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Are you an idea magnet?

Idea magnets come up with great creative ideas. And just as importantly, through encouraging and motivating others, idea magnets attract other innovators and creative leaders with incredible ideas into their circles. Idea magnets make work and life more exciting, fulfilling, and successful!

Idea Magnets – 7 Keys for Creative Leadership Skills

Idea-MagnetsWould you like to boost your creative leadership skills to become a stronger idea magnet?

Then you need to join me for the LeadOn Webcast: “Idea Magnets – 7 Keys to Attracting and Cultivating Creative Business Leaders.”

This exclusive webcast, sponsored by the American Marketing Association on June 23, 2014, springs from a popular Brainzooming article highlighting lessons from idea magnets I’ve worked with during my career.

The webcast features a wide array of new Brainzooming creative leadership skills content not covered in our other innovation and creativity workshops. We’ll talk about:

  • ​Strengthening your creative leadership impact with a diverse team
  • Identifying unique connections to maximize new thinking and creative leadership impact
  • Translating creative thinking into effective change, progress, and results​

I would love to have you join us for this webcast! You’ll learn great techniques you can start using right away, plus “Idea Magnets” represents a first-time collaboration that is creating a new look and tone to our Brainzooming content.

Idea Magnets – A New Collaboration

This exciting new collaboration is with long-time friend Leslie Adams who is creating the visuals for the Idea Magnets webinar.

Leslie-Adams-CrownMany people know Leslie as a writer. Over the past few years though, she’s been showcasing her creativity online with her wonderful photography. She has become very active on Instagram and in the Instagram community in Kansas City.

While reviewing Leslie’s Instagram and Flickr portfolios for images to incorporate in the webcast, I was reminded of a unique aspect to Leslie’s work that integrates two areas of her creative talents: you have to look at her photos AND read the captions she creates for them. It’s easy enough to glide through virtual contact sheets and not notice what’s written about the photos. In Leslie’s case, you’ll want to do both because her words contribute so much to pointing out the subtle details and motivations for her photos!

In fact, many of the captions and quotes Leslie has included with her photos are inspiring ways to expand and add new texture to the webcast’s content.

We’re hoping our collaboration will turn into an eBook to accompany this new Idea Magnets content.

Register Today for “Idea Magnets – 7 Keys to Attracting and Cultivating Creative Business Leaders”

Step one is for you to join us for the Webcast on June 23, 2014. Register today for the webcast, which is open to both members and non-members of the American Marketing Association, on the AMA website.

We’ll see you on June 23 as we attract all kinds of new ideas to develop your creative leadership skills! – 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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A Facebook friend messaged recently asking this question about career strategies:

How do you know when to set down what looked like a good idea, or even a good goal/decision, and really tell yourself honestly, “It’s time to walk away from this one. It just didn’t work out.”?

He is in a work situation different than his previous job, and finds himself in a situation stretching his implementation skills beyond his comfort level. His concern was whether it makes sense to try working through the implementation skills issues even though he there is a very real possibility of crashing and burning in the job. The alternative was going back to his previous company in a new strategic role.

I told him this was a fantastic career strategy question and to expect my response that day to wind up in a future Brainzooming blog post.

Today’s the day.

Career Strategy Questions to Ask

If you find yourself in a comparable career strategy conundrum, here are seven yes/no questions to consider:

  • Is pursuing this idea / goal distracting from other things that are more important to me or to others important to me?
  • Are things still moving forward, even if it’s slower than I’d like, or is it stalled or even going backward?
  • Has the time simply passed for this idea / goal? Am I hanging on to something that even if it’s accomplished is going to be too little, too late?
  • Is sticking with it going to take disproportionate effort / resources / time that really have very little chance of paying back – whether financial or in other ways?
  • Are there pieces of what I’ve accomplished with this idea / goal that I can break off and advance with greater success?
  • If I put this on my “things I’m never going to do list,” would I actually feel better than having it on my to-do list but not getting it done?

Brave-Sock

Direction to Seek

As I told my Facebook friend, beyond the questions, the most important thing I’d do is pray about what I should do and then wait.

With prayer, answers don’t come on our schedule. It could be the situation vexing him may have been dropped into his lap to open him to something else entirely.

For example, what you are pursuing that you THOUGHT you wanted may really serve to make you realize SOMETHING ELSE is the right thing. You may be presented not with obvious opportunities but with those that move you in the right ultimate direction.

Changing Career Strategies

My friend is relatively early in his career. One advantage is there is much less of a stigma associated with frequent career changes now, particularly if you can demonstrate how you grew and the moves were part of your career strategy.

There are definitely advantages to making changes on your own terms (if you can) rather than waiting to crash on a particular job. It is easier earlier in your career to experiment, try things, and recover, if necessary.

For those more advanced in their careers, there are still opportunities to change direction. These often involve, however, creating your own company or be willing to become a free agent in the job market.

No matter where you are in your career, however, it’s increasingly difficult to expect you can get by without strong implementation skills. Business should be about “DOING smart things.”

That three-word phrase implies both strategy AND implementation.

It is sad seeing people well into their careers who don’t have the skills to make things happen. While not everyone is a natural implementer, I know people who have had decades of missed opportunities to improve their implementation skills. Even now, they won’t address getting better at implementation so they just drift, and NOT in a good way.

Any of You Made Big Changes in Career Strategies?

While this article still reflects the specificity I offered my friend, I’m guessing a number of you are in similar situations with your career strategies:

  • I made a big change.
  • The big change isn’t working.
  • When should I retreat and get back to my original path?

If that’s where you find yourself, I wouldn’t necessarily expect you to comment. But if you want to reach out and discuss the situation, let me know. 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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Remember, strategic thinking lessons are all around us if we’re willing to search for them.

For instance, there is an account in Acts of the Apostles from the Bible’s New Testament about the apostle Paul visiting Athens. While in Athens, Paul was taken to the Areopagus by some of the Greek philosophers. They wanted him to talk about the teachings he was speaking of as the Athenians “used their time for nothing else but telling or hearing something new.”

Paul began his discourse at the Areopagus by speaking of walking through Athens. Amid a city full of gods and idols of various sorts, he reported finding “an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’” This altar was intended to cover the Athenians and stay in the good graces of any god they hadn’t yet learned about.

Paul-Areopagus

I have written and spoken previously about this Bible passage, which is read in Catholic masses on the Wednesday of the sixth week of Easter. It’s a fantastic example of understanding what your audience believes and launching your attempt to sway their strategic thinking by recognizing where you agree rather than where you disagree.

Strategic Thinking and Unknown Ideas

It struck me yesterday how, from the audience’s perspective, this is also a wonderful story to reflect how we receive new, unknown ideas and strategic thinking.

It’s easy, over time, to fill our heads with ideas and strategic thinking that define our world view and represent our attempt to explain everything we have experienced. It’s also easy to become so fascinated with our own strategic thinking that we leave no room to consider new ways of doing things or opposing points of view.

Some people take this to such an extreme that they can’t even consider opposing ideas simply to understand why people hold them even if they have no intention of believing or embracing these ideas.

Here’s a reminder for all of us: as you grow in years and experience, keep a space that never goes away where you are willing to hear others on new, unknown ideas.

Because if you’re going to grow in your strategic thinking capabilities, you can never NOT have the mental space to hear, consider, and potentially expand your thinking. – 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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Can-I-ask-questionThere’s one strategic thinking question that will make you a better marketer?

Yes there is ONE strategic thinking question you can ask (and, of course, answer) that all by itself will make you a better marketer.

Let me share how it works with you.

I was presenting a mini-workshop on branding and social media with a new client the other day. Before we wrapped up, one of the participants asked what I thought about paying to include something from their business in a welcome gift going to new residents in a community the business serves.

She probably wanted a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, but that wasn’t what she needed. I gave her a suggestion and a strategic thinking question.

The suggestion was to look at any type of marketing investment as a sponsorship. You’re investing a specific amount of money to associate your brand with something – whether it’s a sports team, a direct marketing piece, an advertisement, or even social media content. Thinking about it that way, you can see how your marketing investments are sponsorships, even if untraditional sponsorships.

And once you start looking at all your marketing investments through a sponsorship marketing model, you have to ask a fundamental sponsorship marketing question:

“What are we going to do and how much are we going to invest to market this sponsorship?”

That’s the one question you can ask that will automatically make you a stronger strategic marketer.

It’s vital with any sponsorship to do the strategic thinking about how much you invest to link your brand in an effective and business-building way to the sponsorship asset you’re renting from the organization that owns it.

Answering that question from a strategic perspective makes you consider:

  • How do we integrate this with other things we do?
  • What can we do to make sure this supports our most important objectives?
  • What other things can we do to get more advantage from our investment?
  • What’s the right ratio to invest in marketing the sponsorship to get the greatest value from it?
  • How would we measure whether this works or not?

By looking at your marketing investments from a sponsorship marketing perspective and asking one strategic thinking question, you’re forced to address integrated marketing, metrics, ROI, and making sure you have tactics to support all of these.

In the case of the welcome packet, we covered, within a few short minutes, what would make this make sense for a non-primary market, A/B testing, negotiating contact information on who receives the packets, creating an offer for those receiving the information, and providing a landing page specific to this offer to track whether people take action on it.

See what I mean about being a stronger strategic marketer.

There you have it.

Be sure to add this strategic thinking question to your repertoire: “What are we going to do and how much are we going to invest to market this sponsorship?” 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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How about that “sex tip” headline?

I’ve been trying to write snazzier headlines, but it is an accurate headline. There IS a sex tip that WILL boost your strategic thinking through multiple strategic thinking exercises.

The Sex Tip

The June 2014 “Girl Next Door” column in Men’s Health magazine includes a letter from a guy worried he and his wife have reached the dreaded sexual plateau in their relationship where nothing is new.

Of course, he wrote to the “Girl Next Door” columnist, Madeline Haller, for advice.

She recommended he and his wife sit down individually with two blank sheets of paper. Each of them is to take a few minutes to write at least fifteen sexual adventures of interest they have never tried previously. They are to then exchange pieces of paper and cross off things they weren’t prepared to do until they had a new bedroom (or elsewhere) to-do list agreeable to each of them.

threesome

Strategic Thinking Exercises from a Sex Tip

I was immediately taken with turning the response into multiple strategic thinking exercises for pairs or groups of individuals to identify, mutually approve, and implement new ideas.

Just as easily as a married couple, organizations or individuals within organizations in strategic relationships could use this technique to identify new, mutually-beneficial initiatives. It also provides a different spin on tired, old strategic thinking exercises for prioritizing large numbers of ideas.

The response from the “Girl Next Door” also inspired an idea about creating a 64-idea field of potential initiatives and using a college basketball single elimination format to pick winning and losing ideas from among a large pool of possibilities.

So yes, it is possible for a sex tip to boost your strategic thinking.

You just have to be on the lookout for new ideas all the time, no matter whether they are far away or right next door! Mike Brown

Photo Credit: emoji / photocase.com

 

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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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I’m a little sad this week because Fox Sports 1 canceled one of the few TV shows I watch outside of programming on EWTN.

“Crowd Goes Wild,” a very different take on sports programming didn’t even make it a year. The show (sometimes) featuring Regis Philbin, and a panel of much younger people than Regis with varied sports and media experience, was unequal parts:

  • CGW-PanelNews
  • Interviews
  • Game show
  • Social media monitoring
  • Comedy
  • Snark
  • Analysis
  • Live audience cheering
  • And whatever else they decided to try

You can imagine how this eclectic array of content meant you never knew what exactly was going to happen. You can also see why the eclectic content wound up dooming Crowd Goes Wild to a short run since it didn’t generate a big enough audience.

Big Strategic Change and the One Place You Better Be Looking for It

And yet, I predict (and I’m not a big predictor), time will demonstrate that Crowd Goes Wild is a noticeable influence on where boring, analysis-heavy, over-serious sports programming winds up heading in the next five years.

I’m basing my prediction on how much I enjoyed the eclecticism of the David Letterman morning show (which set the stage for Letterman’s later work and influence on talk shows) and “Breakfast Time” (which in its short run on FX in the 1990s introduced the hosts of nearly all of the most successful reality TV programs plus set the stage for the toned-down wackiness on today’s early morning TV).

For all three of these TV programs on the fringe, the absence of pre-cursors, sizable audiences, and standard formats led to truly exciting programming where you simply weren’t sure what might happen next.

And this potent combination leads to change – maybe not right away, and not for whoever goes first, but for the marketplace overall.

So when it comes to looking for big strategic change in your business, are you looking on the fringes where new things are happening outside of mainstream attention?

If you want to understand where the change is likely to come from in your marketplace, consider the equivalent spot where:

  • The audience is small
  • The stakes are low
  • The expectations are fluid

Go to school on the fringes and see what changes it suggests for your organization’s future. 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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Not sure whether your brand should invest in its innovation strategy right now?

10 Signs to Invest in Your Brand’s Innovation Strategy

Review these ten signs about your brand’s innovation strategy needs attention right away. See how many of these sound like your organization.

Innovation-Strategy

  1. Sales growth with current customers is not meeting expectations.
  2. Your product offerings don’t match the decision factors driving why clients select providers in your marketplace.
  3. When you look out five years and project how your brand will be performing in the marketplace, you can’t explain how or why you’ll be successful.
  4. You have employees leaving your company to start businesses disrupting your core business.
  5. There are brands looking nothing like your company circling around the fringes of your industry.
  6. You have only a trace (or less) of revenue coming from products less than two years old.
  7. The management group doesn’t think innovation is all that important for the company’s success.
  8. There are intriguing ideas bubbling up in your organization but employees don’t have productive outlets to develop them.
  9. Your company says innovation is important but no senior leader is on the hook to turn ideas into results.
  10. You aren’t investing in innovation right now.

If you more than a couple of these are familiar, you need to take a hard look at the need to invest in innovation. And if number 10 sounds describes your brand, even if none of the others do, you definitely need to invest in innovation and shore up your innovation strategy – right away! – 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 brand’s innovation strategy and implementation 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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