Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 246 – page 246
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I talk all the time about the value of doing a PMIR. It’s an Edward de Bono-based exercise to look at the Plusses, Minuses, Interestings, and Recommendations for an event or project.

Its benefits were underscored the other day. Stuart Fedt from the local BMA chapter was checking up to see what had come out of speaking to the group in March. My first reaction was, “Not much.” Then I started thinking about it for the first time, because I hadn’t done a PMIR after the luncheon, prompting the realization that the appearance had created:

So despite the first reaction, this event prompted perhaps more good things than any speaking engagement in a long time. Something I’d have realized much sooner if I’d have just done what I tell everybody else: create a PMIR. Lesson learned.

Speaking of the BMA, check out the May 15 Kansas City BMA program. It should be a great one as Tom McEvoy, president of Business Markets for EMBARQ will talk about the challenges of creating a dynamic new brand almost overnight from a company that’s 106 years old. For full details, check out the BMA website.

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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For this Wednesday’s Change Your Character exercise, let’s look at exercise and doing it successfully. Specifically, someone exercising usually works with a trainer trying to trim their waist.

So let’s think about how we can apply a successful exerciser’s approach to trimming wastein a business setting. A successful exerciser:

  • Sets a realistic, aggressive goal
  • Works with a trainer to increase their knowledge, accountability, and results
  • Exercises regularly
  • Varies the workout to stay motivated
  • Pushes to achieve better performance all the time
  • Tracks and records their activity
  • Consumes less food
  • Monitors food intake by counting calories
  • Measures progress toward the goal

Next time you’re charged with reducing something at work (costs, unnecessary process, re-work, etc.) generate at least three potential new ideas for each of the steps above to help you improve your odds of successfully trimming fat.

Note #1 – Today’s post is dedicated to Jenn Oxler, my trainer for the past two years. With her help (and her repeated questions about my food intake), I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds and have gotten into the best physical shape of my life. Thanks Jenn!

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – 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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Amid too much jargon, the state of business communication isn’t stellar. We could all benefit from delegating a writing assignment to a great reporter to see how they’d approach it to ensure it’s as clear, concise, and memorable as possible. Here are some of the things a good reporter is going to concentrate on during a writing assignment:

  • Interview people directly involved in the story
  • Use multiple sources of information
  • Write in order to gain attention right away
  • Put the most important things at the start of the story, followed by supporting material, then background information
  • Address fundamental questions – who, what, where, when, why, and how
  • Use specific, concrete examples
  • Have an editor who reviews it and makes changes

In addition to identifying at least three new ways to incorporate each of a reporter’s approaches to improve your writing, here’s a bonus book recommendation – do yourself a favor and track down a copy of “How to Take the Fog Out of Business Writing” by Robert Gunning and Richard A. Kallan. It’s a precursor to “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide” and is a short, straight-forward guide to dramatically simplifying your business writing.

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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

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In business, people typically spend time thinking about arguing and defending their own points of view. It’s rare though when someone spends time thinking about how they’d argue against themselves.

So next time you’re advocating a particularly contentious position, grab somebody who is less tied to your positions and swap sides – have them argue for your position while you challenge their pro arguments smartly and strongly. Seeing what new logic they develop to defend the position you really hold can help unlock new perspectives you can use later.

Debating against yourself (or at least your viewpoint) is a fantastic way to challenge and shore up your thinking before somebody else forces you to do it on the spot.

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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The title may seem harsh, but it’s a safe premise: NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOU.

There are probably some exceptions (your parents, a loved one, a few altruistic souls), but unless you’ve EARNED the opportunity for someone’s sustained interest, NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOU! This reality is important because most brands have not created important enough relationships with customers for them to be more interested in the brand than themselves.

The questions to ask for any brand communication are:

  • How does this information benefit our audience? AND
  • Why should they care about it?

A brochure draft recently came to me for review. Technically it was written fine, but it contained mind-numbing details about the brand’s history, awards, and operational statistics. The questions above obviously weren’t considered. It was only about what WE wanted to say. There was no recognition of the utter lack of benefit for our customers, and the near certainty that they wouldn’t care about a history lesson on us.

Recently, I’ve received the other end of this treatment as well. A service provider repeatedly leaves me voice mails about his “concerns” about us. Remember, we’re paying his company money to provide us a service. Quite frankly, his concerns aren’t at the top of my list, i.e. I DON’T CARE ABOUT HIM! At least not until after he expresses interest in what benefits us.

Use these two questions liberally when providing information and building relationships. Think and act outside in, seeking first to understand and benefit others. In this way you can hope to win the coveted position in the minds and hearts of customers where they might genuinely care about 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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For strategic thinking sessions at Baker University last month, we got an insane amount of work done – three ideation exercises and prioritization within a 50 minute class. Planning the session the weekend before, the prospect of making that much creativity happen in such a short amount of time caused me to think to myself, “That isn’t even brainstorming at that point. That’s brainzooming.”

And a new term, blog, and company were born.

Going in to the session, I was skeptical about completing it all in time. In retrospect the key was having a person assigned to each group to not only help, but to get students’ brains zooming.

Each person on the team filled that role for the students. Going beyond simply facilitating, Brainzooming means:

  • Being an energy source – using enthusiasm to spark excitement within a group
  • Providing approbation – reinforcing people for sharing ideas, creating a verbal reward that engenders more ideas
  • Making connections – listening to what people suggest and tying things together the group might miss in the throes of ideating
  • Drawing out non-participants suffering from self- or group censorship – going out of the way to solicit input from reluctant group participants

Brainzooming . . . it’s what we do!

 

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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Here are three links that can benefit you in varying (and sometimes fun) ways when preparing marketing plans.

Guerrilla Marketing Plans

I haven’t “blogged” other conference presentations yet, although I typically write pages of notes and idea starters. One of the most valuable note packets was from a 2003 Transportation Marketing Communications Association presentation by Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of guerrilla marketing. He covered essential elements of a marketing plan and the number of times you need to get a message in front of potential customers to move them to be repeat buyers. Interestingly enough, surfing the web recently, I found this Spark Insight page with notes taken from the same speech Levinson was giving then. Not sure if he’s still covering this material, but it’s a great quick reference on guerrilla marketing.

Marketing Plan Simplicity

This link to Entrepreneur magazine content popped up on AOL recently. It’s a great reminder on the importance of simple prose, reasonable length, and a direct style when preparing a business plan. While its target audience is people writing business plans for their own start-ups, it’s certainly applicable for any marketing or business plan you’re putting together even within a big company.

Deceptive Simplicity – “Indexed

I love a Venn diagram just as much as the next person. Okay, I love a Venn diagram more than most people. This book and website by Jessica Hagy capture her commentary on a wide range of topics through Venn diagrams, x-y charts, and other graphs. She produces an amazing amount of content on her blog and generates a lot of comments debating what the charts mean. Her ability to translate complex issues into a few lines and words on an index card is inspirational (and maddening – if you struggle mightily to express ideas simply!).

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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