The Power of Tears
Social media did not exist when I was 26. But social work did -- a profession dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals, groups, families, couples, and communities.
As the Golden Boy of an upper middle class Jewish family from New York, social work was not on my radar screen. The pay wasn't good enough. The status wasn't high enough. And the hours weren't short enough.
So when my neighbor, a University of Virginia Medical Center pediatrician, invited me to become the social worker for a new, federally-funded "early intervention" program I was only half listening. Yes, I was social and yes, I knew how to work, but counseling parents of multi-handicapped infants did not seem like a talent I possessed.
My neighbor, the pediatrician, saw it differently.April 27, 2015
Deciphering the Secret Code of Tacit Knowledge
What is it that all human beings share in common other than the need for air, water, and the undeniable fact that they will answer this question in a wide variety of ways? Well, at the risk of disturbing the people likely to answer this question in a wide variety of ways, I would venture to say a deeply ingrained need to know -- a search for the kind of knowledge needed to thrive in this world.
15 Quotes on the Importance of Asking the Right Question
As a facilitator of the creative process, I continue to be astounded by how few organizations have any kind of process is place to PAUSE, reflect, and make sure they are coming up with the right questions. Apparently, I'm not alone.
1. "It's not that they can't see the solution. They can't see the problem." - G.K. Chesterton
2. "There are no right answers to wrong questions." - Ursula K. Le Guin
3. "We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong." - Bono
4. "Ask the right questions if you're going to find the right answers." - Vanessa Redgrave
5. "Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers." - Robert HalfHow to Tell a Good Story
Let's start with the basics: You already know how to tell a good story. You do. You've been telling stories your entire life. Today, you probably told at least a few. And later, tonight, you will probably tell some more -- whether they are merely accounts of your day, a memorable encounter you had at work, or a reminiscence from days gone by.
Story is the ocean we are swimming in. And because it is, we don't necessarily feel wet when we're in it, but we are.
Fish aren't taught to swim. And you aren't taught to tell stories. As a child, you didn't need to be taught. All you needed was to hear them and them tell them to others -- which you did -- everything from The Three Little Pigs to Jack and the Beanstalk to the excuses you laid on your teachers for not handing in your homework on time.April 24, 2015
Thank You! April 21, 2015
10 Ways to Help Left Brainers Tap Into Their Creativity
If your job requires you to lead meetings, brainstorming sessions, or problem solving gatherings of any kind, chances are good that most of the people you come in contact with are left-brain dominant: analytical, logical, linear folks with a passion for results and a huge fear that the meeting you are about to lead will end with a rousing chorus of kumbaya.
Not exactly the kind of mindset conducive to breakthrough thinking.
Do not lose heart, oh facilitators of the creative process. Even if you find yourself in a room full of 10,000 left brainers, there are tons of ways to work with this mindset in service to bringing out the very best of the group's collective genius:April 20, 2015
An Airtight Case for Giving People More Time to Be Creative
The most common complaint I hear from my clients about WHY they can't be more creative on-the-job is the "lack of time". Check out what happens if you give kids 10 minutes instead of 10 seconds to be creative.
In what ways can you give yourself, your team, or your entire company more time to create?
Thank to Chris Tardieu for the heads up!
20 Things to Remember If You Love a Highly Creative Person
April 11, 2015
Why You Need to Ask Why
Some years ago, there was a big problem at one of America's most treasured monuments -- the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
Simply put, birds -- in huge numbers -- were pooping all over it, which made visiting the place a very unpleasant experience.
Attempts to remedy the situation caused even bigger problems, since the harsh cleaning detergents being used were damaging the memorial.
Fortunately, some of the National Parks managers assigned to the case began asking WHY -- as in "Why was the Jefferson Memorial so much more of a target for birds than any of the other memorials?"April 10, 2015
The Four Lenses of Innovation
A wonderful new book on innovation, by Rowan Gibson, THE FOUR LENSES OF INNOVATION: A Power Tool for Creative Thinking, has recently been published by Wiley. Rowan Gibson is the real deal -- a lucid, passionate, creative thought leader in the field of innovation. If you are looking for a simple way to cut through a lot of the ho hum mumbo jumbo about innovation, this book is for you.April 09, 2015
The 8 Dimensions of a Brainstorm Session
Most people think brainstorming sessions are all about ideas -- much in the same way Wall Street bankers think life is all about money.
While ideas are certainly a big part of brainstorming, they are only a part.
People who rush into a brainstorming session starving for new ideas will miss the boat (and the train, car, and unicycle) completely unless they tune into the some other important dynamics that are also at play:
1. INVESTIGATION: If you want your brainstorming sessions to be effective, you'll need to do some investigating before hand. Get curious. Ask questions. Dig deeper. The more you find out what the real issues are, the greater your chances of framing powerful questions to brainstorm and choosing the best techniques to use.April 08, 2015
100 Reasons Why You Definitely Won't Read This Blog Posting
I know you have no time. YOU know you have no time. I know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. YOU know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. We both know you're not going to read this blog post. It's too long and you have more important things to do.
What follows are 100 other reasons why you won't read it.April 06, 2015
35 Awesome Quotes from Einstein
Since 1986, every innovation workshop I've facilitated has included a poster of Albert Einstein.
Somehow, Einstein's smiling countenance inspires everyone in the room -- no matter what their social style, gender, or title.
The only thing I find more fascinating than this is the incredible amount of powerful quotes he left behind.
1. "The only real valuable thing is intuition."
2. "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
3. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
4. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
5. "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."April 03, 2015
What On-The-Job Wisdom Lessons Are Most Compelling to You?
If you have four minutes and are interested in the topic of storytelling in business, I invite you to respond to my online poll -- your chance to tell me what themes about storytelling in the workplace are most meaningful to you. Thank you!
If you want to get an email alert when my book is published
Big thank you to Jesse Ditkoff for the graphics
STORYTELLING AT WORK: The Mailing List
If you would like to receive an email alert when my forthcoming book is published in the Fall, just click this link and write your email address in the space provided. Takes 30 seconds.
Below are a few excerpts from the book, previously published in the Huffington Post.
March 27, 2015
SERVE A YEAR -- the PSA is AOK and LOL: Clinton & Kimmel March 24, 2015
The 10 Personas of a Really Effective Brainstorm Facilitator
Allow me to make a wild guess. You have participated in more than a few brainstorm sessions in your life. Yes?
WANT TO RAISE THE BAR FOR FOLLOW UP? Tell This Story
One of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients, especially clients who have lead or participated in brainstorming sessions, is that follow-up is often underwhelming.
People who attend these kinds of meetings may generate a lot of ideas, but things tend to go south after after people leave the room. Action plans and "next steps" may have been dutifully done, but even so, those kinds of efforts don't always bear fruit.
If you want to raise the odds for real follow-up and completion actually happening, consider telling this story as a prelude to any action planning you do. It will cut through the rhetoric and help people have an emotional, memorable response to your request for meeting participants to actually complete their tasks in a mindful way.
High Velocity Brainstorming
Our storytelling workshop
20 Awesome Quotes on Humor, Play, and Creativity
1. "To stimulate creativity one must develop childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition." - Albert Einstein
2. "If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play." - John Cleese
3. "If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think." - Clarence Darrow
4. "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves." - Carl JungMarch 10, 2015
30 Ways to Know If You Have What It Really Takes to Innovate
Do you have what it takes to innovate? I'm not talking IQ, degree, or job title. I'm talking the curious confluence of behaviors that come with the territory of being someone who turns top of the line ideas into bottom line realities.
1. You come up with great ideas in the shower and car
2. You like to stay up late... or get up early... or both
3. You're comfortable with ambiguity and chaos
4. While your ducks are rarely in a row, they're happy most of the time
5. You're not worried about failing
6. You've invited at least one friend into your personal think thank
7. You test out your ideas on just about anyone who will listen
8. You know what you don't know, but can't always explain it
9. You like making connections between things that don't go together.
10. You're open to feedback and also don't care what anybody thinks
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