I found this picture while cleaning off my iPad. The notepad with the message, “Leave a Trail of Genius,” was from a meeting at a Marriott in Jackson, MS.


When it comes to creating strategic impact, what CAN you do to leave a trail of genius?

That doesn’t have to mean you have to be a genius, however. It simply means you have been creating strategic impact by bringing out the genius in others.

26 Ways to Leave a Trail of Genius

So what are you doing to leave a trail of genius wherever you interact?

  1. Encouraging people to use their distinctive talents to express their ideas.
  2. Teaching people things that took you a long time to learn.
  3. Asking questions of others that lead them to discover new ideas.
  4. Being able to listen to others with as much skill as you display when doling out advice to them.
  5. Encouraging others by reminding them of past successes.
  6. Seeing potential in others they don’t even realize.
  7. Knowing exactly when to push and when to let up.
  8. Introducing big possibilities without specifying all the answers for how to accomplish them.
  9. Bringing excitement to unexciting situations.
  10. Seeing new possibilities where others only see the status quo.
  11. Assembling the right team for the moment.
  12. Challenging what’s expected and expecting the challenges you’ll receive in return.
  13. Not worrying about being understood.
  14. Painting a compelling vision that stretches everyone.
  15. Creating things people haven’t even imagined before.
  16. Getting everyone focused on what matters.
  17. Experimenting all the time.
  18. Cultivating enough mystery to keep everyone intrigued and guessing.
  19. Borrowing ideas from other places that are new to what you do.
  20. Knowing how long to repeat what is working before you suddenly change it.
  21. Giving others the time and preparation to come along and be ready to perform when they need to perform.
  22. Laughing at authority figures that believe they matter much more than they really do.
  23. Trying for something bigger every time.
  24. Never learning anything from your mistakes that would make you fearful of making future mistakes.
  25. Always letting other people shine by giving them the opportunities and stages on which to perform.
  26. Cultivating just enough of the myth behind all the genius moments you leave on the trail.

That’s a start at a list for creating strategic impact. What do you do to leave a trail of genius behind you? – 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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4 Responses to “Creating Strategic Impact – 26 Ways to Leave a Trail of Genius”

  1. John Bennett says:

    Being incredibly busy trying to sell a house in Connecticut and build another in Virginia, I’ve noted you list of options to do __________ . Something was swirling around in my brain. It just came into focus: HOW SHOULD ONE USE A LIST SUCH AS THIS ONE (26 options)???

    I for one review any list aimed at a topic of interest to me. What I’m almost always doing is looking for mostly small refinements I can make OR options I’ve found helpful that I might share in comments, maybe getting suggestions back. A few times the list come to my attention just as I’m considering a move toward that topic; it gives me suggestions to study, maybe consolidate, and try out. I.e., information to help ME decide what’s best for me.

    But then I think about some of my students (a lot more than I would have expected, frankly) that believe their overarching goal for formal education is to FIND THE TEACHER / FACULTY MEMBER WHO WILL GIVE THEM “EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO KNOW” TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR CAREERS!!! Hate to say it but I’ve got to believe many see lists such as this as the cheaper alternative to the land of gold and riches. Thank you, thank you, thank you… AND of course, when that doesn’t work (daaah…), onto the junk pile and quick find another one…. Could this / does this happen???

    I would hope not!!!! Other options for such lists???

    • John Bennett says:

      Mike, I’m not picking on you or your lists!!! I consider them very frequently and they help. Just hypothesizing knowing how many students operate

  2. Mike Brown says:

    John – Your comment deserves a post in response, but NOT a mega-list post. There are very pragmatic reasons for writing a post like this (including people like big lists where they don’t have to do all the items). My thought about using them is that among the mega-list, someone might find one or two items that feel familiar and possible, and they might pursue those, while ignoring the rest.

    Again, though, it’s worth exploring both the pragmatics of why these posts and the possibilities of using them in greater depth.


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