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At a Brainzooming internal branding strategy workshop I was presenting, one attendee remarked about wanting more vision statement examples. From what she described, her company’s leadership had rushed to develop big strategy statements (such as a core purpose, vision statement, or mission statement), but was now rethinking its direction. She saw documenting as many vision statement examples as possible as a huge help to getting it right this next time.

Mountains-Vision

I suggested that instead of starting with a pre-defined list of big strategy statements her company needed, they should invest time in more thoroughly what mattered for the organization’s success and its intended direction. Only after that exploration, they could identify what types of statements (and the content of each) that would make sense.

6 Steps to Figuring out Your Company’s Big Strategy Statements

While I didn’t have time to spell out the steps other than writing down all the vision statement examples she would hear during the conference, here is a way to explore first and figure out the right big strategy statements you need afterward:

  1. Start with finding the right ideas that describe and represent your brand.
  2. Once you’ve found the ideas, begin identifying words and phrases that best capture the ideas in multiple ways.
  3. Now think about any other places where the words you are considering are used. What are the others words, phrases, and structures in these other locations? How might they fit in your situation?
  4. With this big set of words, add a dose of aspiration. If you super-sized what you want your brand to become and its description, what other words and phrases would you imagine as possibilities?
  5. Now add one more mega-dose of aspiration. If you used language that was so glorious and strong that your competitors would shudder, what would it be?
  6. Now that you have an even bigger set of language, start playing with combinations of words and phrases to describe your brand’s current situation and the difference you are trying to make (mission statement)future aspirations (vision statement), and reasons for existence (core purpose).

These steps will more readily lead to big strategy statements that work hard for your organization. THEN if you need to see some vision statement examples to put the finishing touches on what you’re doing, go ahead and do it. – 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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We put this infographic together for a client today to distill The Brainzooming Group approach into a few images depicting what we do to pave the way for a great strategic thinking workshop.

6 Guidelines for a Great Strategic Thinking Workshop

Strategic-Thinking-Workshop

If you would like to go deeper on any of these topics, here are links to articles for each of the six areas:

Here’s to a productive and great strategic thinking workshop – not only today, but every time you bring a smart group of people together! – Mike Brown

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

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help  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. Contact 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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Whenever possible, we try to help clients select a mix of people to participate in group strategy exercises. We review the importance of including front-line decision makers, functional experts, and individuals with creative perspectives. We are also proponents for reaching beyond familiar people that are always involved strategic planning meetings and drive the outcomes of group strategy exercises. We recommend involving emerging leaders and individuals that will actively challenge a group in a constructive way on its recommended direction.

When you push for that varied of a group, what do you do with the team members so that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the group’s work?

9 Ideas on How to Involve a Team in Group Strategy Exercises

Group-Strategy-Exercises

You can try these nine ideas for how to involve team in group strategy exercises:

  1. Place people in roles that accentuate their strengths and best characteristics.
  2. Assign others to roles that stretch their strengths in new ways.
  3. Spread people throughout the group via roles that capitalize on their strengths but are unfamiliar to them.
  4. Turn strategy into a game and let the team assign roles to specific team members.
  5. Create teaching opportunities for more expert participants so they can help others grow and develop in new ways through strategy planning.
  6. Break up the big answers the group is trying to develop into simple, targeted questions so team members can share their perspectives in group strategy exercises.
  7. Invite participants that want to help assemble the targeted answers from number 6 into the big answers to take on that challenge.
  8. Have habitual naysayers play the challenger role to test how strong the ideas really are before the group decides to act on them.
  9. Select naturally positive participants to work on a contingency plan if the strategy ends up being too successful.

Not all of those will work in every situation, obviously, but this is a checklist we’d use to actively and successfully involve a team in group strategy exercises. In the right roles, we’ll get more done faster, with strong input from the widest group of participants.  Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Improve Strategic Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders need high-impact ways to develop employees that can provide input into strategic planning and then turn it into results. This Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons leaders can use to boost collaboration, meaningful strategic conversations, and results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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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’ve mentioned my surprise upon realizing strategic planning techniques The Brainzooming Group uses seem to have emerged from Bible passages. Granted, I’ve been to many masses during the last seventeen years. It always startles me, however, when a new example appears.

This happened yesterday at mass with a Bible reading I suspect isn’t all that familiar.

On the 5th Monday of the Lenten season every year, the first Bible reading at mass is from the book of the prophet Daniel. The reading is the story of Susanna, falsely accused of adultery by two elders, and sentenced to death. Daniel, however, sees that an injustice is about to occur and intervenes on Susanna’s behalf to save her.

Susanna and the Elders

You’re probably asking how this story has anything to do with Brainzooming strategic planning techniques?

For whatever reason, I’ve found myself explaining several times in the last few days how we use a wide variety of strategic planning techniques to gather participant input into strategies.

Sometimes the best strategic thinking approach involves a large, in-person group. Often, smaller groups are better because more people will be actively generating ideas. In other cases, it’s vital to ask questions one-on-one, whether via a personal interview or a survey. We go the one-on-one route for various reasons. These include situations where we’re seeking factual information or the answer may vary based on who is in the room.

Lo and behold, the Susanna and the elders account from Daniel (Chapter 13) directly relates to one of our strategic planning techniques for when to ask questions one-on-one.

Daniel suspected the two elders were lying about seeing Susanna commit adultery. He asked that they be separated and each questioned on the same point of factual information: Under what type of tree did you see Susanna commit the act of adultery you allege?

Sure enough, when the two elders were together, their stories matched. When they were separated and asked about this point of information, they each blurted out a different type of tree. This discrepancy freed Susanna and the elders incurred the punishment (i.e., death) they tried to press upon Susanna.

While our experiences with The Brainzooming Group prove out why it makes sense to ask questions of individuals in these two situations (when facts are involved and when the answer may change in a group setting), it’s always reassuring when the Bible reconfirms our strategic thinking techniques! – Mike Brown

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Looking for Ways to Develop a Successful
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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.

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Download this free, concise eBook to:

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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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Many organizations are in the early stages of executing new strategies for this year.

That is when you discover whether you have a solid, implementable plan or something that (maybe) looks good on paper, but doesn’t work well when you try to execute the strategy.

9 Strategic Thinking Questions for Helping Teams Execute Strategy

Team-Execute-Strategy

When it comes to helping teams execute strategy, we recommend leaders ask themselves these strategic thinking questions before convening the team to launch a new initiative.

  1. Do you personally believe in the strategy?
  2. Is it believable to others?
  3. Were serious, strategic people involved in creating the strategy?
  4. Is the plan realistic – and that doesn’t mean “easy” – just that you can see how it comes together in a reasonable way?
  5. Is the strategy specific and simple enough that people will understand their roles?
  6. Does the implementation team have an opportunity to weigh in and make smart adjustments that improve implementation?
  7. Are there early indicators to signal if something is amiss?
  8. Are there provisions for correcting potential issues?
  9. Is there support for the strategy in the places where it needs support?

Asking yourself these strategic thinking questions upfront gives you a head start to address any issues you can with the strategy you are about to hand over to the team to implement.

So while these questions are about helping teams to execute strategy, they are as much about making sure you’re a strategic leader that is setting up your team and your organization to maximize success.  Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Improve Strategic Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders need high-impact ways to develop employees that can provide input into strategic planning and then turn it into results. This Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons leaders can use to boost collaboration, meaningful strategic conversations, and results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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

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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After a client meeting, I received the most humbling, wonderful pick-me-up email from a client that said nice things about what we do and suggested the value The Brainzooming Group is delivering is worth more than what we are charging for our services.

At the conclusion of a recent strategic planning workshop, one of a client’s leaders came over and said, “I’m a skeptic about things like this, but you turned me into a proponent. In the last few days, you took away two years of frustration.”

In the workshop evaluations for a social media strategy workshop, one participant wrote, ““So energetic! Whoa. Totally helpful and so pumped for the eBook.”

Those are all the things we like to make happen and hear about from our clients!

13 Reasons to Appreciate Incredible Clients

 

You-Are-Incredible

To return the favor, we wanted to share the wonderful things we can say about our incredible clients.

Our clients:

Yes, that’s one of the joys of what we do: we get to work with incredible clients from so many different companies!

What can we do for you?

If you’re among our clients, thank you for all your support and for being incredible!

And if you aren’t among our clients, and the list above includes aspirations you have for you organization, let’s talk about how we can work together to make those aspirations come true! – Mike Brown

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Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your organization’s success!

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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Many people visit the Brainzooming website looking for ideas on making strategic planning fun. As I always say, those searches are no surprise. I’m a strategic planning guy, and even I don’t enjoy strategic planning the way it is typically handled for groups.

Part of making strategic planning fun involves fun exercises, which we continue to create and share here.

A big part of making strategic planning fun, however, involves focusing on boring details that create a fun* experience.

And the asterisk on fun acknowledges we’re stretching the definition of fun to cover things nerdy strategic planners think are fun such as “mental stimulation,” “highly collaborative groups,” and “people that want to be involved in strategic planning the next time it happens.”

11 Boring Details for Making Strategic Planning Fun*

Strategic-Planning-Fun

In any event, here are 11 boring details that lead to strategic planning-grade fun!

  1. Getting as much homework and other stuff involving individual work done before the strategic planning workshop so everyone isn’t waiting around for one person to share information
  2. Making sure the meeting room isn’t cramped and uncomfortable
  3. Having enough food and drinks throughout the day to help stay energized
  4. Providing structure that takes participants off the hook for starting strategic planning from scratch
  5. Letting everyone know upfront that WE will handle turning the input into a strategic plan (so they don’t have to)
  6. Providing participants with a starting point to begin planning
  7. Offering a shared direction at the start so they have a place to head
  8. Designing strategic thinking questions leading to engaging conversation among familiar and new participants
  9. Not sharing all the upfront homework in long presentations (which are almost always NOT FUN), but instead designing the entire strategic planning workshop to reflect the homework’s findings
  10. Asking people about things they’ve already thought about in new ways so they can actively participate (as opposed to asking them about things they haven’t thought about before using the same old strategic planning questions)
  11. Having toys to distract them and to throw at peers saying stupid things that warrant getting beaned with a harmless squeeze toy

Yes, none of these 11 boring details are glitzy or sexy.

It’s doing boring things in the background, however, that often create lots of the fun in any event. – Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Improve Strategic Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders need high-impact ways to develop employees that can provide input into strategy and then turn it into results. This Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons leaders can use to boost collaboration, meaningful strategic conversations, and results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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

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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