The International Day of Compassion + Kindness
As a former political speechwriter and present day observer of the oddball dynamics accompanying the fast approaching U.S. Presidential Inauguration, I have developed an increasing respect for a man who, my fact checkers have assured me, has never watched CNN, FOX News, or Celebrity Apprentice -- Isaac Newton. Yes, Isaac Newton -- the bewigged, 17th century English physicist after whom the Third Law of Physics ("For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction") has been named.January 13, 2017
The 10 Personas of an Effective Brainstorm Facilitator
Allow me to make a wild guess. You have participated in more than a few brainstorm sessions in your life. Yes?
A Sneak Preview Into the Art and Science of Brainstorming
Brainstorming, in most companies, is broken. Or, if not broken, breaking. Or, if not breaking, highly impaired. Those of us at Idea Champions are dedicated to changing the game -- and have been doing so for 25 years.January 03, 2017
What I Learned from Being Heckled at a Keynote Presentation
Every person who has ever had a job has experienced at least one "moment of truth" in their life -- a time when all the chips were on the table and the decision of whether to go "all in" or not had to be made.January 02, 2017
Have Pluma, Will Travel
I will be on a 10 week writer's retreat in San Miguel de Allende working on my next book, Storytelling for the Revolution. During that time I will have about 7 hours each week for free lance writing and editing projects. Contact me if you have the need: firstname.lastname@example.orgDecember 31, 2016
Two Dogs Dining
Break time. Stop saving the world (or your company) for the moment and simply enjoy this video. Laughing aloud allowed.December 29, 2016
Big Blues From the Viagra People
The concept was a simple one: help organizations increase teamwork and decrease complaint by getting employees to write and perform original blues songs.
The concept resonated with a lot of industries, especially Big Pharma.
Oh yeah, they had the blues, lots of blues, like the "Now We Gotta Compete with Generic Drugs from Canada Blues," and the "No One Trusts the Drug Companies Anymore Blues," and the always popular, "Our Pipeline Is Empty, But Our Inbox is Full Blues."
So we weren't all that surprised when Pfizer came calling...December 27, 2016
Why Train People to Become Masterful Brainstorm Facilitators
December 23, 2016
100 Awesome Quotes on What It Really Takes To Innovate
1. "I want to put a ding in the universe." - Steve Jobs
2. "Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them." - Alfred North Whitehead
3. "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." - Jonas Salk
4. "If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong." - Charles Kettering
5. "Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen KellerDecember 18, 2016
Tis the Season to Tell Your Stories
'Tis the season to tell your stories, folks! Your families are gathering. Your friends are coming to visit. The tribe is reconvening, whether it's around the fire, the dining room table, or the turkey in the kitchen. Wherever you find yourself, you will have lots of opportunities to share with others -- not just the gifts you bought at the mall, but the stories of your life -- memorable moments of truth that have moved you and are likely to move others.
THIS is what people will remember, not the device you give them, not the card, not the pumpkin pie. So tell your stories! And when others tell theirs, stop what you're doing and listen. Stories, well-told and well-listened, are one of the best ways to connect with others and REMEMBER what's truly important in this life.December 17, 2016
How to Facilitate Breakthrough Brainstorming Sessions for Your Clients in Three Hours or Less
Here's the deal: You are one of the creatives in a high flying PR, Marketing, or Communications company and have been asked by one of your clients to lead an upcoming brainstorming session. That's the good news. The-not-so-good news? Even though you're an idea-generating machine, facilitating sessions that bring out brilliance in others is not your forte. And to raise the stakes even higher, your client wants more than just "ideas". Your client wants remarkable, actionable ideas and wants the session to be highly engaging, energizing, and worth their precious time. Get it? The heat is on, big time.December 16, 2016
TAKING YOUR ORGANIZATION'S PULSE: The Current Reality CheckUp
Just like a GPS needs to know where you are in order to guide you to your destination, savvy business leaders need to know where their organization is in order to navigate its way forward. Enter Idea Champions' Current Reality Check-Up -- a highly engaging needs assessment process that provides movers and shakers with deep insight into the mindset, perspective, needs, and values of their workforce and customers.December 15, 2016
24 Quotes on Good Communication
1. "The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said." - Peter Drucker
2. "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." - George Bernard ShawDecember 14, 2016
A Cool, New Way to Capture Ideas
If you are reading this blog, I am 95 percent certain you value the power of BIG IDEAS. I'm also certain that you've experimented with various ways of capturing your big ideas: Notebooks. Voice memos. Post-its. Napkins. Whiteboards. Mind maps. And who knows how many other techniques. If so, you are likely to be intrigued by Chuck Frey's newly published guide about how to set up EVERNOTE as a way support a complete, end-to-end creative process. We like Chuck. You will, too.Great Quotes on Customer Service
The following quotes are dedicated to the good people of Nations Roof, a forward-thinking client of ours who continues to impress us with their commitment to providing extraordinary customer service.
"Always keep in mind the old retail adage: Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price." - Lauren Freedman
"The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary." - Sam Walton
"Make a customer, not a sale." - Katherine Barchetti
100 Days of Rejection
Entertaining and inspiring 15 minute TED talk about a fascinating experiment launched by a young entrepreneur and what he learned about how to turn rejection into opportunities.December 05, 2016
We Were Made for These Times!
What follows is an extraordinary call of the heart by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Not only is it worth reading, it's worth reading aloud -- so you hear it and feel it as well as see it. Then, you get to decide who you want to share it with -- and how. This is a piece of deep, soul-inspired, primal writing that deserves to travel to every corner of the Earth.December 04, 2016
25 Reasons Why Brainstorming Sessions Fail in Your Company
Whenever I ask my clients to tell me about the quality of their company's brainstorming sessions, they usually roll their eyes and grumble, noting several of the phenomena below.
Recognize any of them in your organization?
1. Lame facilitation
2. Wrong problem statement
3. Unmotivated participants
4. Hidden (or competing) agendas
5. Insufficient diversity of participants
6. Addiction to the status quo
7. Lack of clear ground rules
8. Sterile meeting space
9. No transition from "business as usual"
10. Lack of robust participation
WANT TO LEAD A GOOD MEETING? Begin with Facilitative Presence!
Since 1987, I have been facilitating a wide variety of high octave business meetings for just about every industry on planet earth. These meetings have been variably referred to as leadership development programs, creative thinking trainings, innovation workshops, team building off sites, brainstorming sessions, strategic planning pow wows, senior team retreats, annual conferences, and business simulations.
Along the way, as you might imagine, I've developed quite a repertoire of approaches, methods, processes, tools, techniques, and skills to help me get the job done. All of them have worked if delivered in the right way at the right time.
But when push comes to shove (as it often does), the single most effective meeting facilitation ability I've discovered is the most mysterious one of all: presence. Yes, presence, -- the ability to be totally in the moment, no matter what the collective mood, mindset, or drama is of the people in the room.November 24, 2016
Service Beyond the Call of Duty
Most companies trying to get a "competitive advantage" eventually realize that the key is customer service -- the ability to differentiate themselves from the competition by delivering their product or service in unforgettable ways. Here's a memorable example:
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