0

Are you an idea magnet?

Idea magnets come up with great creative ideas. And just as importantly, through encouraging and motivating others, idea magnets attract other innovators and creative leaders with incredible ideas into their circles. Idea magnets make work and life more exciting, fulfilling, and successful!

Idea Magnets – 7 Keys for Creative Leadership Skills

Idea-MagnetsWould you like to boost your creative leadership skills to become a stronger idea magnet?

Then you need to join me for the LeadOn Webcast: “Idea Magnets – 7 Keys to Attracting and Cultivating Creative Business Leaders.”

This exclusive webcast, sponsored by the American Marketing Association on June 23, 2014, springs from a popular Brainzooming article highlighting lessons from idea magnets I’ve worked with during my career.

The webcast features a wide array of new Brainzooming creative leadership skills content not covered in our other innovation and creativity workshops. We’ll talk about:

  • ​Strengthening your creative leadership impact with a diverse team
  • Identifying unique connections to maximize new thinking and creative leadership impact
  • Translating creative thinking into effective change, progress, and results​

I would love to have you join us for this webcast! You’ll learn great techniques you can start using right away, plus “Idea Magnets” represents a first-time collaboration that is creating a new look and tone to our Brainzooming content.

Idea Magnets – A New Collaboration

This exciting new collaboration is with long-time friend Leslie Adams who is creating the visuals for the Idea Magnets webinar.

Leslie-Adams-CrownMany people know Leslie as a writer. Over the past few years though, she’s been showcasing her creativity online with her wonderful photography. She has become very active on Instagram and in the Instagram community in Kansas City.

While reviewing Leslie’s Instagram and Flickr portfolios for images to incorporate in the webcast, I was reminded of a unique aspect to Leslie’s work that integrates two areas of her creative talents: you have to look at her photos AND read the captions she creates for them. It’s easy enough to glide through virtual contact sheets and not notice what’s written about the photos. In Leslie’s case, you’ll want to do both because her words contribute so much to pointing out the subtle details and motivations for her photos!

In fact, many of the captions and quotes Leslie has included with her photos are inspiring ways to expand and add new texture to the webcast’s content.

We’re hoping our collaboration will turn into an eBook to accompany this new Idea Magnets content.

Register Today for “Idea Magnets – 7 Keys to Attracting and Cultivating Creative Business Leaders”

Step one is for you to join us for the Webcast on June 23, 2014. Register today for the webcast, which is open to both members and non-members of the American Marketing Association, on the AMA website.

We’ll see you on June 23 as we attract all kinds of new ideas to develop your creative leadership skills! – Mike Brown

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

 

Idea-Magnet-Ad

 

 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

A Facebook friend messaged recently asking this question about career strategies:

How do you know when to set down what looked like a good idea, or even a good goal/decision, and really tell yourself honestly, “It’s time to walk away from this one. It just didn’t work out.”?

He is in a work situation different than his previous job, and finds himself in a situation stretching his implementation skills beyond his comfort level. His concern was whether it makes sense to try working through the implementation skills issues even though he there is a very real possibility of crashing and burning in the job. The alternative was going back to his previous company in a new strategic role.

I told him this was a fantastic career strategy question and to expect my response that day to wind up in a future Brainzooming blog post.

Today’s the day.

Career Strategy Questions to Ask

If you find yourself in a comparable career strategy conundrum, here are seven yes/no questions to consider:

  • Is pursuing this idea / goal distracting from other things that are more important to me or to others important to me?
  • Are things still moving forward, even if it’s slower than I’d like, or is it stalled or even going backward?
  • Has the time simply passed for this idea / goal? Am I hanging on to something that even if it’s accomplished is going to be too little, too late?
  • Is sticking with it going to take disproportionate effort / resources / time that really have very little chance of paying back – whether financial or in other ways?
  • Are there pieces of what I’ve accomplished with this idea / goal that I can break off and advance with greater success?
  • If I put this on my “things I’m never going to do list,” would I actually feel better than having it on my to-do list but not getting it done?

Brave-Sock

Direction to Seek

As I told my Facebook friend, beyond the questions, the most important thing I’d do is pray about what I should do and then wait.

With prayer, answers don’t come on our schedule. It could be the situation vexing him may have been dropped into his lap to open him to something else entirely.

For example, what you are pursuing that you THOUGHT you wanted may really serve to make you realize SOMETHING ELSE is the right thing. You may be presented not with obvious opportunities but with those that move you in the right ultimate direction.

Changing Career Strategies

My friend is relatively early in his career. One advantage is there is much less of a stigma associated with frequent career changes now, particularly if you can demonstrate how you grew and the moves were part of your career strategy.

There are definitely advantages to making changes on your own terms (if you can) rather than waiting to crash on a particular job. It is easier earlier in your career to experiment, try things, and recover, if necessary.

For those more advanced in their careers, there are still opportunities to change direction. These often involve, however, creating your own company or be willing to become a free agent in the job market.

No matter where you are in your career, however, it’s increasingly difficult to expect you can get by without strong implementation skills. Business should be about “DOING smart things.”

That three-word phrase implies both strategy AND implementation.

It is sad seeing people well into their careers who don’t have the skills to make things happen. While not everyone is a natural implementer, I know people who have had decades of missed opportunities to improve their implementation skills. Even now, they won’t address getting better at implementation so they just drift, and NOT in a good way.

Any of You Made Big Changes in Career Strategies?

While this article still reflects the specificity I offered my friend, I’m guessing a number of you are in similar situations with your career strategies:

  • I made a big change.
  • The big change isn’t working.
  • When should I retreat and get back to my original path?

If that’s where you find yourself, I wouldn’t necessarily expect you to comment. But if you want to reach out and discuss the situation, let me know. – 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 success!

 

 

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

Having written the eBook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation,” it is obvious I take issue with “NOs” standing in the way of generating creative ideas and turning them into innovations that benefit others.

Recently though, I ran smack dab into a NO I hadn’t considered for a long time.

Creative Snobbery

This NO was a comment about what creative tools are appropriate and cool and which aren’t: : “NO, you can’t use THAT to be creative!”

My creative tools were labeled (without hesitation) as not appropriate and not cool. Even though the comments were delivered humorously within a fun conversation, this NO to creative ideas bugged me into the next morning (as I’m writing this).

Hmphhh

What’s interesting is amid the various NOs to innovation I encountered growing up, this NO (which I call “creative snobbery”), was definitely NOT present.

In fact, the attitude at our house was the quality, newness, and sometimes even presence of traditional creative tools, shouldn’t matter. The expectation was you work at what you want to do with what you have, and then maybe when you’ve demonstrated you’re actually sticking to it and improving, THEN maybe you might get better creative tools.

This is really another NO in disguise. It did lead, however, to appreciating folk art, found materials, and individuals and groups creating wonderful work beyond mainstream tools and techniques.

Creative Ideas However You Can Create Them

If you’re figuring out how to create and innovate with whatever tools you have? Fantastic!

Embrace whatever creative tools you or anyone else has. Sure, better tools WILL enhance your talent and may make creativity easier, but don’t overlook (or ostracize for heaven’s sake) the person who is using and compensating with creative tools other think inappropriate or uncool.

So here’s a creative NO you should embrace: NO creative snobbery! – Mike Brown

 

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

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

Strategic-Planning-SessionsConvening a group for strategic planning sessions DOESN’T have to be a boring, monotonous experience. If you’re creating the strategic planning experience right, it should be a fun, engaging experience for people who legitimately care about your organization.

And as much as we facilitate the strategic planning process across companies, you had better believe we want each one to be a fun, engaging experience.

Here are thirteen ideas for how strategic planning sessions CAN BE fun experiences:

  1. Invite people excited about participating to be a part of strategic planning process, even if you wouldn’t typically include them.
  2. Apply engaging structure and facilitation techniques so it is productive for participants.
  3. Incorporate fun, stimulating strategic thinking activities into strategic planning.
  4. Hold at least some of your strategic planning sessions in fresh environments.
  5. Bring in toys for people to play with and distract themselves.
  6. Have people participate in raucous, not-overly physical activities.
  7. Tell jokes as ways emphasize key messages.
  8. Use funny pictures in presentations.
  9. Teach people new skills or tools that are relevant for their ongoing use.
  10. Serve great, light food.
  11. Have someone illustrate the strategic planning results.
  12. Consciously manage the time to end early.
  13. Promise them a happy hour at the end of the day.

Try one or more of these and see what impact it has on adding fun to strategic planning.

Or better yet, these are standard practices for The Brainzooming Group. Call us to design and facilitate your strategic planning, and we’ll just make it all happen for you with more fun than anyone would ever expect from strategic planning! – 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.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

A recent Dilbert comic strip where the boss has a meeting to request on employee ideas definitely falls into the “more pathetic and true than funny” Dilbert category. But then again, when Dilbert isn’t going for pure laughs, there is usually a bigger point to be made about what is messed up in business.

In this case, the boss opens up the meeting with the employees looking for “billion dollar productideas.”

By the time Dilbert and Wally point out that if they had billion dollar ideas they’d do them on their own, the boss winds up with the ideas his question deserves: “a phone with a wooden screen” and a “drone that attacks anyone who looks at it.”

Dilbert.com

Screwing Up How to Request Employee Ideas

If you REALLY want input from your employees to help your business, you obviously don’t ask for “billion dollar ideas.” But then again, you also shouldn’t describe the employee ideas you’re looking for as:

  • Big (or The Next Big)
  • Great
  • Implementable
  • Smart
  • High Impact
  • Strategic
  • New
  • Disruptive
  • Game-changing
  • Unique

Feel free to add to this list any other descriptor that causes your employees to “judge” their ideas before sharing them.

When you describe the types of ideas you want in a way that implies they need to be judged before they are shared, you’ve mingled divergent and convergent thinking into one. The result is you’ll miss ideas with tremendous potential because you forced employees to self-evaluate them properly and potentially hoard them because they’re too good.

Far better to simply ask for ideas.

Or even better, ask employees to share:

  • Challenges your customers are facing with what you offer
  • Challenges your employees are facing in delivering what you offer
  • Work arounds being used to make your organization’s processes more effective
  • Things your customers have been complaining about or asking for that have gone unaddressed

None of these involve any judgment, but any of them could have a major impact on your success if you address them successfully.

Be careful what you ask for when it comes to soliciting employees ideas. If you don’t request employee ideas in a way that opens to the door for participation, you’ll wind up with exactly the opposite of what you wanted in the first place. – 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 brand’s innovation strategy and implementation success.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

Not every lesson is a positive one.

Talking about careers with my niece, I mentioned the scariest boss I ever had, and how even that experience with a boss who said and did some pretty scary things led to valuable lessons. Fortunately or unfortunately, the lessons were all about how to never act when I got to be the boss!

The conversation got me thinking about other situations where scary comments turned into valuable business lessons

Scary-Stuff5 Scary Quotes about Strategic Planning

Since I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about gearing up for strategic planning, I jotted down these five scary quotes about strategic planning. Intriguingly, all five came from consultants at one consulting firm we worked with for several years during my corporate life.

Admittedly, I learned many positive lessons during that time about strategic planning. Yet these five scary quotes about strategic planning from our consultants profoundly shaped my thinking about how NOT to do strategic planning:

1. “We’ll put together the strategic planning process as we go.”

Whenever you put together a strategic planning process while you’re doing it, you know something is wrong. Earlier in my career it felt edgy, but as a more experienced business person, it just seems pathetic. If you’re a consultant and selling your expertise at strategic planning you need to walk in the door ready to go with something that’s pretty close to working.

2. “There are 14 tasks to complete between these two steps in the process.”

Fourteen tasks to get from one step to another in the strategic planning process??? Talk about overkill!!! And even if it isn’t overkill and you actually NEED 14 tasks to move from one step to the next, NEVER admit to anyone you’re involving them in that much minutiae.

3. “This is better done than right.”

Really? REALLY? Yes, a consultant told me it was more important to get a presentation completed than address whether it was right. I’ve since stolen and revamped the quote not once, but twice. Even really bad ideas can be the seeds of strategic brilliance.

4. “My family’s important to me, so I make sure I’m home every night.”

On the surface this quote is not only NOT scary, it seems to be a wonderful sentiment considering the outrageously long hours consultants often work. The problem was the consultant saying it in Kansas City (where our company was headquartered) LIVED in Chicago. Yes, he flew back and forth every day between Chicago (first morning flight out) and Kansas City (last evening flight out). It was supposedly cheaper than a hotel room. Right.

5. “I did an interview with a reporter today about business prospects in (your) industry.”

Bad idea. VERY bad idea. When one consultant did this (and was quoted in print  questioning our earnings projections for the year), his firm was fired the next day within 90 minutes of our CFO seeing the article in a national industry newspaper. As a result, they lost a 7-figure annual consulting engagement. Yup, VERY BAD idea.

Do you have any scary consultant quotes about strategic planning or anything else?

If enough of you have scary quotes from consultants to share, maybe we’ll have enough for a regular feature, or the next Dilbert comic strip!  – 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.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

Suppose you are facing one of YOUR biggest problems.

How can you take advantage of strategic thinking to address your them?

7 Tips for How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Strategic Thinking

Here are seven tips for how to solve the biggest problems with strategic thinking in a way that leads to creating strategic impact.

Boulder-Rock

1. Involve as diverse and knowledgeable a group of participants as is relevant and manageable.

One key is thinking about multiple types of involvement (in-person and active vs. participating only through sharing ideas), diversity, relevance, and knowledge. Don’t limit your participants to the usual gang of strategic thinkers; bring new people into the strategic thinking process.

2. Inform the group with as many rich, current insights as is practical.

You want people to share their own strategic perspectives. But since a diverse group won’t all have the same underlying knowledge (or have knowledge as current as you might prefer), give them to-the-point, actionable insights to prepare them to be successful strategic thinkers.

3. Imagine the result you will need at the end is BEFORE you start.

Think ahead to what will let you stop the strategic thinking clock. Figuring out the result before you begin lets you know when you’re getting closer or further away from the result during the strategic thinking process. It will also signal if you have reached a conclusion before you expected one to develop.

4. Anticipate what it will take to do something with the result BEFORE you start.

Yes, you need to do a LOT of thinking about the end before you begin! Creating strategic impact from strategic thinking involves figuring out how you will sell-in and actually implement ideas and plans you develop.

5. Create a structured process to efficiently move through only the necessary steps to reach a conclusion.

Don’t leave it to chance that your strategic thinkers will self-organize a process to be productive. Similarly, don’t just lift a strategic thinking or strategic planning process from a textbook and expect it to work. Your strategic thinkers may not need all the steps or processes detailed in the textbook. Devise a strategic thinking process that will help THIS group be successful in reaching the end result.

6. Set time limits and ground rules.

Groups can take on lives of their own and spend way too much or way too little time on important (or unimportant) issues. Use time limits and project management techniques to manage the strategic thinking process for efficiency and effectiveness.

7. Don’t vote on the final recommendations.

You may use multi-voting to narrow strategic choices and to gain a sense of what the group thinks while it is working. But don’t put a final recommendation up to a vote. A final recommendation should make sense from a strategic and implementation perspective. That’s not the type of decision where you use a majority vote to pick the right course of action.

What tips do you have to solve the biggest problems?

What are your keys to problem solving on major questions?

We certainly recommend this strategic thinking approach. If you do these seven things, you’re in great shape to transition from strategic thinking into creating strategic impact and successfully solving the biggest problems you face.  – 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

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading