If You Call a Meeting, Please Call It By the Right Name
Maybe it's just me. Or maybe it's the business I'm in, but I can't help but notice how often people with a pressing need to call a meeting find a way to work the "Let's get together and brainstorm" phrase into their invitation even when their meeting has absolutely nothing to do with brainstorming.
How to Deliver a Meaningful, Memorable Message Quickly
HINT: It has nothing to do with pep talks, powerpoint shows, case studies, statistics, data, performance reviews, carrots, or sticks. Give up?
Stories. That's right. Stories. Storytelling, done well, is the most effective way to deliver a meaningful, memorable message. It's been going on since the Stone Age. Why? Because it works.
Here's my 5-minute talking head video on the topic.February 27, 2015
I Am Moving to a Blog Cabin
I see the future.
Everyone will have a blog. Every blogger's pet will have a blog. Every blog will have a blog. Every blog's blog will have a blog. No one will be reading any of these blogs because everyone will be too busy writing blogs. (Those with ADD will be tweeting).
Bloggers will occasionally visit other blogs, but only for the purpose of leaving comments that will direct readers back to their own blog.
Letter writing will become popular once again, gaining a new lease on life after the internet crashes repeatedly because of the profusion of blogs, tweets, and youtube videos created by 5-year olds, holographic spammers, robots, and terrorist groups.February 24, 2015
The Only Risk is Not to Risk
How to Keep Small Group Brainstorming On Track
If you are planning to lead any kind of ideation or brainstorming session in the near future and will be dividing the group into sub-groups, here's one thing to keep in mind:
No matter how clear the instructions you give or how much you reinforce the ground rules of brainstorming, there is a 95% chance that the small groups will default to any of the following instead of brainstorming: conversation, debate, storytelling, schmoozing, philosophizing, venting, and question-asking. Bet on it.
WHY does this happen? Because there is precious little time, in most organizations, for people to simply get together and TALK about their issues, problems, and concerns in a meaningful way. Too many people work alone and don't have enough opportunities to get input, information, non-threatening feedback, and the perspective of others.February 22, 2015
GUY WIRE: The Art of Innovation
Here is a no BS, engaging, entertaining, honorable 21-minute talk on innovation, by the extremely refreshing Guy Kawasaki. Many pearls of wisdom in this and some good jokes.February 20, 2015
WANT TO RUN BETTER MEETINGS? Ask For Permission to Facilitate
Every day, around the world, there are millions of meetings. Maybe zillions. Many of these meetings suck. And if they don't suck, they underwhelm. One of the biggest reasons WHY is because many meeting participants, in various and sundry ways, undermine the facilitator. Unwilling to let go of control and have somebody else "run the show", meeting participants play out any number of passive/aggressive behaviors that erode the quality of the gathering. Maybe that's why so many of us resist going to meetings. Is there anything that you, as meeting facilitator, can do about this phenomenon? Yes there is -- and it only takes a few minutes as described in this 5-minute video by yours truly.February 18, 2015
The Idiot Savant's Guide to Tapping the Brilliance of Your Workforce
Here's a common scenario: An acquaintance passes you on the street, stops, and asks how you're doing. You begin responding with some meaningful updates about your life, but the person asking you the question seems quite distracted -- surprised you are actually answering their question.
Their opening question to you is what's known as a "social nicetie" -- a polite, automated greeting with very little depth to it.
Business leaders do something similar. They ask their workforce for ideas, but when people actually respond, the business leader or manager acts as if they're late for an important meeting.
Here's my six-minute rant on the phenomenon.February 17, 2015
On Being an Idea Champion
There's a reason why the expression "ideas are a dime a dozen" is so popular. Because they are. It's easy to get ideas. What's not so easy is championing ideas. And by "championing", I am referring to the kind of heroic commitment required to actually manifest those ideas. Here's my six-minute video elaboration on this often neglected topic. It's great that you have a new idea you care about. Wonderful. Now, ask yourself "What is it going to take for me to press through all the inevitable obstacles and bring this idea to life?"February 13, 2015
How to Foster a Culture of Innovation
Want a culture of innovation? Choose a few of the following guidelines and make them happen. If not YOU, who? If not NOW, when?
1. Remember that innovation requires no fixed rules or templates -- only guiding principles. Creating a more innovative culture is an organic and creative act.February 11, 2015
The History (and Present) of Valentine's Day
Most people think Valentine's Day was invented by Hallmark Cards. It wasn't. Valentine's Day is actually a well-documented, historical phenomenon -- its tangled roots winding their way through centuries worth of Christian liturgy, pagan tradition, myth, and an occasional beheading.
The most popular account of its origins date back to a temple priest named, not surprisingly, Valentine, a later-to-be-canonized saint who was executed in 270 A.D. by Emperor Claudius II for performing illegal marriage ceremonies on the Roman battlefield. Back then, as the story goes, the military-minded Claudius believed connubial bliss was bad for war and made it illegal for soldiers to wed.February 09, 2015
Innovation as a Happy Accident
A little known fact about innovation is that many breakthroughs have not been the result of genius, but "happy accidents" -- those surprise moments when an answer revealed itself for no particular reason.
The discovery of penicillin, for example, was the result of Alexander Fleming noting the formation of mold on the side of petri dish left uncleaned overnight.
Vulcanized Rubber was discovered in 1839 when Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a lump of the polymer substance he was experimenting with onto his wife's cook stove.
More recently, 3M's post-it was also the result of an accident in the lab. Breakthroughs aren't always about invention, but the intervention required, by the aspiring innovator, to notice something new, unexpected, and intriguing.February 06, 2015
BE WHO YOU ARE (everyone else is already taken)
My company, Idea Champions, is headquartered in a town that most people don't associate with corporate consulting -- Woodstock. Yes, THAT Woodstock -- the Woodstock the world has come to know and love as the geographical center of all things musical, alternative, holistic, and far out. It's been an interesting ride living here and then traveling, as I do, all over the world to do my corporate consulting thing.
Here's a 5-minute video of me telling a funny story about my little Woodstock secret coming out at a cocktail party in Munich, Germany. And here's the full story about it in the Huffington Post -- excerpted from my forthcoming book.February 04, 2015
An Early Valentine's Gift for You
Some people say creativity is the key to innovation. Others say perseverance, teamwork, risk taking or R&D. I say LOVE. Yup, love. Without love, innovation shrivels and dies. Mozart has something to say about this, too. Anyway, Valentine's Day is just 10 days away and, since we know you are working your little tushie off and may not make the time to buy the ones you love a gift -- we are giving you this show to give to them. And if you feel like giving to our favorite charity for whom we are dedicating this show, that would be fantastic.February 03, 2015
The Secret to a Good TED Talk The Idiot's Guide to Managerial Success in the 21st Century
February 02, 2015
CROSSING THE TEENAGE CHASM: The Power of Personal Storytelling
There are 16,593,242 teenage girls living in America. One of them lives in my house. That would be my daughter, Mimi, an extraordinary 17-year old who, shall we say, has been quite an education for me.
If you have a teenage daughter, you know what I mean. If you've been a teenage daughter, you know what I mean. If you have a friend with a teenage daughter (and spent hours chanting "It's just a phase she's going through, it too shall pass") you know what I mean. Everyone else -- oh ye of no teenagers in your life -- please give me the benefit of the doubt for a moment while I shed some major light on the little understood emerging science of how to communicate to a teenage girl.January 30, 2015
Networks 'R Us
Human beings' classic, overarching metaphor to explain the underlying structure of what's going on here on planet Earth (and inside a human being, too) is shifting from "Tree of Knowledge" to "Networks." Has big time implications for how an individual, team, department, company, or society organizes itself -- regardless of it's product or service. Lot of ground is covered in this wonderful RSA Animate presentation.
QUESTION: How can your organization shift from top down hierarchical to a self-organizing interactive network? How can people connect in new and elegant ways to share information, expertise, insight, and new ideas?January 27, 2015
Why Videos Go Viral
This is a very useful 7-minute overview of why videos go viral by the TREND MANAGER at YouTube. Three main reasons: 1) Tastemakers; 2) Communities of Participation; 3) Unexpectedness.
PS: In the next few days, I will be launching my attempt at a viral YouTube video on this blog . HINT: It has something to do with Valentine's Day.January 26, 2015
50 Awesome Quotes on Possibility
1. "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
2. "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll
3. "The Wright brother flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility." - Charles Kettering
4. "In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." - Miguel de Cervantes
5. "The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do." - Henry Moore
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