Implementation | The Brainzooming Group - Part 250 – page 250
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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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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on combating overly detailed PowerPoint slides, here are two quick checks to keep yourself honest on the detail level and clarity of your slides:

Check #1 – Print out your “finished” PowerPoint presentation with 16 (or at least 9) slides on the page (you can usually do this in the Printer Setup dialog – not directly in PowerPoint). At that resolution, see if you can read what’s on EVERY slide without squinting. If you can, you’re audience will be able to read it as well. If you can’t, neither will your audience, so go back to yesterday’s post and start again.

Check #2 – Cover the headline on each slide and ask, “Can the audience get my point from the slide’s content?” Next, cover up the content and ask, “Can the audience get my point from the headline?” Then determine, “Is the point consistent for both the headline and the content?” The right answer to all these questions is “Yes,” if you’re slide is a good one. If not, you’ve got some more work to do.

Simply using the principles outlined in the past two posts will demonstrate to your audience that you’re thinking about them and are making strides to deliver value to them with your content.

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 continued effort to dissuade bad presenters from their PowerPoint misconceptions, here’s some advice. If you’ve ever said during a presentation,

“I know this is tough to read, but I think you’ll get the point”

that means even you realize the SLIDE DOESN’T WORK!!! Fix it or get rid of it. Don’t subject the audience to your LAZINESS!!!

Sorry about the outburst, but if you choose to fix the slide, here are three possible approaches:

  • Prioritize the material on the slide – use the forced choice technique approach from a previous post to narrow the content.
  • Help the audience focus – if it’s an overly detailed chart or spreadsheet, consider using custom animation to circle the area that you’re addressing or a picture insert to enlarge what you’re referencing, breaking it up into multiple slides that are legible, or developing a graphic with only the point(s) you’re making.
  • Do something completely different – think hard about whether there’s a story, anecdote, or image you could use to make your point and (I realize this is radical) completely eliminate the detailed slide.

I know that none of this makes sense to a bad presenter, because the audience REALLY needs to see everything on the slide to get your point.

But on behalf of all your audience members, we can’t SEE what’s on the slide anyway; it might as well be blank. So pick a course of action (and reach out to somebody for help if you’re struggling with #2 or #3), and get back to us when you’ve fixed your slides!

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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Since it’s “Hit ’em Where They Ain’t Week,” it was only natural that this Wednesday’s Change Your Character exercise focuses on Wee Willie Keeler.

Wee Willie Keeler was a great baseball hitter in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and at 140 pounds and maybe 5 feet, 4 inches, one of the smallest players ever in professional baseball. Beyond his impressive performance (lots of hits, hitting & bunting in unusual ways, rarely striking out, hitting sacrifices to advance runners, being part of five championship-winning teams, etc.), he is best known for his success mantra, “Hit ‘em where they ain’t.”

Keeler is certainly a great example of someone small making the most effective use of resources and talents to beat much larger and more substantial competitors. His approach to baseball can be a great help when you need to succeed against bigger competitors. Go ahead and delegate your challenges to him as he:

  • Focuses on being more productive
  • Does things to be able to perform more consistently
  • Takes steps to rarely fail (or at least less than his competitors)
  • Takes advantages of competitors’ weaknesses and gaps
  • Concentrates on how he could help others advance to help his team win
  • Embracing an unconventional & hard to defend against approach to execute his role
  • Uses a smaller asset (in this case, a bat) than was thought practical
  • Helps the team succeed as a collective group

So figure out where your competitors are positioned, take a practice swing or two, and smack the ball right between them to advance your brand teammates!

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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