again to return to the garden center.

Move E – Making your creative passion a loss leader in a plan for greater success

Maybe you need to make a big play to put your creative product in front of the right people, even if it’s at a loss, to pave the way for getting paid later. This is the premise behind individuals doing content marketing. They share what they love doing for little or no dollars to build an audience. The related step is cashing-in on the newly built audience through finding a way to charge for the creativity you love expressing.

Beyond those five ideas for how to make money from your passion, what other ones have you tried?

Mike Brown

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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. Email 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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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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Today’s Blogapalooza article from a student in Max Utsler’s Innovation in Management of Communications class at The University of Kansas comes via Allison Dollar. Allison is a Local Business Account Executive at The Kansas City Star Media Company. Her article for today on personal leadership lays out 10 keys to hustle . . . every day.

Personal Leadership – 10 Keys to Hustle . . . Every Day by Allison Dollar

Allison-DollarIn the words of Mos Def, “Focused. I’m a hustler. And my hustle is trying to figure out the best ways to do what I like without having to do much else.”

Well-said Mos Def. Well said.

A hustler is defined by Merriam Webster as, “An enterprising person determined to succeed; go getter.”

Are you a hustler?

You don’t have to be in sales to be one but you do have to commit to the following ten steps if you want to be successful. While I consider myself a hustler in constant training these are 10 keys to hustle, every day. You have to practice them daily, get better at them, and enjoy.

  1. Love your Hustle

Whatever it is, love it. And I mean with all of your heart. If you don’t enjoy what you spend most of your life doing then it’s a waste of time; time is the one thing we can’t get more of so…again I say, Love your hustle.

  1. Listen

Most people like to talk sometimes, no, most of the time, and they talk too much. Listen more, and speak less, I promise you will hear something that will lead to a business lead, idea or relevant knowledge. If you find yourself in a situation where listening is difficult, leave. It’s not worth your time. This brings me to my next point.

  1. If it’s dead, leave it on the ground and walk away

This could refer to anything, a client that will never be happy and who takes too much time, a peer who complains all the time about the same old things, or my favorite, a manager who has no idea what he/she is doing or saying the majority of the time. If you run into any of these situations leave them immediately and do not look back, it’s not worth it.

  1. Swagger

Confidence is a non-negotiable for any professional hustler, you better be able to own whatever it is you need to own. The presentation you just gave to high-level decision makers, the smart-ass comment you dealt to a high performance peer or the stare down you delivered in the boardroom full of talented professionals just like yourself trying to get ahead. Whatever you do, get and keep your swagger. Without it, you are just like every other professional “insert your title of choice here” working day in and day out. Your swagger is just that Your Swagger. It is as unique as you are, use it to your advantage.

  1. Learn Something

Learn something every day. It’s as easy as that. Each day approach it so you learn something new, no one can ever take your knowledge away from you. Believe in your abilities and reward yourself with the knowledge it takes to come out on top every day.

  1. Be the Expert

Ensure that whatever it is you know just as much if not more than the senior level manager/sales representative/vice president or whoever it is in the room. Be able to speak in a healthy fashion no matter what the topic. Set yourself apart by showing you have taken the time to educate yourself on the topic at hand.

  1. No Fear

Period. Fear paralyzes you and has no room in the mind of a true hustler. If you have it, do not show it. Get a plan together on how you can keep it to yourself then toss it away after your mind has processed the situation. Fear is a private thing that everyone experiences but a hustler never shows.

  1. Love yourself

No one can love you like you. Sounds weird but it’s true. No one knows you better than you. Give yourself the time to process demanding information; strategize your next move or whatever it is you need. Also take care of yourself, even a proper hustler needs to eat right, exercise, and get some sleep. Know when to shut it down and take care of you.

  1. Never ask Permission

A hustler just gets it done. Don’t ask permission, ask forgiveness. Like I said, a hustler gets it done, and anyone who knows a hustler realizes this from the moment they are introduced.

  1. Network

A hustler knows everyone. The new business owner around the corner, the new employee on the second floor and even the new CEO hired to work for the competition. You can’t be successful being a recluse. It just doesn’t happen. Know your people.

Think you got what it takes to hustle? Use your cane if you need to, but get your hustle on or at least get it started. – Allison Dollar

 

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