2

There is a line in the movie “The Big Chill” that has stuck with me: “Sometimes, you just have to let art . . . flow . . . over you.”

That’s a great strategic thinking for art – and life.

Letting life flow over you, however, is easier said than done for most analytical people.

But it is wonderful advice you CAN extend to other situations in life.

The benefit of doing so will be a calmer demeanor and a lot less angst than sweating every detail.

If you can let the “art” that is part of your life flow over you, you can also:

  • Appreciate the bigger picture without overlooking the subtle, unexpected details that make life special
  • Adjust your time and effort expended on projects to ensure the biggest overall impact across everything you do
  • Tolerate and enjoy unplanned variations that can lead to new creative paths
  • Worry less, especially over things you are never going to control

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

So take my strategic tinking advice.

Try letting life flow over you more today than you did yesterday. - 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 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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2

imageWhen it comes to creative thinking exercises, I’m typically a proponent of introducing people to incremental creative thinking before trying to dunk them into extreme creativity.

That preference is predicated on getting people more familiar and comfortable with smaller creative steps. In that way, the first creative step you ask them to take isn’t such a doozie.

Sometimes, however, when it comes to creative thinking exercises, starting small is not the best strategy to follow.

We were using a combo creative thinking exercise recently. We had asked creative thinking session participants for three progressive creative leaps. For the first step, it was okay for their response to be a conventional idea. We wanted to stretch the creative thinking, however, for steps two and three, with the third answer being a strong example of extreme creativity.

While that was the plan, the mindset we first set was too incremental creatively and too lasting.

Our initial question got them too stuck on what’s happening today.

Subsequently, absent very strong and clear extreme creativity inducing questions for steps two and three, we had to work extra hard to move everyone toward more outrageous ideas. We eventually pushed toward extreme creativity in their responses, but it was much harder than it needed to be.

The lesson?

While it’s not always the case, sometimes you do need to go big creatively right from the start before you are forced to go home with overly familiar ideas. – Mike Brown

 

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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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1

It’s wonderful to feature four important brand strategy questions from customer experience strategy and innovation expert Woody Bendle. In the course of his typical daily routine, Woody has a more than healthy commute by Kansas City standards. Woody texted me about this brand strategy lesson on the way home one recent evening and followed it up the next day with this post reminding those responsible for brand strategy to think about what will happen when our ideas actually meet up with customers. Here’s Woody!

woody-bendleBrand Strategy – When “Good Enough” Isn’t by Woody Bendle

“The enemy of the good is great.”

Have you heard this expression before? 

If you haven’t, the sentiment behind this expression is this: If you are continually reluctant to move forward until you have something that is great or perfect, you might sometimes fail to make valuable progress by getting something out there that is pretty darned good – but not great.

In many situations, I wholeheartedly subscribe to this philosophy.

But, there are occasions when you absolutely need to be better than “good enough.”

One of those occasions involves your brand strategy and every time you are presenting your brand.

Brand Strategy Isn’t the Place for Good Enough

I recently pulled off the interstate to fuel up at a truck stop. As I was fueling, I happened to notice, for some reason, a display attached to the pump about never paying full price for gas again.

Shell-1

I really didn’t think too much about this display until I went around to the end of the pump to grab the squeegee and clean off my windshield. This is what I saw.

140410-Shell3

OOPS!

The original message that got my interest about never paying full price again didn’t come through on the Shell brochure holder.

There, thanks to the application holder lid’s placement, the “Never pay full price again” card became the “pay full price again” card.

I actually did a double-take, shook my head and wondered to myself if anyone had even thought about trying to stick some brochures in the holders to see what it looked like before they had a gazillion of them printed and sent all over the country. The sad thing is if they had just taken the two logos at the bottom of the brochure and moved them to the very top and shifted the rest of the content down,  the message would’ve been read very clearly.

Lessons learned, and it’s a great reminder that design and layout matters.

A Brand Strategy that is “Good Enough” Isn’t

I have no idea if anyone at Shell is even aware of this issue. It did, however, serve as a valuable reminder that every time you are putting your brand in the marketplace, you need to ask yourself several important brand strategy questions:

  1. What am I trying to convey / communicate about my brand or my brand’s promotion?
  2. Is the message clear and compelling – not to me but to the customer?
  3. How will the message be put in front of the customer?
  4. What exactly will the customer see, hear, think, and feel when my message is put in front of them?

And finally, as you are working through the above questions, you’d be well served to think like my Missouri neighbors and just say “Show-Me” a little more often. Woody Bendle

 

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0

imageAre you interested in pursuing a corporate career? Are you in the midst of a corporate career already? Or maybe you are wondering how in the hell you get out of a corporate career and land on your feet?

Corporate Career Success – 35 Articles for Arriving, Thriving, and Surviving

If you find yourself in one of those situations, here are thirty-five articles from the Brainzooming blog archives to help you in arriving, thriving, and surviving for corporate career success.

Launching Your Corporate Career

Developing Your Skills for Corporate Career Success

Sustaining Corporate Career Success

Dealing with Mid-Career Stagnation

Troubleshooting Yourself

Troubleshooting Your Career Situation

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 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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1

There are many incredible authors writing compelling books on improving career success.

Yet instead of immediately running from one book and point of view to another, ask yourself this basic question:

Before trying to learn and adopt someone else’s personal success story, what more can I do to understand my own personal success story?

imageAs so often happens, this message came together over the course of a day from multiple directions. The common theme with each piece of the message was the importance of knowing what creates success for you before rushing to adopt an external view of success.

It’s a lot easier for many people to look for answers by bouncing from one author’s 5 tips for success to another’s 5 lessons of success. 

It’s vital, however, to know what success means for YOU. And right after that, it’s important to have a solid handle on how you improve your own likelihood of success by finding, adapting, and/or creating the work and personal situations to  support achieving personal success.

5 Questions to Revisit Your Personal Success Story

You simply have to KNOW what will lead to improving your career success.

If you struggle with this, work through these five questions to help you get a handle on this:

  1. In the instances where I’ve enjoyed the best career success previously, what were the situations, themes, types of people, relationships, opportunities, and challenges involved?
  2. How did the characteristics I just identified work together to pave the way for success?
  3. In situations where I have not enjoyed success, what things got in the way of creating success?
  4. In those same situations, what things weren’t in place that appear necessary, in retrospect, to support my career success?
  5. From the exploration in these questions, what’s my short list of personal critical success factors?

We actively use the concept of critical success factors with clients to ensure we’re improving the likelihood of organizational success. You can and should use the concept personally as well.

Think about critical success factors in two ways:

  1. What needs to be in place to maximize the likelihood of success?
  2. What things need to be avoided, prevented, or eliminated because their presence will minimize the likelihood of success?

See what I mean about your inability to READ your way to critical success factors?

Your knowledge of them comes from reflection and exploration of your past and deliberate experimentation in your future.

Improving Career Success

So put down the popular author’s personal success story, and spend some conscious and quiet time if you haven’t already, to revisit and learn from your own personal success story.

Ultimately, it’s the only one you’ll earn a grade for in this crazy thing we call life. - 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 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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1

Clementine-AsleepIf you tend to be an overachiever when it comes to delivering on expectations, maybe that’s not the best idea in the world for improving career success.

Sure, there are some areas where it’s pretty important to over-deliver. But if you do it uniformly with little regard to the situation, it could be time to consciously deliver less and invest your newly available time, effort, and energy in other places.

By the way, the first paragraph has been me for much of my career.

Increasingly, however, I see the need to differentiate where and how I over-deliver.

7 Questions for Doing Less than Before

Here are some questions I’m using to identify opportunities to begin doing less than before:

  • Is something really important to me, but I’m the only one who thinks it is?
  • Will anyone notice the impact of delivering less?
  • Will there be obvious unused leftovers if I over-deliver?
  • If something is finished, will adding to it only make it seem less finished?
  • Have the standards of everyone that matters already been surpassed?
  • Is it true that more effort won’t result in more beneficial results?
  • Will spending more time on something that has a little room for improvement create disproportionately negative impacts on something else that has MORE room for improvement?

Improving Career Success

I will readily admit these questions are more easily asked than answered. In turn, they’re more easily answered than the answers implemented.

But these questions ARE a start to better connecting productive effort and results in the hope of strengthening the results we can all deliver and improving career success.  - Mike Brown

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4

Creating-a-Strategic-ImpactWith any new initiative in an organization, it’s not enough to simply do the strategic planning on how to shape and implement it if you really care about creating strategic impact.

Even before launching strategic planning with a new initiative, you should start figuring out how the new initiative will be successfully sold and implemented.

Doing this involves many of the same steps as the actual strategic planning, and it’s incredibly beneficial to do it upfront. The approach you develop should influence how the initiative is developed (and who participates in the subsequent strategic planning) to maximize opportunities for success.

12 Strategic Planning Questions Before You Start

Before you launch strategic planning, here are twelve questions to ask and answer in three key areas:

  1. Issues to help or challenge the initiative
  2. Decision making
  3. The implementation process

1. Issues to Help or Challenge the Initiative

Identify broader issues in the company that might impact a new initiative’s success:

  • What are the issues that could help or hinder implementation?
  • How likely is each issue to be a factor?
  • How do we address these issues to enhance the enabling ones and mitigate the challenging issues?

2. Decision Making

Identify who will decide on recommendations about the new initiative as it is implemented:

  • Who are the decision makers and who influences them?
  • What is important to them?
  • What motivates them?
  • Do they support the effort conceptually?
  • How do they process information and make decisions?

3. The Implementation Process

Identify who will likely have to participate in implementation

  • What motivates those who will be involved in implementation?
  • What reluctance will those involved in implementation have relative to implementation?
  • What challenges will they have (skill sets, capabilities, resources, etc.) with implementation?
  • Do these individuals like to shape things, do things, or both?

Creating Strategic Impact Before Strategic Planning Starts

If you can get a handle on the answers to these twelve questions, not only will you be better prepared for strategic planning, but your path to new initiative implementation has a much better chance of creating strategic impact. – Mike Brown

 

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The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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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