1

I’m a big advocate for the strategy of asking great questions to understand points of view before you launch into something. It’s better to get as much info as possible at the start so you can do something once instead of having to change direction repeatedly because nobody knows what the real direction is.

Having said that, here are two situations where it’s better to act first and ask questions later:

  • When you get ambiguous direction from a boss or client who is inaccessible – mentally, physically, or virtually. In these instances, take what you do know, and get started (or keep moving). Often the best thing you can do is help fill in and shape the thinking that either isn’t taking place or isn’t available from your boss/client.
  • When there’s been lots of discussion and not much progress on resolution. Within group settings, it’s not unusual for certain issues to bog a team down right from the start. They’re usually difficult, complicated issues that you’d ideally like to solve in one move, but you realistically know you can’t. Instead, stop the discussion and questions; simply start doing something small. Creating even minor progress gives people something to react to rather than simply speculating what might be over and over.

In both cases, having something concrete (an artifact) for others to look at and consider can catalyze your efforts in a way that trying to get every question answered before you begin won’t. – Mike Brown

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

3

Thanks to an invitation from Seth Simonds, I’ve started contributing to Stepcase Lifehack, a top 100 Technorati blog featuring pieces on productivity, personal improvement, and other life “hacks” to improve yourself.

My first submission based on the creative and innovation strategy written about here at Brainzooming is “8 Ways to Bring Your Creative Passions to Work.” The response to the piece has been quite gratifying and demonstrates the benefit of getting articles in front of a very large audience. Look for new bi-weekly posts from Brainzooming over at Stepcase Lifehack.

This photo illustrates a great example of someone carrying out a strategy to be more creative at work. Shopping the deli case at our local Hen House Market for dinner, I came upon this ham salad, shaped and decorated as a pig. While I don’t usually want to dwell on what my food originally looked like, this represents a wonderful way to bring a passion for art to a deli counter job.

Yes, you truly can insert creativity into any job. You simply have to be creative in how you do it. Check out the piece on “8 Ways to Bring Your Creative Passions to Work” for ideas on how to get started!

And speaking of a taking a creative approach to an age-old experience, here’s a link to my advice on getting more creative pop out of your Fourth of July fireworks this year! Be safe!  - Mike Brown

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

There’s something in my immediate family’s genetics which precludes anyone from ever being party to a quick windfall.

For example, my dad’s funny but not particularly cantankerous. Plus it would never be in the cards for me to come up with @ShitMyDadSays. It’s just not in the DNA. We’ve never had any make or break moments. Just reasonable progress highly correlated with the level of effort, persistence, and determination.

And that’s probably pretty typical, although you’d never suspect this from what gets talked about in the media.

Overnight successes often labor a long time to improve and refine what they do, but that’s rarely mentioned. If it is a true overnight success story, the incredible rise usually averages out with a comparably rapid fall. As much as I wish the best for the guy who sold “Shit My Dad Says,” barely 100 tweets (most of which can’t be used on TV) feels like a TV show with a 13-week run, not one with a big finale several years from now that the whole country is watching.

We’d all like things to be faster and more lucrative than our relatively humble lives. That’s why “get whatever (riches, fame, book deals, etc.) quickly” ads, emails, and tweets drag people in like crazy. Despite the hype and glitz though, I guess I’m genetically pre-disposed to adopt a strategy of patience, characterized by longer term results and less drama in my life.

But how about you…are you working a quick or a patient strategy?Mike Brown

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

Regularly walking outside is great exercise and a wonderful start toward living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight.

Walking around a gym (even with all the available tools), hanging out, and talking with people, however, doesn’t do a lot for one’s health or weight loss.

Yet it’s pretty common to see people who desperately need aggressive exercise simply putting in their time with minimal effort in using the tools available for them to accomplish a significant objective.

The same principle applies to work.

You can embrace the activities and resources necessary to progress significantly on the opportunities in front of you. Or are you can simply hang out, wander around, and avoid doing the hard stuff you know you need to be doing.

So what’s your strategy for approaching your career?Mike Brown

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

4

The Brainzooming™ Group was meeting with the relatively new CEO of a client recently to analyze the company’s marketing strategy. Discussing an area where our client has used one strategy and its primary competitor has taken completely the opposite strategy, the CEO said he’s skeptical of any business value his company thinks it’s getting from the effort.

The reason? Because the competitor ISN’T being forced to follow his brand.

He expressed his desire to control a competitor’s marketing strategy and budget by beating them to great innovative opportunities it feels compelled to follow.

That’s not necessarily a common angle on marketing strategy, but it’s an intriguing strategic perspective nonetheless. While flying in the face of owning and differentiating your brand based on what you do that competitors don’t, it does align with one advantage of being a first mover.

It’s also made me rethink a situation where my former company got into NASCAR when no one else in our industry had. Once we demonstrated the success of the strategy (and won an industry award for the NASCAR program’s ROI), every major competitor jumped into racing within 2 years. While it angered me then, looking back in this new light, it was great to force our major competitors to make significant business investments because of the effects they felt from our strategy.

Which leads to the question – what have you forced your competitors to do lately?Mike Brown

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

Always watch out for the quick, “just go with it” ideas presented to you. While it’s really cool when the first (often “obvious”) idea works, at least ask the question, “What about the idea might not make sense?” In asking the question, force yourself to explore all aspects of the customer experience which might readily not fit with the idea. Doing this helps eliminate the awkwardness of moving ahead with a first idea which doesn’t really make sense.

I’ll share an example close to home illustrating the point.

We have a great offer $100 discount offer for the American Marketing Association Marketing Research Conference in Atlanta. It’s available to anyone attending last week’s virtual conference, “Unveiling Marketing Research’s Future Online.” Since I’m chairing the in-person conference, Brainzooming readers can also use the $100 discount if you register by July 2. The September conference is an outstanding learning and networking opportunity featuring presenters with strong points of view and a few surprises thrown in, all in keeping with its “Unfiltered Perspectives, Unexpected Opportunities” theme.

Back to that great $100 discount off for VIRTUAL event attendees. How do you take advantage of it?

By CALLING 800-262-1150 and using the reference code “VIRTUAL.”

Just CALL and use the code “VIRTUAL.”

Something about that doesn’t make sense does it?

When I asked about having to call to get the discount, it’s because of technical limitations with the registration system. Whatever. The “first idea” of making the discount code “VIRTUAL” makes sense if people can register directly within the virtual environment (or at least online). When you have to make a phone call though, it doesn’t make sense any more. At that point, it makes much more sense to pick something related the in-person event, such as “UNEXPECTED” or “ATLANTA” neither of which point right at our registration limitations.

Certainly not the end of the world, but all preventable by asking, “What about the idea might not make sense?”

Irrespective of the registration code, though, check out the lineup for the event and take advantage of $100 discount offer. It truly is the best value in a market research conferences you’re going to find.

And remember, just mention “VIRTUAL” when you call. - Mike Brown

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
  • Arriving early for a meeting and taking a moment to relax and get set.
  • Doing more than you said you would.
  • Taking a break from your busy schedule to spend time with a mentor.
  • Taking a break from your busy schedule to mentor someone else.
  • Sharing some secrets of your success.
  • Creating great opportunities for deserving people.
  • Shutting up when your advice is falling on deaf ears.
  • Catching up on your sleep.
  • Stopping to give thanks for all the advantages you’ve had.  - Mike Brown

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