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Marianne-Carr-PhotoMarianne Carr has been working with us for nearly a year. We met (courtesy of mutual friend, Doug Steveneson) at a lunch neither one of us wanted to attend.

I knew there may be possibilities, however, when she was willing to skip the two-hour wait at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ (as it was still known then) and head across the street for tacos and margaritas at Taco Republic. It’s my fault for not getting her listed on the website (gotta get that fixed), but it’s great to finally feature her first blog post. It’s another in our planned series of recaps of intriguing creative inspiration clicks to articles around the web each week.  – Mike Brown

Gal Friday – Marianne’s Memes and Creative Inspiration Clicks

Meme

 

I had to look this up!

Variety is the Spice of My In-Box: Connecting Dots and Finding Golden Threads

I get a lot of different things to read in my in-box. I mean a lot. I mean different.

To me, some how all of these thoughts, opinions, facts, what-nots are interconnected. Not sure how, not sure why. Maybe it’s for you to decide.

I offer some of my own humble opinions for consideration. 

At Work, Captain Hindsight Really IS a Super Hero

“….calls it the “premortem”, and it’s embarrassingly simple: you imagine yourself in the future, after the project you’re considering has ended in spectacular failure. “Unlike a typical critiquing session, in which project team members are asked what might go wrong, the premortem operates on the assumption that the ‘patient’ has died,” Klein writes. In the fantasy world of the premortem, it’s already over. You’re screwed. Everything went as badly as you could have feared. Now: why?”

IMHO: It’s always about asking better questions (more about that in a couple of weeks). I like the way this is “packaged” however, and sometimes the packaging of a technique helps sell it internally at an organization.  Doesn’t seem like frivolous and ineffective “brainstorming” or “ideation” if it’s called “Pre-mortem.”

Australians Spell Words Differently, but are Not Worlds Apart

“Yet legacy technologies, siloed operational structures, risk aversion and data analytics immaturity must be overcome if an organisation is to achieve the real-time responsiveness customers are demanding. Many marketing functions are also still coming to terms with what customer engagement across the lifecycle means, and how to best utilise content and social channels to make that happen.”

IMHO: Duh. Okay that’s rude. Some of this is obvious, but still true, and no one is doing anything to correct it in many large organizations. Or prevent it in start-ups that hit that scary 5 year, too-many-people, grew-too-fast plateau so that the silos have just magically appeared. But you know all that. My slightly more impressive thought is — I have heard that Australia is considered a good testing ground for ideas prior to launch in the USA. There are several similarities to behavior and attitude.  I’d love to know if that’s true.

The Secret Life of Being; Remember Each of One of Us has Something

“By the last week of October, Alex was communicating with more than a dozen people who openly admired the Islamic State. Her life, which had mostly seemed like a blurred series of babysitting shifts and lonely weekends roaming the mall, was now filled with encouragement and tutorials from her online friends.”

IMHO: This article highlights how we each individually face some monumental, and often very secret, challenges in our daily lives.  Never forget to be open and empathetic.  And think in terms of people, instead of consumers, when innovating.

My Subconscious Ate my Social Media Campaign

“Why do you have an urge or thought that you shouldn’t be having? Because, in a sense, the consciousness system doesn’t know that you shouldn’t be thinking about something. An urge generator doesn’t know that an urge is irrelevant to other thoughts or ongoing action.”

IMHO: Oh thank goodness, it’s not me, it’s my subconscious that’s going to eat that cupcake. And I’m not even hungry. So is reading Facebook all day, or tweeting, or pinning, or LInkedining, or Vining or Snapchatting or texting really just a subconscious urge?

New School/Old School – but is it the Right School?

Conf-Infographic

IMHO: Is this the right way to use the infographic format? Am I supposed to print it and hang it on my wall?  Wouldn’t that be better to send me AFTER I signup? But I have heard this is a good event. Maybe I should go some time.

sxsw-cover

IMHO: And these guys have a MAGAZINE?! Shocker. I’ve heard this is a good event, too. – Marianne Carr

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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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Recently, the “Inside the Executive Suite” executive newsletter from Armada Executive Intelligence turned its attention to strategic thinking exercises and possibilities for breakthrough thinking. Their story was based on a review of two new books on the topic of insights. The books and the article were intriguing, and the folks at Armada Executive Intelligence gave us permission to re-run the piece here.

Strategic Thinking Exercises – 5 Breakthrough Thinking Possibilities

(via Armada Executive Intelligence)

How do you personally generate successful breakthrough thinking?

Do your methods compare favorably to approaches of the great thinkers of history? Additionally, are there proven lessons you can apply in specific types of situations?

Thinker

The last two questions are addressed in new books featured in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal Review section. William B. Irvine’s, “Aha! The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World,” and “The Eureka Factor” by cognitive neuroscientists, John Kounios and Mark Beeman, both address insights – the result of people achieving deep, accurate understanding of an issue facing them.

Irvine’s book presents case studies on the thinking approaches of history’s greatest thinkers. The Kounios and Beeman book examines, as much as is possible, the scientific basis for developing insights.

Irvine’s book highlights varied, successful insight patterns. In science and mathematics, doing something unrelated to the current task is common before generating breakthrough thinking. He credits religious insights as emerging from actual experience; with moral issues, insights vary in appearing after extended reflection or through sudden revelation. When new thinking depends on creative thinking, they tend to emerge after establishing a solid foundation of work leading to insights that emerge later.

What Works to Generate Breakthrough Thinking?

Figuring out how your situation ties to which type of insight pattern may seem confusing. That’s why we advocate for what Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling said: “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

You can extend this concept to developing insights. It’s helpful to employ a full repertoire of thinking techniques to produce many potential insights to fuel breakthrough thinking.

We’ve seen, tried, and returned to various approaches to trigger breakthrough insights. Here are several possibilities when you have to consistently introduce new insights in an organizational setting.

1. Sorting Out What You Know

From all the available potential facts and conclusions, sort them based on ones you KNOW to be true versus others you THINK to be true or HOPE to be true. This exercise helps identify how strong your foundation is for generating new insights.

Are most of your points of information and conclusions already proven to be true? Do you need to develop proof points (if you only THINK much of the information is true) or conduct additional, novel research or analysis (if you simply HOPE the ideas are true)?

Based on what you find, there are natural questions to firm up your fact base:

  • For information and conclusions known to be true: What new insights are suggested by what we already know?
  • For what you only think to be true, ask: What will it take to prove each of these as true or false?
  • For those you hope to be true ask: What stands in the way of vetting this information? If it were true, what new insights might it help uncover?

You can use your answers to take the appropriate steps to solidify your fact base so it is more robust.

2. Assembling the Insight Puzzle

Generating insights in a business setting is akin to assembling puzzle pieces. Extending that comparison creates an actual puzzle-solving exercise.

We worked with a consultant who would print every major known fact supporting a potential strategy and on a separate piece of paper. Each business strategist received a set of facts to combine, rearrange, and “play” with as a child would play with building blocks. Some arrangements of the facts might be simple and others more complex. The overall goal was for each individual to separately identify interesting combinations to look for new potential insights.

While there are advantages to printing out and physically arranging the facts, there are many options to work with the facts in a collaborative online environment.

Regardless of how you do it, after the initial work, strategists compare their insights, looking for similarities, differences, and new ways the individual work can generate additional insights.

3. Different Perspectives on the Insights Puzzle

We also find value in consciously looking at facts from different perspectives to trigger new insights. You can accomplish this with creative thinking exercises.

Breakthrough-Pinnacle

For generating insights, one approach to looking at your information from alternative perspectives is by consciously using various “modifiers” to probe your fact base in multiple ways. This list of modifiers below is one we typically use. Simply insert the modifier into this question: What if we looked at this information (or situation) in a more ______ way?

  • Focused
  • Simplified
  • Integrated
  • Broad
  • Diversified
  • Sophisticated
  • Extreme
  • Contrary
  • Long-term
  • Immediate

Using these types of modifiers will point you in multiple productive directions as you attempt to develop new insights.

4. Invite More People to Look at the Puzzle

Each step to this point involved you or your immediate team. You can expand potential insights by inviting a broader, more diverse group to consider the available information. Including new minds creates an opportunity to identify additional insights, especially ones a group more familiar with a status quo understanding of the situation might struggle to imagine.

5. Get Away Briefly…or Longer

If your insight-generating efforts are unproductive, step away for a short period of time. You may even find it beneficial to stay away longer.

Taking a break agrees with the idea that your previous efforts to generate insights may simply have been foundation-setting that needs time for less structured and casual thinking. A pause can be beneficial in fully exploiting your foundation as a platform for new insights.

Is there a road to breakthrough thinking that works best for you?

The key to generating breakthrough thinking in our experience is that they sometimes come through using tested methods and sometimes through completely new approaches. That requires flexibility on your part. – Armada Executive Intelligence

 

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Innovation Strategy to Grow Your Business?
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Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
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  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s comeback!





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Customer experience strategy and innovation expert Woody Bendle is back today taking another swipe at big data with help in thinking through how to monetize it (vs. just parking it in the cloud and praying for rain). Here’s Woody!

Strategic Insight – Monetization Is the Real Big Data Dilemma – Woody Bendle

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for several years, you’re aware Big Data is a big topic! Just look at this Google Trends graph depicting search volume for “Big Data” the past five years.

Woody1

That’s one incredible upward trajectory wouldn’t you say!

But have you ever wondered why this topic is so hot right now?

In my opinion, we’re hearing so much about Big Data because of several related factors:

However, I feel the primary reason we continue to hear more about Big Data is due to very few companies actually realizing the purported Big Data promise – or what I call the Big Data monetization dilemma.

If you were to listen all of the sensational Big Data spiel out there, you’d have to believe that by simply having Big Data, your organization would automatically (almost magically) be smarter, faster (agile), more competitive, and ultimately, more profitable. And that’s just not the case.

What many organizations are quickly realizing is not all data are created equal.  Having a lot of this digital Big Data stuff being captured and stored doesn’t mean you can readily access it, analyze it, or provide useful answers to meaningful questions.

Unfortunately, this is the reality for most Big Data out there in the cloud today – much of it simply is not configured in a manner that allows for analysis. And, there really are no magical short cuts; there is a tried and true (but not necessarily easy) approach that will help you to realize its promise, however.

Three Strategic Questions for Monetizing Big Data

Just because storing your Big Data is relatively inexpensive doesn’t mean your Big Data strategy should be “Fire, Ready, Aim!” Have you heard anyone say something like this? “Let’s keep pumping all of our Big Data into the cloud and we’ll figure it out as we go.” If this is your approach, you will find monetizing your Big Data to be very costly!

If you expect to monetize your Big Data asset, there are three fundamental questions to continually ask, answer and address:

  1. What questions do I want/need my Big Data to answer?
  2. What types of analysis will be needed to answer our questions?
  3. How do our data need to be structured in order to perform the required analysis?

These questions might feel like a blinding flash of the obvious, but you’d be surprised by how few organizations actually start here.

By first defining the questions you want your Big Data to answer, it will be easier to determine the most appropriate type(s) of analysis your organization will need to perform – and there is a wide range of analytical complexity that can be employed (see below).

Woody2

Once you know the types of analyses you need (or want) to perform, it will be easier to define how best to structure your Big Data.

When performing statistical analysis in particular, your data need to be (or need to become) numbers that represent meaning or measure (structure).  This frankly is one of the biggest challenges with Big Data – most of it is typically unstructured (e.g., text comments, videos, website browsing streams, etc.).  While nearly all unstructured data can be transformed into structured data (numbers), it is really important to understand that not all numbers are created equal either (see below).

Woody3

Numbers can have very different meaning depending upon the level of measure they represent. Different types of measures are also better suited for different types of analyses. Given this, you can see why it is important that your Big Data are transformed (structured) in a very thoughtful and purposeful manner.

Will you monetize your big data?

My intention with this discussion was not to provide a detailed playbook for monetizing your Big Data. Rather it is to acknowledge the real and increasing challenges many are currently dealing with and offer insight for addressing some of the more fundamental problems.

As you start/revamp/update/overhaul your Big Data strategy, remember to ask, answer and address these foundational questions:

  1. What questions do I want/need my Big Data to answer?
  2. What types of analysis will be needed to answer our questions?
  3. How do our data need to be structured in order to perform the required analysis?

If you do, you can be sure that you moving your Big Data strategy in the right direction.  If you don’t, just keep in mind what happens when you try to stand on quicksand! –  Woody Bendle

 

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Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.


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There were many themes apparent in the Super Bowl advertising portfolio.

  • There was dad-dom (Nissan, Dove Men+Care).
  • There was overcoming-disability-dom (Microsoft, Nissan).
  • There was scantily-clad-dom (T-Mobile. Victoria’s Secret).
  • There was borrowing celebrity-dom. (Kia. Snickers. Wix).

Plenty of “doms” to go around.

The Crowd’s Creative Comes Out on Top in Super Bowl Advertising

Crash-The-Crowd-eBook

Download “Crash Course” at http://boomideanet.com/crash-the-crowd/

But the intriguing results from the night belong to Doritos and the creative crowd. According to Ace Metrix research “America voted for #WhenPigsFly from Doritos to be this year’s #TopSpot2015 #SB49 by scoring it higher than any of the other 2015 Doritos ads.”

Additionally, Doritos ranked in the top 5 a short time after the Super Bowl advertising wrapped up Sunday evening.

When all the Super Bowl advertising rankings are in, there may be another winner. The interesting thing here is that the spot crowdsourced by Doritos is in the running. Yes, it’s fan-based creative.

What Do You Know about Crowdsourcing Advertising?

While not every company is in a position to turn its brand over to its consumers, the Doritos fan crowd demonstrates there is bona fide creative power in the crowd.

In light of this, if your CEO is asking you, “Should we be doing this crowdsourcing thing?” you’ll want answers.

We can help you with answers.

We can help you decide if a crowd can work for your brand. And suggest how you can test the crowdsourcing waters.

Visit this link and download our free eBook about “Everything You Need To Know About Crowdsourcing Before Your CEO Asks.”

Boom-Ideanet-Download

It might just come in handy!  – Steve Wood, Boom Ideanet

 

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 the Super Bowl advertising hype, one theme receiving significant attention the past few years is the concept of crowdsourced advertising. At a surface level, crowdsourcing advertising seems to engage a broader audience, break the creative chokehold of advertising agencies, and cost less. The question is, are any of those presumptions about crowdsourcing advertising true?

With that question in mind, I’m excited to introduce Steve Wood of Boom Ideanet to the Brainzooming blog. Steve provides an insider’s perspective AND is introducing a new eBook on crowdsourcing advertising today. 

You can download the FREE eBook right here or at the bottom of Steve’s guest post and be ready with smart answers and strategies on crowdsourcing advertising when your CEO comes knocking with the idea to crowdsource your next advertising campaign.

Boom-Ideanet-Download

Crash Course – Everything You Need to Know About Crowdsourcing Advertising – Before Your CEO Asks by Steve Wood

Crash-The-Crowd-eBookThis weekend, it’s the Super Bowl® and The Ad Bowl, all wrapped up in one super-hyped package of anticipation. Regardless of how the game goes, the Super Bowl advertising will stir attention and conversation. Doritos®’ “Crash the SuperBowl” campaign will be part of the conversation, in particular because it is crowdsourced. And Doritos is not alone. Lincoln, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Pizza-Hut and others are spinning crowdsourcing, too.

So how does Doritos use a crowd to make its Super Bowl advertising?

Frito-Lay® invests a great deal of time, money and operational structure to mobilize its fan base.

Beginning in 2006, Doritos established a contest for a “fan-made” commercial. They used advertising and other channels to assemble the crowd, which is renewed each year. Crowd members are self-selected. Fans invest in an idea and a finished video. A secondary crowd of voters determines how far an idea goes in the contest.

In year nine, “Crash the Super Bowl” is far more a marketing strategy than a creative strategy. The brand likely spends as much assembling each contest’s crowd as they do airing the winning-spot. They  are promoting participation in 29 countries, hosting a website, polling and paying out prize money and benefits totaling over $1M for 30 finalists.

Is this the only way to approach crowdsourcing advertising?

Chances are your company doesn’t have those kinds of resources to apply to one advertising event. You think, “Our company will never do a Super Bowl spot. Maybe it works for Doritos, but how could it work for my brand, or retailers, even B2B companies?” Can crowdsourcing advertising really produce useful results? Is it more trouble than it’s worth? Why would I share my business challenges with a bunch of people we don’t even know? All good questions.

So on the Monday morning after the Super Bowl your CEO will likely ask, “What is this crowdsourcing thing?

Are you prepared to respond?

To get you ready to steer the CEO toward a smart strategy, we’re sharing “Everything You Need to Know About Crowdsourced Advertising Before Your CEO Asks.”

Boom-Ideanet-Download

While Doritos has been tapping the crowd one way for years, it’s still anyone’s game out there in crowdsourcing country.

Read the paper. Be the MVP. And at least be ready to play when your CEO asks, “Should we be using “the crowd?” We say Yes! – Steve Wood, Boom Ideanet

 

 

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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It’s the first post of 2015 from customer experience strategy and innovation expert Woody Bendle. Today, Woody takes on performance metrics and a strategic look at how the measures you use with dramatically new and different strategies need to also be dramatically new and different themselves. Here’s Woody!

Performance Metrics – What Gets Measured? by Woody Bendle

woody-bendleWe’ve all heard the axiom, “What gets measured gets _________.

You can fill in the blank: done, fixed, improved, managed.

The point is if you want to accomplish (fix, improve, manage) something, you need to:

  • Have some idea about the desired outcome you’re seeking (vision or objective)
  • Establish an identifiable target – or series of targets (goals)
  • Do things that help you move toward the goals and desired outcome (activities and processes)
  • Have ways to determine if you are making progress toward achieving your identifiable target(s) and/or desired outcome (measures)

If you’ve spent any time in the business world, you know there is certainly no lack of performance metrics (or measures) for determining how a business or unit is performing and whether or not you are making progress toward your desired goals or objectives.

Most of these performance metrics – or “Key Performance Indicators,” aka KPI – are tried and true and have been around for decades.  And, many businesses have achieved success by adopting standard measures and employing well-known programs, processes and procedures for collecting, reporting, and monitoring activities and progress.

The more familiar or standard your desired outcome (or end state), the easier it is to be successful by employing standard activities, processes and measures.  But if your desired end state is very different from your current state, it is highly unlikely that standard activities, processes, and measures will suffice.  If you want to be very different, you need to do things very differently and you probably also need very different measures (or metrics) to get you there.

To help make my point, let’s take a look at these four illustrative “current state / end state” scenarios.

Woody-current-end-state

The current state, represented by the yellow “Here” circle, is identical for scenarios A through D but the end state varies in how different it is from the original yellow circle.

Scenario A is understandable for many in business. The end state here is basically the same as we currently are, but bigger.  In the business world this might be analogous to growing by selling more of our existing products to existing customers or to new customers in new territories.

Scenario B also isn’t much of a stretch. The end state remains a circle, gets a little bigger, and becomes a little more different by  doing something different (i.e., adding blue) to turn the circle green. In business, this may be growing by adding a new product line and selling more to new and existing customers.

Scenario C is clearly a different end state. The end state is bigger, changed color, completely changed shape, and added a new dimension.  The business analogy might be a combination of Scenario B as well as an acquisition of a business either up or downstream in the value chain and/or possibly even another totally unrelated business.

For Scenarios A-C, there are thousands of real world examples (or business cases) managers can leverage for how an organization can get from here to there.  These suggest the types of things you need to do, and what the types of measures you need to employ in order to monitor and ensure your progress.

For Scenario D, however, all bets are off.

In Scenario D the desired end-state is frankly something that bears no resemblance to the current state. Think Apple Computers in the 1980s vs. the Apple we know today.  Scenario D’s end state looks pretty unique, complex, hard to describe and quite possibly, very difficult to duplicate.  Scenario D is actually illustrative of the types of conversations occurring at many companies today with business model innovation or business transformation.

To achieve the transformative end state in Scenario D, you will likely have to do many things very very differently.  And, you will also likely need to create and utilize completely different measures or performance metrics to help get you there.

So yes, what gets measured gets done, fixed, improved, managed, and possibly changed.  But allow me to modify the oft mis-attributed Einstein quote on insanity:

“If you are expecting to achieve radical transformational results by employing (or tweaking) existing processes, procedures, measures or metrics, you’re completely nuts!   

If your desire is to transform your business or organization, do yourself, your shareholders and your entire organization a favor. Clearly envision, define and articulate:

  • Where / what you want to be
  • All the possible paths you might take to get there
  • How long it might take to arrive at different points along the path
  • What you need to do to know if you are making progress, and if you are nearing your desired end state

If you are having a hard time getting started with this, I’m betting Mike and the folks of The Brainzooming Group have well over 100 articles that can help you out! – Woody Bendle

 

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Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.


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AEIB-GraphicAs we do occasionally, we’re featuring an excerpt today from the Armada Corporate Intelligence publication,  “Inside the Executive Suite.” This article was about succession planning best practices IF your organization has no formal succession planning and a team member resigns.

Based on surveys suggesting many organizations lack formal succession planning or don’t follow it closely, their informal strategy for succession planning best practices is a good stop gap. This is especially true early in the year when some people resign after staying around long enough to qualify for year-end bonuses.

These four quick steps for an informal strategy for succession planning could be just what you need to do this week!

Succession Planning Best Practices – 4 Quick Steps for an Informal Strategy

(From Armada Corporate Intelligence – “Inside the Executive Suite”)

Based on the particular survey you find in a quick online search, perhaps 1/3 of organizations don’t have succession planning in place – although the number could be much higher, or slightly lower!

Suffice it to say, even if succession planning is completed, the same surveys report many organizations don’t employ the individuals they would need to implement the succession plans they have.

This absence of succession planning best practices can be a particular issue right after the New Year. Employees that have stuck around only to satisfy the date for an annual bonus often turn in their resignations immediately afterward. Seeing this happen many times, it’s worthwhile to share these steps to take right now, just in case you lack succession plans.

090724-Computer-on-Desk

1. Start your informal succession planning by compiling a very short list of employees you’ll fight to keep

If you do nothing else toward succession planning before January 1, decide which employees you’d make a concerted effort to keep should they announce they are departing.

We recommend making a VERY short list because when most people resign, they have made a mental break they’ll never completely mend – even if they stay because you countered successfully. As a result, the only names on the list should be those absolutely critical to current operations or whose specialized knowledge or expertise would leave a gaping hole.

Also jot down names of employees you’d be happy to see leave, should they do so. Everyone else falls into the, “Not looking to lose them, but it might happen” category.

With this list, you’re in a much better position to implement step 2 if someone announces he or she is leaving.

2. If someone resigns, stay calm, ask questions, and listen

Suppose, it’s January 2nd or February 1st (or whatever date after which bonuses are set) and a key employee resigns. You need to stay calm since this is your opportunity to ask smart questions and listen intently. If the person resigning is on your “fight to keep” list, ask:

  • Are you willing to reconsider?
  • Have you thought about what might make you reconsider?
  • What timing commitments have you made to the new organization?

Understanding these answers begins framing your response for an employee you’re trying to keep since you should have a better idea of what a counter-offer will have to include.

Even for employees on the “not looking to lose them” list, however, asking the last question leads to Step 3

3. Negotiate more transition time if you think it is valuable

For employees not on your “fight to keep” list you’d like in place longer than the two weeks typically offered as a transition period, ask what types of flexibility they have to alter start dates with new employers.

If you think an individual would handle a longer transition period in a constructive, productive way, you may want to negotiate for three or four weeks instead of two. In so doing, you’re not trying to keep them for an extended period; you are, however, trying to buy more time to advance your succession planning and implementation.

4. Find a confidant to vent, then use alone time to think and plan

After asking questions and listening, conclude your meeting. Then go ahead and vent, if you need to do that. Contact a confidant to vent privately without concern for your venting getting back to the office. If you’re frustrated, apprehensive, or even excited, none of these are appropriate emotions to display publicly. Get them out, and return to your calm state quickly.

At that point, begin thinking about what moves you could make to replace the person leaving from among internal candidates. Even if you don’t have someone completely prepared for the job, do you have someone ready for an opportunity that challenges them in dramatically different or more significant ways? If so, there might be no better time to grow them than through stepping into a much bigger role.

Are you ready for people changes with an informal strategy for succession planning?

These steps certainly don’t constitute a full succession planning strategy. If you don’t have one, however, it’s a solid checklist to work through should any staff members announce their departures after the first of the year. – Armada Corporate Intelligence

 

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If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


 

 

 

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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