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When I was still in my corporate job, I not only was writing Brainzooming, but also did a five-day a week business humor blog called Funny Eye for the Corporate Guy.

I’m not sure how I created all that content, but when you’re not responsible for sales, it must clear up some extra time and brain cells for creating more content. One of the my favorite features from the Funny Eye for the Corporate Guy blog was called, “Economist’s Corner.” It was based off of an economist I worked with who, while he didn’t diagram things in Venn diagrams, inspired me to see things he said in that format. That perspective extended to Christmas music. I would sit in meetings this time of year and wonder how to diagram popular Christmas music as if he were explaining it to a university class.

On a lighter note for today, here are some of those cartoons, just in time for the onslaught of Christmas music in EVERY store you’ll visit!

Enjoy, have a few laughs, or at least see if you can figure out what these Venn diagrams are conveying!

Economist’s Corner – Christmas Music Meets Venn Diagrams

Blue-Christmas

Jingle-Bells

Jingle-Bells-Two

Please-Come-Home-Christmas

Rudolph-Reindeer-Grandma

Santa-Claus-Coming-to-Town

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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“This week was the weirdest week in my life.” As I was “travel blogging” those words on the plane ride back from Boston, the week wasn’t even over yet . . . On the upside, always try to be the “bright spot of the day” for everyone you encounter . . . I can’t say it often enough: If you are willing to “listen,” God will put you exactly where you need to be . . . Some organizations make decisions based on deciding. Others make them based on no one disagreeing. That’s a huge difference . . . I think “Adorable as it is infuriating” (via Emma Alvarez Gibson) could be the definition for smooth jazz . . . You put the bits and pieces together, somebody packages them with a wallop, and you have no idea what hit you.

Travel-Blogging-Boston-Leg-Room

The Week in Baseball

When your local team is in the post-season, you want your flight crew to be from your home city. That way, you get score updates during the flight . . . Royals Hall of Famer Frank White was on my plane to Boston. What an incredible hero he is for Kansas City . . . Joe Maddon is out, and Ned Yost is in the World Series again. They are both smart managers, so let’s get past the Ned Yost doesn’t know how to manage and Joe Maddon is a genius crap.

Travel Blogging in Boston

Travel-Blogging-Boston-Compilation

On a long flight, there always seems to be one flight attendant that stops doing the job and just hangs out talking to a person (or people) in a specific row . . . It’s one thing to have the need for speed. It’s quite another to have the need to pee . . . A recommendation for when you’re in Boston? The Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. It’s as pricey as everything else, but the room actually had space to walk around in it . . . There is nothing like a Boston accent . . . There’s a reason I don’t like to dine alone. One reason is you get the worst seats (as I share a table with a couple where I’m at the end of the table in the dark) . . . If you have to cook your own dinner at the table, you should get a hefty deal on the price, don’t you think?

In the Projects

Don’t make a big effort to do something only to turn around and ignore it . . . It’s so easy to piss away two weeks in about 30 seconds through inflexibility, lack of information, and an insistence on everyone participating all the time . . .  It’s important to have a way to put the screws to someone, just in case that’s what is needed . . . A friend who is perceptive, honest, and willing to challenge you when you need challenging is such a blessing to have. Even if having one can be scary and shake you to your core . . . That smell is coming from someone else. I’m not sure who it is, but it’s definitely not coming from me . . . It’s not until you get what you thought you wanted that you realize you were a LOT better off before, but simply didn’t realize it.

Lesson for the week: You can be oblivious for only so long, so grab a clue and get on with life! – Mike Brown

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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!

Traveling Deep in the Heart of Texas

“Danger. Danger, Will Robinson.” Sometimes danger is scary. Sometimes danger is attractive. Those latter situations are the ones that are going to REALLY get you . . . Something is something….clap, clap, clap, clap….deep in the heart of Texas . . . I love staying in places in cities that make walking to things viable . . . “She calls me ‘baby,’ she calls everybody ‘baby.'”

L-Austin-TX-Elevator

I appreciate conference producers that will let you, in the moment, completely deconstruct a presentation into something you couldn’t have ever planned for, but turns out to be a unique experience for the audience . . . Too bad unique isn’t repeatable . . . Something I hate? People who refuse to leave their phone number because they think your phone displayed their number. THAT doesn’t always happen . . . Sleeping? We don’t need to stinkin’ sleeping. That works for only so long, however.

Sometimes when you are trying to accomplish an unfamiliar mission, it feels weird when you actually accomplish it. In fact, it can feel like failure . . . Beating something up to improve it is one thing. Beating something up because you don’t know what else to do is another thing, and you should stop it right away . . . Having someone channeling an early Sandra Bernhardt attitude in a creative session is not advantageous.

Travel Blogging at an Airport Bar

L-Skybox-Bar-DFW

The guys that paid their tab 20 minutes ago are still sitting at their table in the airport bar. Glad I didn’t hang out waiting for them to leave . . . There may be a pretty strong correlation between doing tequila shots in an airport bar and missing your flight. The correlation may be even greater with doing tequila shots and then not being able to read when you need to board the flight you’ve been rebooked on after you missed your original flight.

If you’re Catholic, don’t ever pass up a priest on the way to get on an airplane . . . If you are of a certain age, it’s funny how you still feel like you should call someone when you pass through their city even though the call doesn’t cost you more than calling them any other time from any other place . . . If you’re confused, just wait. You may find you need to know just right around the corner.

L-St-Marys

Facebook Friends

The last Facebook friend-worthy person I met on a flight was 7 months ago. I don’t know whether that’s a bad sign or a good sign . . .  I was in row 17, if you know what I mean . . . So far, for the woman in 17F, I’ve shown her how to put her phone in airplane mode, told her how to spell Phoenix, and let her know what time we’re supposed to land in Kansas City. And that’s all before we have taken off yet. You gotta love travel blogging! – Mike Brown

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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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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

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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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 things 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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Mike Brown

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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?

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

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

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 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

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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