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How portable is your personal brand to another job? This question came up talking with a blog reader after a Brainzooming training presentation. We were discussing the possibilities of moving her personal brand to a new job, having worked at a large corporation for a decade and feeling topped-out in her career path. Despite very positive sentiment from internal clients, the company had gone through senior management changes that left her without a strong senior advocate for her contributions and career.

Discussing her career options, I tried to help weigh the potential upsides and challenges of moving to another company. She had a concern about leaving and uprooting her 10-year career and the very strong relationships she’d built up over time.

I reminded her that these relationships hadn’t been handed to her; she’d cultivated productive relationships through hard work and delivering results. Her skills would serve her well no matter where she might go.

Then, almost as an afterthought, she mentioned the nearly complete turnover among her internal clients within the past 18 months.

I asked if she realized what she had just said.

If her internal clients had all turned over in the last year and a half, that meant she had developed these incredibly strong relationships with a nearly new set of people. Instead of taking years to create such favorable perceptions, she was creating strong relationships within just a few months.

When viewed from that perspective, the potential relationship-focused downsides of moving on vanish. Suddenly, her personal brand looks incredibly portable to another organization.

And you know what?

She had a goal of securing a new job within a few months, and that’s exactly what she did.

How about your personal brand and the prospects of taking it someplace else? Is your personal brand a lot more portable than YOU give it credit for being? Maybe it’s time to start exploring your options.  – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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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In a recent post about how to creatively write a business book,  I discussed how captivated I was by Eli Goldratt’s book The Goal. Not only did the book introduce me to some profound insights on productivity, it reminded me how much I like the novel as a format for understanding new and interesting concepts, particularly in a business setting.

But not everyone is a novelist and maybe not everyone enjoys fiction as much as I do. That doesn’t mean that you are limited to presenting your new ideas or learning new things in ways that cling to the old formula of long blocks of text interrupted only by footnotes and chapter headings.

Two printed book series that do a really excellent job of breaking those constraints (nod to Goldratt there) are the Head First books and the Stikky books.

The Head First series focuses mostly on computer programming languages and applications, but also includes such topics as Algebra, Statistics, and Data Analysis. (Here the author of Data Analysis book provides an interesting take on what he learned about writing from doing it.)

The Head First books all rely on a boatload of illustrations and examples. They usually start with a multi-dimensional problem that you, the reader, want to solve. The book then applies the concepts and tools of the language, application, or field of study in leading you through the different steps to solving the problem.

They are all written in second person and encourage (even demand) your interaction in moving through the steps of the problem—and not in the rhetorical or end of the chapter “things to ponder” way, but rather in concrete ways such as identifying errors, doing calculations, choosing among alternatives, specifying language, etc.

The Stikky books are fewer in number (only four titles, on subjects as diverse as weight management, stock charts, and astronomy), but in some ways even more purposeful in their presentation. The psychological foundation behind the format of the books includes learning theory, reader motivation and stimulus-response image design. They use small units, an illustration on every page, frequent testing of what has been covered, and a task orientation among other principles.

You may not want to know about how to program in Java or what to look for in the night sky, but the creative format and execution of both these series of books is something that can help any of us whose jobs require that we communicate complex or abstract information in a way that is clear and meaningful.  – Barrett Sydnor

 

For an additional creative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational 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 brainzooming@gmail.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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Some Monday quick thinking on adaptability, trust, and several other frequently touched upon topics on the Brainzooming blog:

Adaptability – If your life situation won’t let you swing for the fences, make sure your lineup is filled with high-percentage hitters who can run like crazy.

Trust – You’re not always going to be able to do business with only people you trust. When you can’t avoid it, make sure not to lose the handle on your own honesty and ethics.

Motivation – Ask, “What’s this person’s motivation for the sensationalized world view they’re sharing with me?” It’s often to create fear to get you to do what they want.

Priorities – When you have someone who keeps asking and asking for help with nothing ever in return, remember it can feel really good to say, “Sorry, you’ve got me confused with somebody who still cares.”

Longevity – There’s a lot to be said for newness. There’s more to be said for performing incredibly well day-in-day-out for more than a few months. – Mike Brown


 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 brainzooming@gmail.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 the innovation and creativity training presentations I did yesterday at CreativeBloc 2011, here are 11 Brainzooming posts on enhancing your personal innovation perspective. These can personal innovation tune-ups come in handy when you need to work on making sure you’re not putting any of the NO’s into the inNOvation challenges you may be facing:

7 Lessons to Get Ready for Change Now – Set yourself up to be your most innovative with pre-planning.

Get on a Roll, Get Results – The value of pushing beyond typical constraints to build a string of improvements.

The Strategy for Exploiting Your Mindless Job – When you have untapped mental capacity in your job, take advantage of it to innovate in new areas.

Black and White Decision Making? Today, Change to Grey (and Vice Versa) – There are benefits to consciously changing your typical decision making style, even if temporarily.

Patience – Strategic Advantage or Disadvantage? – How patience will help you (and some ways it won’t) strategically.

2 Easy Strategies for Tackling Social Media – One App at a Time – With so many new applications flying at us weekly, here’s how to stay current without taking too much time.

Trendspotters’ Fab Five – Five vital perspectives to effectively identify trends suggesting potential innovation opportunities. This is a Blogging Innovation guest post.

Forgetting as an Innovation Strategy – Why letting go of your knowledge and experience can be vital to innovation efforts.

How Does Magic Happen? – Glitz is important to creativity and innovation, but hard work and determination are equally important.

When People Don’t Understand There Are Lots of Ways to Be Right – Finding ways to deal with a negative environment that’s hostile toward innovation.

3 Ways to Generate Innovative Business Ideas When You’re Very Experienced – Three ways to counteract the limitations experienced people can place on innovation efforts.  – Mike Brown

 

When it comes to conferences, high impact presentations, and live event social media content, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can do the same for your event!

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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It’s easy to get really lazy in communications, for a variety of reasons. When someone is trying to give you money, however, it’s really hard to explain why your customer service communication should be so crappy when it’s not that tough to communicate with customers really well. We were ordering new business cards. I emailed the file to the printer and asked whether the business cards could be ready within a few days since one of us was headed to Chicago to present at a market research conference.

One day later, I received an email which said they’d be done in time.

I emailed back and asked about providing credit card information via phone since I wouldn’t be picking them up and couldn’t easily get a check ahead of time to the person picking them up from the printer.

The printer answered back with one line: “We don’t accept credit cards.”

Okay, that answered the exact question, but didn’t really move us along in the buying process.

I replied and asked how much the printing job would be so I could get the check cut and get it to Barrett for payment at pick-up.

One day later, he replied with one line again, providing the cost of the printing job followed with, “plus tax.”

Okay, by this point it’s clear I want to GIVE HIM MONEY, yet he refused to work with me to provide the simple information to pay them efficiently. All this after making the buying process more difficult through the inability to accept credit cards.

Hey, we all have off days, but something tells me, this wasn’t off day related. This is about crappy communication skills on the part of someone with a clear customer service role in his organization.

When you just do “okay” in what you do, this is the kind of customer service experience that makes finding somebody else to work with a really easy decision to make.

Maybe I should send him a one line email: “See you around.” - Mike Brown

 

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 brainzooming@gmail.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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Collaborative blogging isn’t how I started out writing the Brainzooming blog. It began as a creative outlet before leaving corporate life behind. Doing it was creative, but pretty solitary. Since then, I’ve written for several multi-author blogs, which are still pretty solitary experiences too. While there are multiple authors and fewer deadlines (since you don’t have to write as frequently yourself to maintain a steady flow of content) there hasn’t been any meaningful content coordination or planned interaction among authors. Contrast these multi-author blogs with writing collaborative blogs. They take the benefits of having multiple writers and add to it with planning, strategy, and editorial calendars to actively create and manage content.

The stark differences don’t end there. The two blogging approaches differ materially in at least seven ways.

The typical multi-author blog has:

  • A vague sense of who the blog’s target audience is and what’s of interest to them.
  • Only rough blogging guidelines governing the authors’ efforts.
  • A mix-and-match approach to writing styles among the authors actively contributing.
  • No editorial plan - so subject matter coordination happens by accident, if at all.
  • Challenges in coordinating content submissions for timely publishing.
  • Potentially uneven editing, with it being done individually, by an ad hoc editor, or not at all.
  • A blogging platform intended for individual efforts being forced to fit with a multiple contributor environment, often with publishing responsibility heaped on one person.

Contrast this with a strategic, collaborative blog which features:

  • A well-developed persona (or potentially multiple ones) to guide audience-based content creation.
  • A team inside the organization is trained in blogging and contributes to the collaborative blogging effort’s strategic direction.
  • Individual writing styles are arranged and balanced for a better reader experience.
  • Subject matter coordinated to deliver a more strategic mix of content.
  • A planned calendar with posts in reserve to ensure a consistent publishing schedule.
  • A designated blog admin and review process ensure the content is strong, compelling, and well-written.
  • A collaborative blogging application which facilitates reminders, content management, and multiple contributors actively participating.

Rather than simply writing and publishing stories, collaborative blogging can be a powerful, cultural unifier internally, and provide a way to share compelling stories with an external audience. It can be the primary engine in telling the rest of an organization’s stories – the stories which don’t fit in a brochure or a press release.

Look for more on collaborative blogging as we continue to develop and refine them for clients and move the Brainzooming blog in that direction too. –  Mike Brown

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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

 

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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This was Sunday’s Dilbert cartoon. Dilbert’s world is a great example of the complete opposite of Brainzooming! Watching too many brain shutdowns in the corporate world was a significant trigger for developing the Brainzooming approach as an antidote to help people think more quickly, with both creative and analytical perspectives. The right mix of creative and analytical thinking provides the best ideas with a clear path to get them implemented.

If this Dilbert hits to close too home (or office), let us know. We can expand your theoretical work limit (T.W.L.) and provide the antidote for brain shutdowns!

Dilbert.com

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 brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you devise a successful innovation strategy for your organization.

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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