0

FASTTRACI’m at Ft. Leavenworth today speaking to a group in the Kauffman FastTrac® NewVenture™ program.

The participants are active duty military personnel exploring business ideas for when they transition out of the Army over the next year.

The session topic is marketing strategy and implementation, addressing planning and implementation challenges, cost-effective marketing strategies, maximizing social media for a new business, and entrepreneurship lessons.

The four related marketing strategy question are included below along with links to Brainzooming blog articles containing more detail on each.

1. What are common challenges planning or implementing marketing strategy?

2. What are creative, cost-effective marketing activities?

3. What are the best uses of social media?

4. Based on your start up experience, what are your marketing strategy lessons?

These links are a good starting point for anyone exploring entrepreneurship and the marketing capabilities they need to address upfront.

What other suggestions would you add for these individuals who are serving our country as they prepare to transition to the next phases of their careers? – Mike Brown

 

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

It’s the time of year where you have already presented your overall strategy for this year. For most companies, the focus is now on further developing, refining, and sharing more detailed business strategy plans.

If this is the case in your organization, your senior team is likely sitting through multiple business strategy presentations.

No matter how invested (financially or otherwise) the senior team members may be in the initiatives, it’s easy for PowerPoint overload  to make the business strategy presentations run together for them.

Applying Creative Thinking Skills to a Business Strategy Presentation

To enhance your deliver, here are nine ways to present a business strategy to your senior team with panache.

Mad-Consumer1. Make a video

Bring people who can’t be there into the presentation or add a touch of pre-developed drama or humor by incorporating a short original video to illustrate key themes in your business strategy.

2. Introduce costumed characters

Only go here if you have solid (albeit non-professional) acting talent on your team. If so, introducing a character into the meeting at a key point definitely adds memorability.

3. Perform a song

As with costumed characters, you need talent to make this work. Add lyrics to a popular song to convey the strategic messages you want your senior team to really remember.

4. Go somewhere spectacular for the presentation

“Spectacular” is relative. Perhaps presenting your business strategy at a museum or other creativity-inducing spot will make your ideas stand out. If you can arrange a truly spectacular option (either based on geography or setting), it could be a solid investment.

5. Write a magazine article from the future covering the plan’s success

With a longer-term business strategy, you can create a feature article from a future business magazine issue to report how much better and different things have been based on implementing your recommendations.

6. Wrap it in education

If your area of responsibility includes social media or other technical areas unfamiliar to your senior team, attach an educational segment to the business strategy presentation. A smarter audience will be better prepared to understand your business strategy.

7. Feature your customers – in person or virtually

To provide a better sense of the customer needs you are addressing, invite customers into your business strategy presentation in-person or through phone, online, or video channels.

8. Translate the strategy into stories and pictures

You cannot necessarily put elaborate stories and pictures together at the last minute. This approach does provide a little more time flexibility, however, than video or presenting in alternative locations. Poll those involved in your business strategy for both stories and images to illustrate how you are creating strategic impact.

9. Make it into a game

Create a Jeopardy grid with subjects and relevant answers, putting strategy categories at the top. Then use the “answer is a question” format from Jeopardy to create a menu of choices your senior team can use to focus where they want more information on your business strategy recommendation.

How much panache are you up for with your business strategy presentation?

And yes, I’ve used all of these previously, so they’re road tested in varying shapes and sizes, including creating a movie of our company’s new vision, presenting the new plan at Arrowhead Stadium, and publishing a faux Business Week article covering our industry from five years into the future.

How are you thinking about presenting your business strategies this year? –  Mike Brown

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

GolfballLet’s talk about project management techniques by way of the old joke about a golfer who gets home after a round of golf and tells his wife it was the most exhausting round of golf ever. When she asks why, he tells her he was playing with his buddy, Frank, who had a heart attack and died on the 10th hole.

She replied, “Oh my gosh, that must have been horrible.”

“You’re not kidding,” he said, “The whole rest of the round it was ‘Hit the ball, drag Frank; hit the ball, drag Frank.”

Identifying “Lazy” Early

The phenomenon of “Hit the ball, drag Frank,” can feel like working on a project team with a team member whose laziness renders them dead to the project. Who hasn’t been on a project team where it feels like, “Work on the project, drag Frank; work on the project, drag, Frank”?

If Frank has been on one of your project teams before, you may know ahead of time what is ahead of you. If you have a project team with new, unfamiliar teammates, however, are there ways to determine upfront who will and won’t perform as the team tries to reach its strategic objectives?

We typically find project team members fall down because of either of two types of laziness:

  • Mental laziness – They aren’t up to doing strategic thinking, working on issues, and taking necessary actions.
  • Organizational laziness  – They don’t – or can’t – work diligently with the people and processes critical to creating strategic impact.

Either one is frustrating. Someone who exhibits both of these types of laziness, however, can cripple a project team and its efforts.

Project Management Techniques to Address a Lazy Project Team Member

Here’s one of our project management techniques you use early on in a project to identify any “Franks” so you can start planning for alternatives to dragging them throughout the project.

Talk to team members (especially new ones) early, asking questions about their expectations and initial thoughts on potential solutions for the team successfully accomplishing its objectives and creating strategic impact. As each individual team member responds, listen to their answers. Which cell in this matrix do their answers most closely resemble?

laziness-grid-2

Based on where the responses fall, you can get an early sense of whether your project team contains some individuals with mental laziness, organizational laziness, or both.

Depending on the team composition you can start planning and implementing other project management techniques to minimize the amount of time and effort you will have to expend dragging Frank through the upcoming project. – Mike Brown

 

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

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

Maybe your strategic plan for the year is ready to go. Congratulations!

Maybe you are still working on your strategic plan. That’s completely understandable, and you’re still in pretty good shape to be ready for next year.

Maybe you are so focused on this year you have not even had a chance to begin thinking about a strategic plan for the upcoming year. You may want to skip ahead to the last paragraph!

Two Strategic Thinking Questions to Ask

Photo by; MMchen | Source: photocase.com

Photo by; MMchen | Source: photocase.com

No matter which category you are in with your strategic plan, here are two strategic thinking questions we highly recommend you ask and answer for this year as you look ahead to next year:

  • Where did the big surprises – both good and bad – come from in our organization this year?
  • Where did things happen this year in our organization where we lacked key insights ahead of time?

With answers to these two strategic thinking questions, you will have a helpful tweak to the strategic planning you have already done.

Alternatively, you will have additional ideas to help you focus on important areas to prioritize for the strategic planning you still need to do.

And by the way, if you need help getting an innovative strategic planning still completed before we get too far into next year, contact. We will get you Brainzooming! – Mike Brown

 

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

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

It is said that when the legendary college football coach Woody Hayes was asked why he preferred to run the football ball rather than pass it, Hayes replied, “Only three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad.”

As the Dilbert cartoon helps illustrate, you encounter much the same odds when your business strategy is developed exclusively by senior management.

Dilbert.com

Much like with a forward pass, three things can happen and two of them are bad.

  1. As in the case of Dilbert, the business strategy has a huge defect that the group that developed either it could not see or, because of groupthink or confirmation bias, would not see.
  2. The business strategy is sound, but because it is both unfamiliar to and lacks buy-in from anyone outside senior management, implementation fails.
  3. You get lucky, the business strategy is sound—even though it lacks diverse perspectives—and your organization is strong enough at implementation so you wind up creating strategic impact.

But why depend upon luck and extraordinary implementation for your business strategy to succeed?

By involving diverse participants in your strategic planning process, you can flip those odds. Involving the right people, and even the right groups of people, beyond senior management contributes toward creating strategic impact in three very important ways:

  1. It increases, sometimes exponentially, the number of ideas and strategies you develop and consider. And it greatly increases the variety and scope of those ideas and strategies.
  2. It helps those ideas and strategies be more thoroughly and critically refined and analyzed.
  3. It helps with implementation. A strategic planning process involving diverse participants comes with built in buy-in from the types of people that will have to understand and believe in the business strategy to implement it successfully.

It is, of course, possible to mess up a strategic plan developed through involving a broader base of people. If you lack strong strategic planning tools or if you choose or use participants inappropriately, bad things can still happen. But those two challenges can be dealt with by employing effective and tested planning processes and methods.

They do not rely upon luck and individual or small group brilliance. – Barrett Sydnor


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

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.

Continue Reading

1

Think about the common, albeit under-followed, presentation tips for speakers who want to deliver content more effectively:

  • Use more and bigger images to engage the audience visually
  • Don’t include everything you’re going to say on the slides
  • Use high-contrast foreground and background colors to improve readability
  • Make ample use of builds to keep the audience from getting ahead of what you are saying

I preach and try to follow these presentation tips whenever I speak.

Do Traditional Presentation Tips Still Apply?

Yet, at three recent seminars I covered (including ones from Walmart and IKEA), these traditional presentation tips were blatantly ignored by three high-profile presenters.

eKaterina-SlideTheir slides were loaded with text and more detail than I had seen on slides in “good” presentations in ages. Usually when a speaker uses that much text on slides, I figure the presenter threw the slides together at the last minute and simply typed up whatever he or she was planning to say.

That was not what was going on in any of these presentations, though.

Instead, my own interaction with the content indicated a potential change in thinking on presentation slides.

Rather than simply typing live tweets of the speaker’s remarks, I was taking photos of the slides – some of which I was tweeting while capturing othrs for later reference (including writing a blog post from photos of Chad Mitchell’s slides). This phenomenon, coupled with how people are increasingly taking picture of more detailed slides at my own presentations suggests we are entering the era of creating photogenic slides for presentations.

If this is a trend, traditional presentation tips for constructing slides as visual support begin to shift.

In these three instances, the slides provided the most detailed content each speaker offered since none provided hard copy documentation. If you wanted the details, your best option was to start taking photos, diverting your attention from the speaker’s live content.

Presentation Tips for Creating Photogenic Slides

If we are in the age of creating photogenic slides, what are the new success factors for strong presentations?

IKEA-stageFrom these early examples and my own experience, here are five critical success factors to consider when creating photogenic slides:

  1. Use high-density text – If the slides are intended for later consumption, it suddenly makes sense to include as much detail as possible to address detail and questions the audience will want to review afterward.
  2. Incorporate online references – Rather than simply embedding a video, featuring a graphic, or telling a story, it becomes more valuable for later viewing to have a link on the slide for an audience member to reach the underlying content afterward.
  3. Detailed, over-complicated infographics – Process diagrams and slides with incredible detail become feasible, even desirable – as long as the detail is not so small it is lost when the audience later zooms in to review specific items.
  4. Less radical light/dark shifts between the room and the slides – At the session depicted in this photo, the room and stage were dark (except for focused lighting on the speakers) and the slides were light, creating a jarring contrast for photos. If you are aiming for photogenic slides, inquire ahead about the staging and adjust the color and contrast of your slides accordingly.
  5. More screen time for slides with mega-content – While builds work to keep the audience with the speaker, they are maddening when taking photos of slides. The answer either is fewer build slides or, if you are using builds, allowing time for a photo once all the content is displayed instead of moving briskly to the next slide.

Are you taking more photos of slides during presentations? And when you are presenting, are you thinking about creating photogeneic slides? In either case, what critical success factors would you add to this list? – Mike Brown

 

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about how Mike Brown’s social media strategy development workshops 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

2

Best-The-Rush-SaleIn the United States, Thursday night launches Black Friday – the opportunity for people to start their Christmas shopping early.

While this push for early Christmas shopping creates bizarre behaviors and demonstrates some very scary aspects of our culture, I do have to applaud the value of EARLY.

While early is a struggle for lots of people, it pays to start early because it has many benefits for successful performance.

Early:

  1. Provides extra time for strategic thinking before doing.
  2. Lets you DECIDE how much time to spend on strategic thinking vs. doing.
  3. Allows you to get the easy stuff out of the way first to build momentum.
  4. Maximizes your creative and development options since the passing of time typically removes options.
  5. Lets you reach out and involve other people so they have adequate time to perform successfully.
  6. Affords you time to explore many possibilities.
  7. Lets you explore surprises that appear along the way toward developing what you are developing.
  8. Allows you to make multiple, really juicy mistakes you can learn from and improve.
  9. Does not force you to skip steps – unless you want to – in order to finish by the deadline.
  10. Gives you time to screw around and chase dead ends as you go.
  11. Allows you extra time on the hard stuff so you can keep the easy stuff to do until later as a reward.
  12. Saves time at the end to finish early and tweak what you have done.

Yup, if you can start early, it is definitely good for successful performance.

But how about spending that early shopping time actually spending time (not money) giving thanks and saving your shopping for a regular time?

Happy Thanksgiving!  – Mike Brown

 

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

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about how Mike Brown’s social media strategy development workshops 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading