Performance | The Brainzooming Group - Part 155 – page 155
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  1. Read something written out loud.
  2. Look at something created in color in black and white.
  3. Listen to something loud at a lower volume.
  4. Look at something intended to be viewed from a distance really close.
  5. Show something you’re really familiar with to someone who has never seen it.
  6. Take something designed to be used indoors and see what it’s like outdoors.
  7. Display something designed for a small screen on one much larger.
  8. Do a presentation intended for a large audience in front of just a few people.
  9. Work through something with specific steps in a different order.
  10. Read something intended to go from start to finish from finish to start instead.
  11. And after any of these, ask, what’s working, what isn’t working, what’s surprising, and what should I change?

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 wind up in many conversations with people who view themselves as strategic and expect to be more strategy-oriented in their jobs, but don’t feel as if they are.

What innovative things can you do if you find yourself in this situation? Here are four ideas:

What are you doing to be more strategic in your work?

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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Somebody asked me how many years I’d worked at the same place. When I told him eighteen, he wondered aloud if I had eighteen years of experience – or two years of experience, nine times over.

That this person calls me every few years with an apparent strategy to tear me down is beyond the point.

His comment is a great strategic challenge for all of us at the start of the year: What specific innovative learning and development goals are you setting for yourself so you’re noticeably different at the end of the year?

In other words, what do you want to get out of this year?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.

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Remember the song, “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen?” Remember the song, “Rainy Day Woman #12 and #35?”

They’re both about stoning . . . so to speak.

Today, December 26 is the feast of Stephen, the first martyr, who was stoned to death in the first century. In his Feast of St. Stephen sermon, Fr. Gilmary Tallman spoke about two reasons why stoning, although illegal under Roman law, was used.

Lorenzo_Lotto_-_The_Martyrdom_of_St_Stephen_-_WGA13671

The first was stoning was a graphic and very painful form of death; it sent a clear message to others you shouldn’t do what the person who was being stoned had done. Secondly, stoning was a group activity, so no one individual had any personal responsibility for carrying out the stoning.

When you put it that way, it makes stoning sound like many (most) modern business meetings:

  • We convene with a group think mentality
  • Perhaps one bold person offers an original idea
  • The group kills the idea (and potentially the person) en masse through its invective and takes great satisfaction knowing any future upstarts with bold ideas will keep quiet to avoid a similar fate.

One thing Brainzooming is about is helping you get new ideas introduced and implemented without your group even realizing it so your next team meeting doesn’t turn into a corporate version of the Feast of Stephen.

Here’s to more creative Brainzooming subterfuge in the new year! – Mike Brown

 

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.

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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Many people in this series (and all of them this week) have shared too many gifts to list them all. That’s the case with both my parents.
While it took me a long time to catch up in understanding the many short cuts to life lessons my dad tried to give me, I’m hard-pressed now to point to one that isn’t true (although at 17, I’d have told you most were nonsense – which I guess is all part of growing up).

His lessons on generosity, focusing on what’s good for others, and approaching life with a positive attitude have shaped me profoundly.

So here’s a lesson that may seem small in comparison, but continues to provide tremendous value throughout my work life: understand and work the percentages when selling, no matter whether it’s selling a product, service, or concept.

Early on as my dad was making the transition from cutting hair in my grandfather’s barber shop to broadcasting, he sold life insurance part-time. A lesson he learned was 10:3:1, i.e. you had to make 10 calls to secure 3 appointments to close 1 sale.

If someone was willing to apply him or herself, work the equation, and stay motivated amid a 90% failure rate, they’d be successful. If they applied learnings and new techniques to improve the ratio, they could experience dramatic success. Get discouraged or shortcut the process by making too few calls, however, and they’d wind up washing out.

While the ratios may differ, the principle applies to so many facets of business and life. (Although, thank goodness I don’t have to generate 10 ideas to get 1 blog post!) Ask others or figure out the business building relationships on your own, but KNOW and apply them to make the ratios work for you in selling and persuading others to your point of view.

Thanks Dad for cluing me in early to both the life principles and the numbers behind success!

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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Our first week in Kansas City while unpacking boxes and listening to Mike Murphy’s radio show, I heard Bill McDonald talk about how his company, Kansas City Infobank, researched and identified market opportunities. While unsure about my career, I loved school, was good at it, and Infobank sounded like school. Thus began my “second MBA” – spending 2 ½ years at Infobank doing strategic projects for entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between.

Despite our financial challenges as a small business, Bill became an important strategic mentor. As mentioned before, the business instruction he gave me encompassed lessons too numerous to list. One in particular transformed my writing, helping create a personal business writing style.

Three months into the job, I was struggling with my first major report about the market for a laser printer add-on. Despite the report’s focus, I was writing pages on the personal computer market as an enabler for this technology.

Bill McDonald of Kansas City InfobankBill finally sat me down and said, “You need to understand you’re not in school anymore. You don’t need to write a long litany of facts to prove you’re qualified. You’re writing for business. The fact we have this assignment presumes we know what we’re doing. Get right to the point of our recommendations and the rationale behind them.

The discussion was a wake up call that business writing was different. Unlike school, where you’re required to demonstrate understanding to support getting a good grade, business writing needs to get right to the point. That’s even truer today. Bill’s direction has been a tremendously valuable career-long lesson that I’ve shared with many others to help improve their written communication.

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 yesterday, sometimes when you’re working on a project, it’s hard to quit so that you can work in a creative mental refresh.

Doing live events leads to many short nights from getting ready and wrapping up results. Earlier this year due to delayed United Airlines flights, I didn’t walk into the hotel room until 2 a.m. and had to be up at 5 a.m. to prep for hosting a 7 hour session. While your situations may be different, chances are you also have times where you haven’t had enough sleep but have to be on top of your game. Here are some tips that work me:

Eat – There’s a lot to be said for refueling your body with healthy food. When producing a conference in Vegas once, I was among the walking dead. Friends forced me to sit down and eat a salad. Afterward, I was good for five more hours. Another person told me once that during long work sessions, he needed at least one “hot” (meal) per day. Single-serving, microwavable soup can be a quick answer there. You can heat them in most hotel rooms or at least in the lobby, and a quick shot of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup can do wonders for a creative mental refresh.

Caffeine and Water – Specifically for me, Diet Dr. Pepper. I know caffeine isn’t good for you, but pounding diet drinks can help sustain you over the course of a day, especially if you’re alternating it with water. Thus the inside joke among co-workers that my sessions never go more than 90 minutes without a bio break!

A Nap (on the floor) – This isn’t for everyone, but I’m blessed with the ability to fall asleep very easily. I started sleeping on the floor doing all nighters at my first job. Because the floor isn’t comfortable, you tend not to sleep for very long. Especially with lights and noise going, you’ll wake up soon, but usually with just enough rest to give you a burst of energy.

Exercise – Walk the hall, go up and down stairs, or run around the building. Anything to get your mind focused more on physical than mental exertion will do the trick.

Shower & Get Into Casual Clothes – If you don’t have time for sleep, a quick shower and change of clothes can give you a refreshing break and reset your perspective. For me, there’s something about throwing on jeans that simply helps me think better. And the shower will help you to smell better too, especially if you just ran around the building.

Pray – Remove yourself mentally for a moment and reflect spiritually. It can not only give you greater peace of mind, it can also provide a creativity boost.

There are my six tips for a quick mental re-charge. Please leave a comment to let everyone know what works 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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