Performance | The Brainzooming Group - Part 158 – page 158
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A 360 degree survey can be scary, but it’s a great tool to get a sense of how others perceive you. It can be tremendously instructive and beneficial. I did one through a leadership class several years ago that really helped me redefine some of my behaviors. There are various ones available online.

Another fast way to get some sense of potential areas you can use to define “your category” is to ask yourself and others three value-related questions:

  • What are the TOP 3 things I do that ADD INCREDIBLE VALUE for others?
  • What are the TOP 3 things I do that DON’T DELIVER INCREDIBLE VALUE for others because we can’t/don’t focus enough time, attention, and/or resources on them?
  • What are the TOP 3 things I do that ADD LITTLE OR NO VALUE for others?

Look for themes among the answers and consider using areas of incredible value as potential category definers. Areas where you could deliver value but don’t are potential opportunities for more concentrated effort. Areas where you’re delivering little value could be areas to attempt to eliminate from your routine.

Soliciting reactions about yourself from others may feel intimidating, but assessing and using the responses wisely gives you an advantage most people are unwilling to pursue.

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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Distinctive talents are skills closely associated with you where you continually improve as you do them, you benefit others, and you create a spark that attracts people to be a part of the energy you’re radiating. Building your list of distinctive talents begins with answering these questions openly & honestly:

  • What things motivate you to get up every morning?
  • How are you of the greatest service to others?
  • What activities bring you the most happiness and contentment?
  • What functions, talents, and skills do you (or have you) used that give you the most fulfillment in your professional life, family relationships / duties, spiritual life, and personal interests / hobbies?
  • How would you spend your time, talents, and attention if you didn’t have to work?

Hint – Stumped for answers in some areas? Ask a few acquaintances what they think your distinctive talents are.

After answering all the questions, go back and circle the 5 or 10 or 15 answers that truly fit the distinctive talents definition. Since these areas are likely to be the most intuitive for you, you think less about the mechanics of doing them and simply perform them really well. This makes them ideal to incorporate into creating a new “category” where you’ll be the best in the world.

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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This is a non-traditional approach shared by motivational speaker Ed Foreman: when you have a big goal that you tell others about, many of them will try to explain why you shouldn’t have a goal that big or how come you’ll never achieve it.

His answer? Keep your big goals to yourself and don’t share them with others. In that way, you avoid all the negative advice and can move toward your big creative goal mentally unfettered.

I dismissed the approach when I first heard about it, but my wife of 21 years (as of today) has used it to cross numerous projects off her list without having to listen to me explain why we shouldn’t be doing them!

Happy Anniversary Cyndi!!!

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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On my Labor Day road trip, I listened to “Live at the BBC,” a 2-cd set of recordings The Beatles made on BBC Radio from March 1962 to June 1965. It made me think about an old book definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in the musical creative process.

“The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono” is a transcript of interviews the pair did with writer David Sheff right before Lennon’s death in 1980. In one section, Lennon walked through the entire Beatles catalog, discussing the creative origin of each song with Paul McCartney. Sometimes it was true collaboration; at times it was the other person adding a small, yet critical element that made the song. Many times, particularly in later years, it was primarily individual creation. Yet because of publishing agreements, and perhaps a recognition that their creative styles were inexorably shaped by each other, all of their songs were jointly credited as Lennon-McCartney.

R.E.M. in its original line-up also credited every song to all members – Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe – irrespective of how it was composed, acknowledging that through the recording process, each band member had shaped the final creation.

I’ve always loved that creative team approach. In the best creative work in which I’ve participated, I enjoy the phenomenon that once it’s done, it’s very difficult to actually recall which person contributed which theme, idea, line, or edit.

That truly reflects a collaborative creative team.

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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12

A primary theme in our Creative Instigation presentation is how you can use structure to help people expand creativity. Essentially, it’s structured creativity.

We show how everyone can draw a “gator” by using letters and a couple of characters of punctuation (the gator at the right is drawn with a different color for each letter if you’d like to give it a try). Structured creativity can allow people to write and perform blues songs, draw comic strips, or write Haikus all within only 10 minutes.

Structure can be powerful in helping anyone get a faster start on thinking and performing creatively.

Here’s a challenge: think about your best talents, stepping back to see how you successfully apply rules, heuristics, formats, and other structural elements to perform well. Then identify how you can teach and share that structure with others so that they can experience new talents that they didn’t know they possessed.

They’ll appreciate it and maybe even show you how to use structure to start experiencing their talents!

A side note: The objective of the exercise above is to have people exorcise past negative people or interactions that said “You can’t do that” or “You can’t be creative.” During a recent creative instigation session, the examples ranged from someone being told she couldn’t be in a university music program without completing a piano recital (even though she was making money performing music already) to a young woman who was denied playing soccer with boys.

Interestingly, just a few days later, reading the current issue of “Men’s Health,” it turns out that even David Beckham had a similar experience, being told that he was too small to play English football. Just goes to show that any of us have to be on the watch for “creative disintegraters.” – 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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We had a great afternoon this past weekend celebrating a friend’s birthday on the Plaza in Kansas City. We’ve done this previously, returning to the Plaza for his birthday for the first time in two years. Following a late lunch, we returned for drinks to the same “upscale” restaurant we visited last time. Notice that our “return” suggests it’s becoming a tradition, spending time on their patio on a beautiful August day.

Mid-afternoon, having already been seated, the waiter informed us that if we didn’t order food, we’d have to move. The reason? Because we’d been seated in an area reserved only for people ordering food. This after the greeter hadn’t inquired about our planned order. (We’ve run into similar situations there before though, with the restaurant refusing to serve its Happy Hour menu on the patio, forcing you inside if you weren’t ordering off the main menu.) When asked, the greeter informed us that if we ordered appetizers, we could stay where we were seated. We elected to order some food, although we’d just eaten, and there’s essentially nothing on the menu (other than dessert) that my wife can eat.

Later, the person that seated us (and had told us to seek him out if we needed anything) came around to ask how things were. I told him matter of factly that everything was fine once we were coerced into ordering food. He expressed surprise that the waiter would have hassled us over this issue mid-afternoon, clearly outside of peak time, when the patio was half full. He ultimately made the waiter come over and apologize, saying he’d been misdirected by the restaurant manager to say something to us originally. Yet at the same time, someone near us was being told the same policy. For our trouble, they comped us a couple of desserts.

The end result was that the restaurant was successful in driving a lot more revenue from our table – that day. Long term, I doubt it will be part of any traditions for us, because the pain of dealing with their elitist crap seating policy tarnishes the view from its patio location.

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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What’s your most well-worn creative trick or talent – the one that you always go to in a pinch? Got it?

Now break tradition. That might mean doing something different, doing less of it, turning it around, changing it, or substituting another trick or talent for it – you pick.

Just make sure that you try something new that could become a future creative tradition!

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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