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The Brainzooming eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning,” has generated lots of downloads since we published it during the early days of strategy season. The eBook shares ideas we developed in the past ten-plus years to create fun strategic planning exercises.

We warn readers early in the eBook that everybody’s definition of “fun strategic planning exercises” may differ.

When you are talking “fun” and “strategic planning,” you are not likely dealing with the kind of fun that will make you enjoy (and then later completely forget) during a night of weekend partying.

Undoubtedly, everything is relative when it comes to fun strategic planning exercises.

7 Types of Fun with Strategic Planning Exercises

So, if you download the eBook to learn fun strategic planning exercises to enliven your strategy meeting, be on the lookout for THESE types of fun:

  1. People reveal more than they expected to during the introductions
  2. People are enjoying strategic planning because they are actively participating
  3. A boss that’s a stick in the mud when it comes to innovation has to dive in or risk getting gently mocked by his team members
  4. Someone comes up with an idea they never would have imagined on their own
  5. An incredible, breakthrough idea is greeted with uproarious laughter – a sure sign there is something to the idea
  6. A participant, while struggling to describe an idea, inspires someone else, who comes up with the winning idea
  7. People don’t want to stop working on ideas and strategies because hours into the meeting, they are still enjoying themselves

While these might not seem like typical “fun,” when you see any of them come to life in what might have otherwise been a boring strategy meeting, you will definitely feel the fun! – Mike Brown

 

fun-ideas-strategic-planningNeed Ideas to Make Strategy Planning Fun?

Yes, strategy planning can be fun . . . if you know the right ways to liven it up while still developing solid strategies! If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, download our FREE eBook, “11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning.”


Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Fun Ideas for Strategic Planning


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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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Wherever you are in the strategic planning cycle, you may discover the need for a new or updated direction for your organization.

How can you effectively employ visioning exercises in strategic planning that invite your entire organization to contribute their perspectives?

That is where visioning exercises that employ a collaborative approach come into play. With the right techniques, you can invite and excite your team members to become active parts of your organization’s vision, mission, and core purpose statements.

In the new Brainzooming eBook, “Big Strategy Statements – A Collaborative Way to Shape Your Organization’s Strategic Direction,” we will show you visioning exercises for strategic planning that you can use to:

  • Evaluate your current strategy statements (such as vision, mission, and core purpose statements)
  • Correct ones that are repairable to make them more specific and vibrant for your organization
  • Collaboratively develop new strategies that effectively guide your team today and into the future

“Big Strategy Statements” brings together strategic thinking exercises we’ve shared separately on our website, plus a never-before shared strategy evaluation assessment, to provide a one-stop of visioning exercises to effectively and efficiently tap your team’s innovative ideas. Using our proven methodology, you will be able to develop a vision, mission, or core purpose statement for your organization in a smart, strategic way.


Download Your FREE eBook! Big Strategy Statements - 3 Steps to Collaborative Strategy


Employing the approaches we share in “Big Strategy Statements” will lead to:

  • Broadly and collaboratively soliciting input from across all your audiences
  • Thoroughly exploring where you organization is and where it wants to go
  • Using simple, understandable, and straightforward language that sounds as if it comes from your organization

The benefit of using the ideas in “Big Strategy Statements” is that when you get your vision or mission statement right, your organization can use it on a daily basis to shape decisions, priorities, and approaches to what you do and how you do things.

Download “Big Strategy Statements” and get started evaluating, modifying, or reworking the big strategy statements guiding your organization.

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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Are you in budget meetings right now, determining what funds you will have to implement next year’s strategic initiatives?

Is your budget process running late? Are you still reviewing budgets for next year?

If so, you have time to turn tedious budgeting exercises into productive strategic planning activities focused on business growth.

Budgeting Can Be the Worst, but There Is Hope!

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During budgeting in the Fortune 500 world, we spent too much time on the numbers and not nearly enough on making sure we were prioritizing the best strategic initiatives to grow the business.

I worked with some great people in the accounting and financial areas that understood forecasts and budgets do not just happen by themselves. My peers at the vice president level and above were, however, too often engaged in micro-managing budget details they could manage while not tackling tougher strategic issues within budgeting.

To counter this preference for numbers over strategy, we routinely tried to bring new thinking to the table to turn budget meetings into productive strategic planning activities.

3 Ways to Turn Budgets into Strategic Planning Activities

In our new Brainzooming eBook, “3 Ways to Turn Budget Meetings into Strategic Activities,” we reveal how to:

  • Introduce productive questions you can address to improve strategy AND financials
  • Ensure you invest meeting time on high-impact areas (instead of minutiae)
  • Adopt an effective, highly-strategic approach to business metrics that addresses the link between strategic activities and results

If you are leading budget meetings, you can use these ideas to improve their strategic impact.

Even if your role is to develop and present your business unit’s budget, you can use the concepts in this eBook to highlight strategic activities and create a stronger linkage between forecasts, budgets, and the important strategic initiatives that drive growth.

The bonus part is that “3 Ways to Turn Budget Meetings into Strategic Activities,” is FREE!

What finance or accounting person is going to nitpick that?


Download Your FREE eBook! 3 Ways to Turn Budget Meetings into Strategic Activities

Download your copy today! – Mike Brown

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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I don’t know that we have ever run a reader letter here, but the story in this email and the writer’s comments deserve a wider audience.

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The letter is from Barbara Lane at Telesystem in Northwood, OH. She wrote in response to Emma Alvarez Gibson’s post-election reflection. What Barbara relates is another helpful part of the reflection and need to move forward that is the air right now:

Mike and team,

First, I want to say thanks for your blog and plethora of articles on strategic planning.  I have used many of your techniques both at work and as I facilitate visioning and strategic planning at my church.

With regards to the email today, I am currently in the middle of leading a Bible study based on the book, “Fear of the Other” by Will Willimon.   In it, he puts forth many of the same ideas contained in Emma Gibson’s reminder. But one that particularly spoke to me was an exchange between Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth.  Douglass was bemoaning the plight of black slaves and the country’s reluctance for – no, outright anger and indignation against – the proposition of freedom for them.  Truth, who was fully aware of Douglass’ Christian beliefs asked him, “Frederick, is God dead?”

I think this is very pertinent to what many people are feeling today, and we have to realize that there is a greater power out there who works all things according to his purpose.

BTW – if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.

I greatly appreciate you and your efforts,

Barb

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 woke up this morning, and the first thing I saw on Facebook was this reflection by Emma Alvarez Gibson (from our West Coast Brainzooming outpost) as the election returns in the United States were coming in last night.

It says everything beautifully.

eag-election

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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As the election season in the United States draws to a close, it’s time for a moment of reflection. Here’s what I have to offer.

Time for A Moment of Reflection

I lector at 6:30 a.m. mass nearly every Tuesday. Every two years on this Tuesday (during the 32nd week of the liturgical year), my favorite business-oriented bible verse is part of the first reading at mass. It is from the letter to Titus (Chapter 2: 7-8):

“Show(ing) yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.”

After an election season where candidates at al levels have done exactly the opposite of this verse, it is time to reflect how we got here and how we change it going forward.

I believe prayer is part of the answer. All the other parts of the answer? Wow, that’s going to take all of us.

Get away from the media today, and have your moment of reflection on what part of the change YOU can make happen! – Mike Brown

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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Is your strategy team tired of the same old strategic thinking exercises?

Is your leadership team expressing its frustration with the inability to generate new insights about your brand’s strongest market opportunities?

Are you searching for ways to quickly and effectively engage brand leaders to anticipate and address emerging threats you face?

If you face these situations, The Brainzooming Group has a new eBook you need. It offers fresh ideas for using one of the most common strategic thinking exercises . . . and it’s FREE!

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With simple, actionable adaptations, you can take your leadership team through a variety of fresh SWOT analysis approaches that:

  • Put your customers front and center with every look you take at your marketplace
  • Challenge your thinking about what parts of your strategy are obsolete, opinion-based, and open to serious objections
  • Push you to go deeper and bolder in your SWOT analysis

strategic-thinking-exercises-swot-analysis

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, we designed “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” as a go-to resource throughout strategic planning. Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis alternatives include:

  • Creating a SWOT from multiple pieces
  • Using a SWOOT analysis to create a twist
  • Employing a bolder SWOT analysis than ANYONE expects
  • Going deeper with a Four x 4 approach
  • Triggering richer insights by varying participants, focus areas, and perspectives

All that in one handy, FREE Brainzooming eBook!

Download your copy of “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” today!Mike Brown

Need Fresh Insights to Drive Your Strategy?

Download our FREE eBook: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis

swot-alternatives-cover

“Strategic Thinking Exercises: Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” features eleven ideas for adapting, stretching, and reinvigorating how you see your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Whether you are just starting your strategy or think you are well down the path, you can use this eBook to:

  • Engage your team
  • Stimulate fresh thinking
  • Make sure your strategy is addressing typically overlooked opportunities and threats

Written simply and directly with a focus on enlivening one of the most familiar strategic thinking exercises, “Reimagining the SWOT Analysis” will be a go-to resource for stronger strategic insights!

Download Your FREE eBook! 11 Ways to Reimagine Your SWOT Analysis

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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