Tools | The Brainzooming Group - Part 182 – page 182
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Here’s another post from Barrett Sydnor, this one addressing how the sequence of competitive alternatives can suggest both threats and potential opportunities:

One of the most interesting things I ever heard a client say came from a person who had spent most of his work life in cable television. Talking about the future of the industry, he wondered if cable television would ever have come to be if satellite television (DIRECTV, DISH Network) had been invented first.

This leads to an intriguing way of looking at the current and potential competitive landscape for your organization. Ask the question: If their (newer) X had been invented first, how much of a market would there be for our (older) Y? (X and Y can be physical products, services or even brands.)

If your answer is “not much” or even “considerably less,” it’s hair on fire time. It doesn’t mean that life as you know it will soon end, but it does mean that you need to do something and do something fast, no matter how small Product X’s market share might be currently.

Cable did do something, if offered bundles of video, telephone and high-speed internet service that satellite couldn’t match. It did not totally stop the bleeding, but it did cut satellite’s growth from 12% year over year to 7% for each of the last two years. Unfortunately for cable, it has not grown at all and its market share is still shrinking.

As with any type of planning it is often instructive to look at examples outside your industry. Here are some thought starters. A good exercise would be to determine how the entities on the right in each bullet have reacted to incursions by the entities on the left. Have they been successful, why or why not? What can you learn from their successes and failures?

If _________ Were Invented First Would We Have _________ ?
  • Satellite television – Cable television
  • Wireless phones – Landlines
  • Google – Yahoo
  • FedEx – Post Office
  • Email – Post Office
  • Wal-Mart – Sears
  • Kindle – Printed Books
  • MP3 – CD
  • Lexus – Cadillac
  • Riverboat casinos – Las Vegas
  • Macintosh – Microsoft

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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It’s easy to wallow in a bad situation. Many of us do, because there can be an odd comfort in complaining. It’s the courageous person who will stand up amid frustration, form a viable recommendation, and take it to someone who can help solve it.

There was a work situation recently where a person took the initiative to call my attention to a stupid situation we were potentially getting ourselves into soon. Realize that in doing so, he went across multiple organizational boundaries and reporting lines with all the associated personal political risks that can entail. But he did it, not to complain, but to make a recommendation on a smarter decision for the company to pursue.

It took about 3 phone calls and emails combined to advance his recommendation (and yes, I used the format suggested in a previous post). Once that was done, everybody above in the organization supported it, and the company is better off for having implemented his suggestion.

So here’s a question for you (okay, and for me also) to answer: What is there you b!7#h about all the time (to anyone who will listen) even though you refuse to go out on a limb and actually take a positive step to resolve? Figure one out? Or maybe two, three, or four of them? Now create a recommendation, reach out to somebody who can assist you, and actually do something to solve 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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It can be daunting to build excitement within a team that’s faced with maddening business challenges. Fortunately, if you face such a situation, you can delegate your duty to a cheerleading squad to help you out in the ways that only a cheerleader can by:

  • Exhibiting a winning spirit
  • Being a great team member and leader
  • Going to camps & clinics to improve their performance
  • Dressing in team colors
  • Inviting people to join with them in the cheers
  • Focusing on motivating others – both the team and the audience
  • Smiling all the time
  • Using a variety of talents to perform the cheers
  • Performing catchy, easy to remember cheers
  • Cheering for the team, no matter what
  • Having cheers suited to specific situations
  • Including a mascot as part of the squad
  • Being active during the game and during time outs

O – K.
For each idea above,
Gimme three ways,
The squad will cheer your team up,
On any tough day!
YEAH!!!

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – 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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Air traffic controllers shoulder tremendous public safety responsibilities. They have to process various information sources and flawlessly coordinate many airplanes trying to move through the same airspace.

Change “airplanes” to “priorities” and “airspace” to “resources,” and it all of a sudden sounds a lot like having to manage competing priorities in business.

To get a few new ideas, delegate your project and priority management challenges to an air traffic controller and see how they’d handle it. Shoot for 3 new ideas from each method below that air traffic controllers use:

  • Undergo rigorous training & certification
  • Employ a specific organizational method
  • Follow rules to keep things separated from one another and avoid conflicts
  • Remaining flexible while applying the rules
  • Incorporate & process information from various sources
  • Maintain an orderly flow of activity
  • Communicate precisely
  • Communicate regularly with everyone in their areas of responsibility
  • Speak in special terms & language known by participants
  • Display exceptional listening skills
  • Visualize what they’re controlling
  • Continually monitor each element of a situation without overly focusing on any single one
  • Focus on preventing potential future problems
  • Take breaks to deal with stress and to refresh their perspectives
  • Stay current by practicing / using their skills regularly

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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.

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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When you are suffering from a creative block, almost any forward creative progress is positive, no matter how small. It is even better when your progress can be turned into something tangible, i.e. an artifact.

An artifact can take any of a variety of forms including a word, a sentence, an image, an outline, a chart or graph, a good article you’ve found, etc. Anything that provides you with a jumping off point for further creative block busting ideas is valuable.

One of my strategic mentors, Bill McDonald, taught me this concept when we’d get bogged down on a strategy project. Often the artifact was simply creating an outline for a business plan or completing a small section of a report. This piece of the ultimate creative output would be enough to provide a sense of progress and rally our enthusiasm to keep plugging away.

It was always surprising how simply have something to see was enough to trigger a second creative wind on project after project.

The next time you hit a creative block, try to lower your expectations, look for a small something that is more achievable than the whole creative project (maybe even something already sitting in the creative trash heap as trash), create it, and use it as your first step to bust your creative block and get to the next step! – Mike Brown

To tap into your own extreme creativity, download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational creativity 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 brainzooming@gmail.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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My contention is that time shouldn’t be a factor in determining whether an issue is strategic, i.e., what you’re having for lunch 3 years from today isn’t strategic simply because it’s long-term and a significant quality performance conversation isn’t tactical simply because it’s happening this afternoon.

Based on this assertion, somebody asked me the question: if long-term doesn’t define strategic, what does?

Here’s a partial list for considering what’s strategic for a brand. Obviously the list would look different at a department or project level, but here’s an overall picture.

  • Is it central to the brand, its representation, or delivery of the brand promise?
  • Does it broadly and/or directly affect key audiences for your brand?
  • Could it significantly attract or disaffect customers and prospects?
  • Does it significantly affect organizational structure or alignment?
  • Could it materially affect the brand’s financial prospects?
  • Does it touch the heart of the core purpose, values, and/or vision of the organization?
  • Will the organization’s supply of resources or raw materials be dramatically affected?

The more questions you can answer in the affirmative, the more likely an issue is and should be addressed strategically.

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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Baseball scouts review many talented players, narrowing prospects through successfully anticipating which have the talent to perform at the highest levels of the game.

You can benefit from generalizing their selection criteria in the “Change Your Character” exercise to strengthen the prospect assessment criteria that you’re called on to perform in your job. Your prospects may be employees, customers, vendors, or other parties in business. Baseball scouts look for the following types of characteristics in their best prospects:

  • Have strong interest in success
  • Are always aware of what’s going on and what the right thing to do next is
  • Are dedicated and loyal
  • Are easy to be around and are strong influencers
  • Can make things happen & produce consistently
  • Have the skills to turn apparent failure into success
  • Field whatever comes their way
  • Never give up
  • Will follow through and give everything they have

Next time you have to develop criteria to assess prospects, identify three new ideas from those used by baseball scouts.

Check out a compilation of “Change Your Character” creative thinking exercises and information on its use.  – Mike Brown

 

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.

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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