Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 118 – page 118
4

The last few weeks, I’ve been watching a number of on-demand HBO documentaries. Each one has yielded helpful business, creativity, or life lessons.

One of the documentaries was called “His Way.” It’s a profile on uber-celebrity manager, promoter, and filmmaker, Jerry Weintraub. While it’s clear Weintraub has some worldviews and practices that are morally questionable,
I marveled at his story of approaching Col. Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager, to try to get Parker to let Weintraub “present” Elvis Presley on a nationwide concert tour back in the day. Weintraub called Parker. Col. Tom Parker listened to the idea and told Weintraub, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

To hear Jerry Weintraub tell the story, he proceeded to call Colonel Tom Parker every day for the next year to pitch the same nationwide concert tour idea. Each day, Parker said, “No.” That was until the day he told Weintraub to fly to Las Vegas with a million dollars to strike a deal.

Keep Calling a Prospect when They’re Saying “No”

Now, there is no way I would EVER think to call someone daily after they had rejected a business proposal. Maybe I’d check back in at some point in the future, but I can’t imagine making a daily call just to hear a prospect tell you, “No.”

But it obviously worked for Weintraub, maybe in part, due to the impact he could create through trying to talk to Col. Tom daily. Jerry Weintraub’s daily call allowed him to:

1. Demonstrate his persistence and tenacity (which would be valuable if they were to do business together)

2. Reveal snippets of his character, personality, knowledge, and expertise (all elements of building a solid relationship)

3. Share and reinforce the concept he was pitching, piece-by-piece (bringing the Colonel into understanding and accepting his concept for promoting Elvis Presley on a nationwide concert tour)

4. Build surprise – even through repetition (Parker had to be going through waves of wondering when Weintraub would continue calling, and then still be surprised when he did)

What Would You Do?

I’m not sure I’m ready to start calling the blog reader who requested a social media strategy proposal last summer and then wouldn’t respond. But I just might. Maybe I’ll declare a “Calling from out of the Blue Day.”

Who knows where a million dollar deal will come from? – Mike Brown

 

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If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts,  download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

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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9

We’re back . . . sorta.

The website – and others at our web host – were hit by a hacker on September 4. Suddenly, we made the Google “don’t go there because it’s a bad place” list. That notice effectively brought an end to the Brainzooming blog, creating a blogging exile  for nearly two weeks until we could get the issues cleared up, thanks to Mike Whaling at 30 Lines, whose expertise got us back up and all Google approved.

It was the longest break from blogging since I started the blog in November of 2007.

What did I learn during my forced blogging exile?

  • I enjoyed not having the pressure to publish a post daily. This was especially true when I had 8 hours in the car that was effectively dead time driving to and from a client strategy session.
  • The time away made me think about what a different approach to our social media strategy might look like. I even published a post to Google+ when the urge to write something became too strong! Though I thought about the list of guest posts I owe folks, none of those got written.
  • Potential blog post topics kept occurring to me, but few of the ideas were ever written down, so they’re lost . . . unless they pop back up in the near future.
  • The traffic declines on the website were dramatic. When Google tells people to not go to your website, people really get the message. Yet once Mike Whaling got everything moved to a new host, visitors came right back. I think all of you for your support in returning!
  • While it was a distraction to know what was (or wasn’t) going on with the website, it couldn’t afford to be my central focus. With other changes going on, there was too much travel and too much client work to get moving on getting the website fixed any sooner than it was.
  • Since much of what I share on Twitter involves links to new and previous Brainzooming articles that appear relevant for questions people are posing any given day, my other social media activity dropped dramatically as well. When I was unable to readily share content in an effort to be helpful, my enthusiasm for social media waned . . . in a big way.
  • Finding the blessing in the curse, I typically have to be forced out of something major to start something new. It seems like this may be the “something major” when it comes to social media . . . or maybe not.

And to paraphrase Forrest Gump, when it comes to my blogging exile, “That’s all I have to blog about that.” – Mike Brown

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Taking the No Out of Innovation eBook

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational creative 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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5

I wrote a post in November 2011 addressing 8 lessons for how a very traditional organization can enact a major change management initiative. The post was in conjunction with major changes in the English translation of the Roman Catholic mass implemented then. For those readers who aren’t Catholic, let me assure you, making this change after 40 years of the previous translation was a BIG deal.

Having watched the change management initiative related to this liturgical change play out for nearly a year, it occurred to me there are some additional valuable lessons to share relative to how people actually react to a major change. While it can be easy from a headquarters perspective to implement a major change and assume everyone will follow it exactly as planned, that’s never the case.

In the midst of following up a major change management initiative, it’s vital to realize your audience will have varying degrees of challenge with a major change and how it creates performance gaps. Whether the challenges are intentional or unintentional, performance following a major change has a variety ways of falling short of the complete and clean implementation you might expect.

4 Types of People Who Struggle with Major Change and Performance Gaps

Based on what I’m experiencing in the pews at various Catholic churches, here are 4 struggles people have with major change and related questions to ask about how the change management effort needs to adapt to address these performance gaps:

1. Leaders who ignore aspects of the major change they don’t support

There isn’t supposed to be room for variation in what a priest says during mass, but based on the specific parishes I’ve attended, I’ve seen priests leave out certain new phrases or even use entire sections from the old mass instead of the new wording.

Question: What’s in place to bring leaders who are not on the program back into the fold through monitoring and trying to adjust and correct their performance gaps?

2. People who opt out of participating in the major change

The guy behind me at daily mass refuses to learn the new parts of the mass the congregation is supposed to say. As a result, he told me he has quit saying most of the parts of the mass in which the congregation is called on to participate.

Question: You may praise innovation and celebrate people doing things differently, but what do you handle it when “differently” means ignoring what you’ve asked them to do?

3. People who slip up, potentially repeatedly

Another person who sits right behind me several days a week has a tough time remembering all the new parts for the congregation. Invariably, she has a slip up or two, reverting to older parts, which she’ll then repeat seconds later with the new wording.

Question: Do you have ongoing tools to help people who are struggling with the major change, and have you created an environment that supports people who take a longer time to get their performance up to previous levels?

4. People who are still using the aids distributed when the changes were made

Nine months in, there are many people who use the original aids placed in church pews to help the congregation understand and participate in the wording changes. These aids highlight the modified wording and continue to fill a role as people still get used to the new wording.

Question – A big change isn’t necessarily “one and done,” so have you incorporated ongoing support and training into your wide-scale change management effort?

Accounting for Non-Performance

How do you account for non-performance during major changes you’re responsible for implementing? Do you see these types of people struggling with major change? Are there other issues you’ve had to address and support? – 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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2

Today is one of those big wedding anniversaries for Cyndi and me. Because of a client commitment, we’ll spend much of it apart. And because Cyndi hasn’t felt well for several weeks, we haven’t had a chance to celebrate in the weeks before – and may not even get a chance this coming weekend, either.

That might be crushing in some relationships, but I guess we’ve approached our relationship with the need to be flexible because you don’t know what’s going to happen.

So my advice for today when it comes to long-term relationships is based on our experiences. The advice is to not keep score in a relationship. Or if you can’t help yourself from keeping score, at least don’t make decisions or take actions within the relationship based on what you think the score is.

Because the score is always subject to interpretation and change.

And even if you don’t like the score in a relationship you want to last, you have to remember: You’re on the same team. That means you own both sides of the score – individually and together.

That’s my advice for today for creating and sustaining long-term relationships. – 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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I was watching an HBO documentary on supermodels from the 1940s through the 1990s. The HBO documentary included supermodels sharing perspectives on their careers from earlier days, how they have changed since their prime modeling years, and ideas about what they have learned along the way.

Among various intriguing interviews, Paulina Porizkova spoke about how she viewed herself at the height of her modeling career in her mid-twenties. At the time, she felt her thighs were fat, her knees were ugly, and in general, she did not have good legs. At 45, however, she said she looks back twenty years and thinks she looked great. Now though, she was bemoaning going to the gym 6 days a week only to have everything on her body sagging, with a too large forehead, and a stretchy face. She admitted that at 70 though, she will look back at herself at 45 and probably think she looked great in her mid-forties.

Now to me and just about anyone else, Paulina Porizkova looked fabulous in her twenties and still looks incredible today.

So how can an objectively beautiful woman such as Paulina Porizkova have such mistaken perspectives when it comes to judging how she looks?

Paulina Porizkova cannot assess how she really looks for the same reason it is so difficult for any of us to objectively judge our situations and provide the best ideas to ourselves about what we should do. Yet how many business people cling doggedly to the idea that they (or at least only the people already within their organizations) know everything there is to know about their situations and do not need outside help assessing things or helping devise new, more successful ideas?

6 Vital Insights Outsider Perspectives Offer

If you are one of those people who does not want outside help, here are six reasons you’re missing vital insights by not seeking outsider perspectives:

  • Your internal voice will not give you objective insights on your situation.
  • Even if you know you don’t know everything, you don’t know what you don’t know.
  • You have no diversity of mindset, knowledge, or experience relative to yourself.
  • You can’t objectively assess what your strengths and weaknesses are by yourself.
  • You are either too bold or too reticent to provide ideas for yourself with the right degree of urgency and intensity.
  • You would have to be excellent at all of these: assessing your situation, determining the right steps to take, AND then taking the steps. Good luck.

It is so much easier to provide vital insights to other people on what to improve than it is to do the same for yourself. While the Brainzooming Group provides many outsider perspectives on strategy to clients across a variety of industries, I am always interested in hearing what insights others in our strategic circle have about opportunities for The Brainzooming Group. Trust me, an outsider can see, process, and speak with a clarity it is nearly impossible for an insider to muster.

If you are ready to give up on excluding outsider perspectives on your strategy, give us a call at 816-509-5320 or email us. The Brainzooming Group would love to provide the objective, outsider perspectives and ideas you are missing! – 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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2

It’s always great to have a guest blog from Woody Bendle. I ran into Woody last Friday night at the Kansas City Airport, and I’m not sure if that’s what prompted it, but this fantastic post on the importance of asking stupid questions showed up in my email last weekend! Take it away, Woody . . . 

Woody Bendle - Asking Stupid QuestionsI love questions!  Really!  But not too long ago, I was attending a seminar and I heard someone near me say to the person next to them, “That was a stupid question.”  I frankly don’t even remember what the question was, but do remember how uncomfortable I felt after hearing that.  I jotted a note down in my notebook and decided to write a piece about the value of questions (even the value of asking stupid questions).

Mind if I ask you a question?

So, I’m going to put you on the spot for a few seconds. When was the last time you heard what you thought was a stupid question?

Why did you actually think it was a stupid question?  I’ll let you think about this one for a bit . . .

Ok, did you think it was a stupid question because of:

  • Who asked the question? “Wow, only he would (or could) ask a question like that.”
  • How it was asked? “Whoa… that was snarky. What a stupid question.”
  • Where the question was asked? “Uh-oh. Why would anyone ask that in front of these people?”
  • You not thinking of it first? “Dang – I must look like a total idiot for not asking that.”
  • You not having an answer for it? “Oh yeah… well… I… I’d like to hear your answer…”
  • There being no possible answer to the question? “What kind of question is that? Come on… let’s get real!”
  • The answer being sooooooooo amazingly obvious that any moron should already know the answer? “UGH!  Are you serious? Because, that’s just the way it works you knucklehead…”

Was your opinion of “stupidity” aimed at the person asking the question or at yourself rather than the actual question?  More times than not, it’s not about the question at all nor the person who actually asked it.

Let’s fess up; at one point in time, we’ve all probably thought, or even perhaps said something similar to many of the exclamations above.  If you haven’t, you wouldn’t be human.  But, if we actually said any of these things aloud to someone, or in a group setting, we know that the result is that people just stop asking questions – immediately.  Perhaps that is what you were shooting for, but this is incredibly unproductive in the long run!  Bad things happen when people stop asking questions!

So, what’s the big deal? Why do we need questions?

Questions are critical for breakthrough progress!

It is important to remember that without questions, and without the desire to answer questions (curiosity), we’d all pretty much still be flopping around in a primordial soup.  Questions are an essential component of progress – all progress.  Given the current state of the global economy and the lack of topline growth among many of the world’s leading companies, I’d say we actually need a lot more people asking many more questions.

Albert Einstein is regarded as one of the most brilliant, and fascinating minds of all time, and he OBSESSED over questions!  More importantly, getting to the “right” question.  Albert Einstein is often quoted as muttering to himself, “If I only had the right question” repeatedly during periods when he was stumped by something he was working on.

If Albert Einstein isn’t to your liking, maybe you’ll be persuaded by this fabulous statement made by another pretty smart dude – Peter Drucker.  “The more serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers.  The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question.”

This statement from Peter Drucker is exceptionally profound!  Organizations and individuals waste tons of money and time every year in the pursuit of ideas resulting from the wrong questions.  When over 70% of all new products launched each year end in failure, you can be certain people aren’t asking the right questions.

Is asking questions THAT hard?

Asking the right questions is harder than you might think:  It takes time, we haven’t been trained to do it, and without training and conditioning, our brains would rather not do it at all.

1. Asking questions takes time

It is important to acknowledge that getting to the right question is hard work that requires practice.  One reason for this claim is that, most of us have been trained (in one way or another) to efficiently provide answers and solutions to the questions we’re provided.  Asking questions takes time, and time is money; so as a consequence, we’re often discouraged from asking questions… “Just do what you’re supposed to do and get me the answer!”  Sound familiar?

2. There is a lack of training for asking questions

Second, very few of us receive any training in asking questions.  This actually strikes me as perhaps one of the greatest failings of the American education system.  Kids are  pretty much natural born natural explorers and detectives, who ask a lot of questions. And, kids continue to ask a lot of questions until they get into about the second or third grade.  Unfortunately at that point in their lives, they’re being trained (or programmed) to answer questions that other people already know the answers to so they can perform well on standardized tests – in order to get into a good college and answer more questions with known solutions.  But let’s admit it, nothing truly great ever came from providing answers to questions with known solutions.

3. Asking questions can actually wear you out

Lastly, asking a lot of questions (thinking) which eventually lead to asking the “right” question is very taxing on our brains.  While our body is at rest, the brain consumes somewhere on the order of 20% of the body’s oxygen and calories.  When you really put the brain to work, by subjecting it to ambiguity and confusion, your brain begins to consume more calories.  And, unless you regularly work on conditioning your brain by thinking harder and asking perplexing questions, its natural tendency is to try to conserve energy – and work with what it already knows.  You might think of the act of thinking hard and developing the “right” question as like going out and running a10K: if you haven’t trained for it, your legs will be continually telling you that they want to stop and that they’d rather be sitting on the couch with a cold beverage and a bowl of chips, watching some television.  In order to complete and enjoy a 10K, you have to train for it.  And, to become adept at developing the “right” questions, to you need to work at it – often.

What’s the point of all these questions?

The point of all of this is that we need a lot more questions – all of them.  To get to the right question(s), we need:

  • Stupid questions
  • Bad questions
  • Silly questions
  • Dumb questions
  • Good questions

Frankly, we need the freedom and the patience to ask all of these questions.

And eventually, by pushing around all of these different questions, we can land on the right questions that can become catalysts for beginning valuable work to develop meaningful, game-changing solutions. – Woody Bendle

 

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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.

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1

Monday’s post was a list of creative inspirations behind Brainzooming blog posts. The creative inspiration for this blog post on providing help and support when dealing with difficult people is similar to number 30 on the list: You have relevant pictures to share.

I saw this cactus receiving ample help and support to remain standing at The Buttes Resort in Phoenix. It immediately triggered thoughts about what it’s like to help and support difficult people at work (think “difficult” = “prickly”).

Dealing with difficult people isn’t typically what any of us would volunteer for in a work assignment. Until you can remove yourself from having to help and support a difficult person at work, however, you simply have to manage the situation as best you can.

16 Articles on Help and Support for Prickly People

Since we’ve written about having had to help and support a variety of challenging personalities, the cactus picture created an opportunity to bring them all the content on dealing with difficult people together in one place. These sixteen articles provide advice dealing with difficult people of various types, including handling yourself as the difficult person in your work life!

Cactus-Prickly-PeopleUndependable People

Harmful People

Inappropriate People

Ineffective People

When You’re the Difficult Person

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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