1

Most futile words you can ever utter over the phone while standing in an airport security line: “Delete those tweets.” Seriously . . . Best line ever delivered before a hang up on a phone conversation taking place in an airport security line: “I’ve been up since 5 a.m., dude. Deal with it.” . . . Both of these were delivered by the same guy . . . I was reported to TSA for suspicious activity in the security line. I wasn’t completely apoplectically pissed off about traveling. THAT is suspicious . . . It’s rare you get a fun person next to you in the TSA line. I had one next to me the other day, and I went over to him after we both got through to shake his hand and thank him for having some fun while we were standing in line . . . By the way, I’m not sure why Omaha, NE has security lines that would rival Midway airport. Can anyone explain that to me?

Omaha-Airport-Fun-Guy

It’s fascinating how you can make seven decisions all intended to save travel dollars, but in total, they wind up costing you more than if you had made a few more expensive decisions along the way . . . Big thanks to my neighbor for going on a road trip with me for the sole purpose of driving my workshop supplies to Nebraska since I’d be flying to Nebraska (and couldn’t take them along) two days later. It made a potentially wasted afternoon so fun . . . Even if everything else is okay, getting to your hotel room at 1:15 a.m. is a clear sign of bad planning . . . And btw, bad planning for your connecting flights used to be a $50 deal. Now it’s like a $500 deal and not worth the trouble of making a change . . . Does anyone else suspect the percent of people in airports with bad tattoos HAS to be higher than in the general population?

At a dinner the other night, we had to go around the table in a crowded restaurant and share our stories. While a quiet, mild-mannered man from California at the other end of the table told his story, I leaned over to the person next to me and said, “I think he said he shot a man in Reno once, just to watch him die.” She said I was deranged . . . The difference between driving from St. Louis to Carbondale, IL at 55 mph vs. 80ish mph is night and day . . . I handed out orange TicTacs claiming they were creativity pills, and they seemed to work to make people more creative. Go figure!

Orange-Tic-Tac

Lesson learned during this recent trip: When you’re doing a media event, look at the cameras. Ignore the people, and look at the cameras. I’ve got that for next time . . . At the start of a Brainzooming workshop the other day, the video person (a woman) and I spent about 90 seconds unbuttoning and buttoning my shirt and playing around with my pockets trying to get two microphones placed on me. In a moment of exasperation, I told the audience, “That’s the first time a women was undressing me that really wasn’t that exciting.”

It’s amazing (let me repeat…AMAZING) when you can get together with a college friend you haven’t seen in decades and have a dinner conversation that is a pure delight. AND you want to continue the conversation later . . . And how crazy is it when you see a teacher you had for one week in grad school completely by chance and recognize him decades later? THAT is a blog post all on its own . . . Self-talk: That wasn’t me. No matter what you might think, that wasn’t me. I promise . . . You hear more bragging and unbelievable stories on a Southwest flight on Thursday night than Monday morning. Do you think THAT many people had THAT good of a week? Yeah, me neither.  – Mike Brown

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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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4

Going back through extreme creativity content for a Brainzooming workshop prompted a new look at Peter’s’ Laws. We used these sometimes way over-the-top laws in developing our first set of extreme creativity questions.

Then, after a conversation about how a leader can develop and implement a strategic initiative without letting everyone KNOW a strategic initiative is underway, it prompted spelling out The Weasel Principles of Getting Things Done.

Weasel

The name is a bit of a misnomer. It springs from a college nickname relating to someone’s ability to maneuver into and out of difficult situations in the pursuit of getting things done with no apparent political or social harm to the maneuvering. In other words, it’s about carrying out project management techniques that are vital to getting things done when thing REALLY need to get done.

This list will likely grow over time, but here’s a first version of The Weasel Principles of Getting Things Done, just to get you thinking and talking!

Project Management Techniques – The Weasel Principles of Getting Things Done

Weasel-Principles

What would you add to this list of project management techniques? You know, the ones where you have to twist and turn a bit to hold a project together and bring it completion.

If you’d like a pdf download of The Weasel Principles of Getting Things Done, you can grab it right here.

Mike Brown

 

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0

Every now and then, we’ll run a post that recaps Facebook and Twitter updates, blog post scraps, and other random creative thinking, all smushed together, Larry King-style. If you enjoy those, today’s your day!

Creative Thinking on Love and Nastiness

If we’re willing to self-talk at the top of our lungs, we can tell ourselves anything without hearing the blatant truth swirling all around us. . . In the film about the band Kansas called “Miracles out of Nowhere,” Rolling Stone writer, David Wild, remarked on the band’s humble origins in my home state, “It’s hard to get your ass kissed in Kansas.” So true, so true. . . An honest to goodness Walmart moment: A woman (in a car in the parking lot with the windows rolled down) delivering what sounded like a church sermon while talking on the phone to someone obviously more interested in sexual exploits than God, as she stated ever so bluntly, “It doesn’t matter if she’ll let you [FILL IN EXPLICIT SEXUAL ACT]. God don’t care about that.”

Perhaps the most dangerous thing I’ve ever said to my wife is, “When you’re done trying to stubborn that to death, let me know, and I’ll help you do it” . . . I survived that remark to realize that love is figuring out all those little things you can say and do you KNOW will get under the skin of your partner, and then removing them from your personality and vowing to never ever ‘go there’ with any of them . . . Business wisdom from Mother Angelica on one of her TV shows, “If you took ‘but’ out of the dictionary, you’d be forced to tell the truth.”

Pencil-Med

When someone says they don’t believe in dogma or want to have any part of it, watch out, because there is a high likelihood they are about to introduce their OWN dogma, which is of course very acceptable to them . . . A school anxiety dream (i.e., having chemistry and accounting quizzes today that seemed far off at one point and I knew I’d study in advance, but never did and now it’s too late) woke me up at 4 in the morning. Guess those type of dreams never go away, no matter how long you’ve been away from school . . . If you’d have told me 15 years ago I’d hate a week where there was no time to exercise and would LOVE getting an hour of cardio exercise wedged into a busy schedule, I’d have told you that you were crazy. See, you CAN change, too.

One day, someone typed the search term “sleeping with my sociopath boss” and reached the Brainzooming blog. We’re happy to help in any way we can. . . A scary “closed blog” test for content creators: Give a blogger a list of his/her own post titles that include numbered lists and see how many of the lists they could reproduce from memory . . . When your alarm goes off and you haven’t been to bed yet, that’s a bad sign. And eating sushi at 2 a.m. isn’t an exactly a good sign, either . . . Producing events and meetings will make you either a yeller or someone who hardly ever yells. You get to pick which side of that fence you want to live. My advice? Pick wisely, because your reputation will be based on your pick. . . Why do people reply “Maybe” to an invitation? Perhaps the spirit is willing, but the event is weak?

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Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Mike Brown

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I spotted a Bloomberg Businessweek story the other day that was a corporate case study, in effect, of the Radio Shack business strategy and the brand’s upward and then long downward trajectory.

One sentence in the Radio Shack case study article says volumes about corporate leadership and how corporate success and failure stories turn into history.

Here is the sentence:

“When asked to pinpoint when everything went wrong, they fell into two main groups: those who argue it had happened right after they left, and those who say the damage had already been done when they arrived.”

That is how the big lie ALWAYS works!

You see so many cases where what really happened in a corporation is reimagined, reinterpreted, and re-reported to suit the personal business storyline that best advances someone’s own career.

Little-Liars

One classic example of the corporate case study big lie in action that I witnessed multiple times involves a celebrity CMO on the speaking circuit who had a several year run at a brand headed for extinction. While he was still at the troubled brand, his keynote presentations consisted of talking about how screwed up the business strategy was before he got there, but that under his incredible CMO guidance, EVERYTHING was turning around masterfully.

That was the story only until he left the still-collapsing brand, however.

THEN his keynotes changed to focus on how screwed up the business strategy was before he got there and how it returned to being completely screwed up immediately AFTER he left!

Well OF COURSE that’s what happened!

NOT!

Would a business celebrity misrepresent the truth?

Yes, ALL DAY LONG!

The lesson?

Be careful whenever an executive shares a corporate case study about a troubled brand where he or she was previously employed. If all the big problems are timed for either before the person got there or right after the person left, go ahead and make the leap . . . that person is telling the big lie of very failed corporate case study! – Mike Brown

 

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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

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It seems that everyone you meet has creative job titles that include a C-level designation these days, even if it’s just a “for show” title.

You quickly learn this when a business card also lists a person’s REAL title, which is more around a manager level. So they get to say they are a C-something or other, but still get paid at an M-level.

And everybody is happy, sort of.

7 New Creative Job Titles for the C-Level

In the interests of adding to the list creative job title around the real or imagined C-suite, here are seven C-titles we’d like to throw into the mix.

business-cards

CRO – Chief Recreation Officer

In charge of video games, bean bags, and all other apparatus critical to a positive corporate activity vibe.

CVO – Chief Viral Officer

Responsible for both creating engaging social media content AND dispensing antibiotics during cold and flu season.

CPO – Chief Pet Officer

Makes sure all office environments are safe, comfortable, and accommodating for four-, two-, and no-footed friends who accompany their owners to work.

CIO – Chief Indignation Officer

The senior executive who is even more pissed off about how things are going than you are.

CMO – Chief Matrix Officer

Stands at the intersection of line and functional organizations and decides who wins in their ongoing disputes about which is more important.

CDO – Chief Disruption Officer

Responsible for undermining currently successful business lines while hoping magic happens with some wild idea someone in marketing crowdsourced.

CMO – Chief Meme Officer

The position responsible for creating inventive crowdsourced meme apps at Bill Cosby’s fan club. In case you’re interested, this position is currently open.

Which of these creative job titles do you prefer?

If you see your job responsibilities match up to any of these creative job titles, you may want to see if you can get a C-level added to your business card, even IF your pay stays the same. – Mike Brown

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I’m not a frequent plane talker.

My mother says I have a look that says, “Don’t talk to me.” If that’s true, it’s not because I consciously TRY to display that kind of look. I will admit, though, that small talk isn’t one of my favorite activities.

And on a quiet plane flight, I typically get a ton of writing done.

When someone starts airplane talking though, I’m going to listen, especially when the person is a riot.

That’s what was happening on the first leg of the flight home from Content Marketing World in Cleveland late yesterday afternoon.

Rolling in the Aisles

Blogging away while the plane was boarding, I watched with interest as a woman was rearranging luggage in the overhead bin. She grabbed a small bag and asked the owner to stow it under her seat so more luggage (specifically her own carry-on bag) would fit.

She sat down in the middle seat between me and a guy having a particularly loud phone conversation.

I think OUR conversation started with, “What’s the matter with people who think they should have loud conversations wherever they are?”

We quickly discovered we’d both spoken at Content Marketing World. Her name is Ahava Leibtag, author of “The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web,” (affiliate link) and the niece of the late U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (who was from Russell, Kansas, just 30 miles from where I grew up).

SHUT UP . . . or not!

I can’t begin to replay all the hilarious ground we covered. Suffice it to say Ahava should be a stand up comedian. And during the flight, she developed her go-to, comedic catch phrase, complete with 37 different inflections of it based on the situation. I can’t reveal the comedic catch phrase, though, until she secures the URL.

Brand Strategy

Amid the laughs, Ahava also weighed in (repeatedly) on the Brainzooming brand strategy, insisting we re-brand immediately as ZoomyZoome (with two long e sounds after the zooms).

ZoomieZoomeSueme

Based on the name alone, we should be able to raise millions in venture capital, since it sounds as if it would be a hyper-hyped app! And if we want to extend the brand strategy to become a shady ambulance-chasing law firm, THAT name would be ZoomyZoome and Sue Me. You can see the results of this early brand strategy exploration for yourself.

Airplane Talk

You may ask about this post, “What is happening to the Brainzooming blog?”

I know, sue me. (See what I just did there?)

After The Beatles tribute band post the other day, I promised the very next post would be serious.

Sorry.

The NEXT post will be serious.

But this was the funniest airplane talk ever. And after a long week, you just can’t keep that to yourself.

So, what is your funniest airplane talk ever? Wanna talk about it? – Mike Brown

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3

It never fails.

If I am creating a new presentation, I go through the same tortured creative thinking stages EVERY TIME.

As I pass the various STAGES, they always feel familiar based on past experiences.

Yet no matter how much creative thinking I do or how much I recognize the stages and WANT to skip over those that cause the most frustration and anxiety, I repeat them every time while creating a new presentation.

image

Creative Thinking Stages for a New Presentation

After seeing how my last new version of a presentation went, and in the midst of creating not one new presentation, but working on three new presentations this past week, I listed these twenty-five stages of creative thinking in the hopes of avoiding the most painful ones.

I am not sure that hope will ever come to fruition, but at least now, there is a road map to know where I am at in the twenty-fives stages of creating a new presentation.

  1. I’m tired of all the old presentations, so how about creating a new presentation?
  2. What have I gotten myself into here?
  3. This outline for the new presentation came together pretty easily.
  4. I have a lot of previous material I can reuse.
  5. There’s so much raw material here it’s tough to wade through and get it organized.
  6. I should perform some secondary research to test my ideas.
  7. There are a lot of other people already addressing this, and they’re probably smarter and have better experience than I do.
  8. I’ve got a mess on my hands and the original outline for the new presentation doesn’t make sense anymore.
  9. Maybe it would work to start over, do some more creative thinking, and develop a new outline in PowerPoint.
  10. The new presentation outline seems to work, of course, there isn’t a strong beginning or end, so now it’s just a matter of moving SOME of the big file of content into the new PowerPoint.
  11. I don’t have nearly enough material to fill the time.
  12. I’m going to have to develop a whole new handout, and who has time for that?
  13. I just got the attendee list, and EVERYBODY who’s coming to this session already knows WAY MORE than I do.
  14. This shorter version is finally starting to make some sense.
  15. With the beginning added, the new presentation feels good.
  16. Looking at it now, this new presentation is about 20% too long so I’m going to have to cut some slides.
  17. I really don’t have a lot of this content committed to memory, so I had better listen to recordings of similar content I’ve already presented.
  18. There are several stories from those recordings that should go into this presentation.
  19. The new presentation is close, but going back through the attendee list, I’m still not sure what they’re going to learn.
  20. I’ll work through the notes on the plane there.
  21. After hand writing my notes on the plane, this new presentation really clicks, especially after a few more tweaks.
  22. Sitting here the night before, it’s still way too long and the ideas aren’t meaty enough for these attendees.
  23. Going through the presentation last night, I fell asleep because it was so boring to me, so it’s going to be boring for the attendees.
  24. It’s time to give the new presentation, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.
  25. That went REALLY well.

With the new presentations I’ve been creating the last week, I’m at around stages ten through thirteen on all of them.

I have a long way and a short time to go until stage twenty-five.

Wish me the best! – Mike Brown

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation and strategic thinking success 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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