April 22, 2018
20 Reasons Why People Get Their Best Ideas in the Shower

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During the past 25 years, I've asked more than 10,000 people where and when they get their best ideas. I get all kinds of answers, but the one that has always fascinated me is "the shower" -- maybe because I also get so many of my good ideas there. And so, at the risk of overstating my case, I hereby offer you 20 reasons WHY the shower is so conducive to idea generation.

1. Showering signals "a new day" or "new beginning."

2. You're usually alone, with time to reflect.

3. Interruptions are rare.

4. The rush of water creates a kind of "white noise" that makes concentration easier.

5. Shower stalls look like little incubation chambers.

6. Water is associated with "contemplation" (i.e. sitting near a river, lake, or ocean.)

7. Showering is a metaphor for "getting rid of the dirt" -- the stuff that covers up what's beneath.

8. Showering is a ritual. Lots of creative people like to have little rituals to get their head in the right place.

9. You can write your ideas on the walls with a water soluble pen.

10. There's not a lot of judgment or analysis going on in a shower.

11. A hot shower opens the pores -- and by extension, maybe the mind.

12. Showering wakes up you. It makes you more alert.

13. Showering is a relaxing and stress free experience. With nothing to stress about, your mind is free to roam new territories.

14. If you shampoo, you're massaging your head. That's gotta be good.

15. It's hard to check your iphone or Blackberry in a shower.

16. Albert Einstein did his best thinking near a shower. ("Why is it I always get my best ideas while shaving?")

17. Water is associated with "flow." Being in the "flow state" is often a precursor to creative thinking.

18. There is no deliverable expected of you.

19. If you shower with a friend, and he/she happens to be in a brainstorming mode, lots of great ideas get sparked.

20. Showering is easy. Not a lot of thinking is required to make it happen, which frees your mind to think about other things.

Many stories from my book were remembered in the shower

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:48 AM | Comments (4)

April 17, 2018
20 Awesome Quotes on Beginning

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1."Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2. "There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth -- not going all the way, and not starting." - Buddha

3. "Be willing to be a beginner every single morning." - Meister Eckhart

4. "All great ideas and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning." - Albert Camus

5. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu

6. "Beginnings are always messy." - John Galsworthy

7. "When there is a start to be made, don't step over! Start where you are." - Edgar Cayce

8. "So many fail because they don't get started -- they don't go. They don't overcome inertia. They don't begin." - W. Clement Stone

9."Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." - Seneca

10."The beginning is the most important part of the work." - Plato

11."The beginnings of all things are small." - Cicero

12. "What's well begun is half done." - Horace

13. "Every exit is an entry somewhere else." - Tom Stoppard

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14. "The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." - Chinese Proverb

15. "No good ending can be expected in the absence of the right beginning." - I Ching

16. "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Martin Luther King

17. "Beginning is easy -- continuing hard." - Japanese Proverb

18. "There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning." - Louis L'Amour

19. "The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette." - Henry Hoskins

20. "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

Digital Art: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:26 AM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2018
International Good Idea Day!

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Let me be the first to inform you that today is the first annual International Good Idea Day -- a day I am officially declaring without the approval from my dysfunctional government or any slick lobbying group attempting to hustle other people's products or services for a hefty commission.

As the official creator of this fabulous new holiday, it is my honor to explain that the purpose of this way-better-than-groundhog-day extravaganza is for YOU to pitch your hottest new idea to someone in the next 60 minutes. Got it? Good! Go! (And if anything comes of it, please let me know).

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April 14, 2018
The Samurai Guide To Managing Difficult Clients (and having a life)

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You are smart. You are creative. You are committed. And you have an awesome grasp of social media. Of course you do, you are a mover and a shaker in a company trying to stay relevant, make some magic, and diffentiate itself from the competition. You are also going slightly insane.

Why? Because your clients routinely make insane demands on you, expecting miracles with very little notice. Part of you actually enjoys this phenomenon, given your fascination for big challenges and the ever-present potential to become heroic. Another part of you does not enjoy this phenomenon, often feeling like the deck is stacked against you. And guess what? It is -- not just because your client --internal or external, older, higher paid, or more experienced -- is constantly disregarding the fact that you have a life outside the workplace, but because this kind of client-driven behavior, unfortunately, has become the norm these days.

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Is there as way out of this madness? Yes there is. And it has everything to do with how you manage your clients. True, there is no formula or algorithm for how to do this, but it can be done. Yes, it can -- all modulated through your own particular style and your client's personality.

For starters, here are ten simple guidelines. Pick one and begin.

TEN SIMPLE WAYS TO BETTER MANAGE YOUR CLIENTS

1. Help your client translate their over-the-top request into a question that begins with the words "How can we?" The effort to frame a pressing challenge in the form of a "How can we?" question will open up the conversation, reveal hidden challenges for the two of you consider, and cut to the chase in an elegant, time-efficient way.

2. Get your client to describe their vision of success. The clearer your clients are about what their "hoped for outcomes" are, the more you will understand what's really required to get results.

3. Establish clear agreements and protocols at the beginning of the relationship. Let your clients know what you can do and what you can't do -- what you will do and what you won't. There will likely be a little voice in your head wondering if this will "fly" with the client. Relax. It will. In fact your client will respect you more for clarifying your boundaries.

4. When asked for a super-quick turnaround of a project, let your client know what you are able to deliver and what you are not able to deliver in the time frame requested. Let he/she know what the trade-offs are. Once your client becomes knowledgeable about the downsides of such a quick turnaround, he/she will be more likely to extend the deadline.

5. Speak the truth. If you know a particular request is impossible to fulfill in the time allotted, say so -- and offer an alternative fall back date. Even an extra day or two on a project can make all the difference in the world.

6. Be sure to ask "by when" your client needs the deliverable. Poke at the so-called deadline. Often, a client's request "by yesterday" means "a week from now," or "by Thursday", not "tomorrow." Don't assume your client's anxiety or lack of planning means you have to work all weekend.

7. Ask your client for the names and contact numbers of key people on their team (or in their company) -- resources you can contact on a moment's notice, especially when your client is unavailable.

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8. Practice "reflective listening" -- sometimes known as "checking for understanding." This is simple to do. For example, if your client makes a request of you at 4:59 pm on Friday (or any time, for that matter), restate your understanding of the request, i.e. "If I understand you correctly, you are asking my team and I to launch a new viral video for your company no later than tomorrow morning -- one that will get 10 million views by Monday. Is that accurate?" If it is (and you agree), at least you know what your mission is. If it's not (or gives your client pause), the two of you will be able to make some last-minute adjustments to your marching orders.

9. Realize that pushing back and saying "no" is not the same thing as being "negative." Your goal is to create a collaborative relationship, not an abusive one. You want to be a partner, not a slave -- a consultant/advisor, not a whipping boy or girl.

10. Feel free to give your clients feedback, not just head nods. Unfortunately, very few people know how to give feedback in a meaningful, effective, non-threatening way. And so they say nothing. Not a good idea. One feedback format you might consider using is called LCS. It takes only a few minutes, sometimes less. Here's how it works.

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April 12, 2018
Two Simple Steps to Sell Anybody on Your Vision

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You are a visionary. Or, if that word feels too inflated for you, then at least someone with an inspired vision of the future for your organization. To you, it's obvious. To others? Not so much. Your challenge? Communicating your vision in such a way that that people not only SEE it, but embrace it. Here's one thing to keep in mind as you proceeed -- some words of wisdom from Fast Company Magazine.

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April 11, 2018
SEIZE THE FUTURE (coming soon!)

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Since 1987, when I Co-Founded Idea Champions, I have met truckloads of keynote speakers, change agents, organizational consultants, facilitators, and trainers. Good people. Committed people. Skilled people. Of all of them, the one I've learned the most from is Steven McHugh. Steven and I Co-Founded Idea Champions back in the day and worked side by side, breath by breath for ten extraordinary years until we decided to go our separate ways.

Now the wheel turns once again and Steven and I are entering into the next phase of our partnership: COLLABORATION 2.0. Hooray!

One of the gifts that Steven has in spades is his ability to help teams, departments, and entire organizations co-create a clear, compelling, unified vision of their future. Many is the time I watched him work his magic, astounded at his energy, discernment, know how, and soulfulness. If his middle name wasn't "Raymond", it would be "Seymour".

I am happy to announce that next week, Idea Champions will be launching SEIZE THE FUTURE (get the double entendre?), Steven's highly engaging, hands-on, 2-day offsite for forward thinking organizations committed to co-creating a bold new future for themselves. If you can't wait that long, we're just an email away: info@ideachampions.com.

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As Alan Kay once said, "the best way to predict the future, is to invent it."

50 quotes on vision
The Idiot Savant's Guide to Accelerating Culture Change
Steven was the guy who taught AT&T how to juggle

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2018
STORYTELLING FOR THE REVOLUTION: The Introduction

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"Those who tell the story, rule the world." -- Hopi Indian saying

If you are wondering why I chose to call my book: Storytelling for the Revolution -- a title some people might think is incendiary, inflated, or overly dramatic, here's the reason: We need a revolution. We do. But the revolution I'm inviting you to join is not a political one. It has nothing to do with a change of government, laws, sanctions, or social structures. It has to do with a change of mind and a change of heart and a change in the way we communicate to each other.

It doesn't take a genius to recognize that the collective narrative occupying the airways these days is a dark one -- not all that surprising when you consider the sorry state of the world and the "if it bleeds, it leads" mindset of the media: Mitch Ditkoff5.jpgBad news sells. It's true. But bad news is not the only thing worth reporting on. Indeed, here is another kind of story that also needs to be heard -- one that rarely makes it to the evening news. And that story is revolutionary -- or could be -- the story of how each and every one of us is a broadcast station of insight, wisdom, and love, three phenomena that have the power to transform what is happening on planet Earth.

I am not suggesting you airbrush out the bad news to contemplate your navel. I'm not asking you to become apolitical. All I'm asking you to do is pay more attention to another kind of news -- one that can never be dominated by troll farms or spin doctors. And do you know what the reliable source of that story is? You. Yes, you!

Inside of you, there is another kind of story going on, another narrative, one that exists far beyond late breaking and this just in, one that too rarely gets told. I'm talking about the story of your life -- or, more specifically, the absolute Ground Zero of what you have learned and what you are learning, what you have felt and what you feeling, what you have seen and what you are seeing, even while the world burns down: Essence. Lessons learned. Insights. Moments of truth. Breakthroughs. Obstacles overcome. Personal tales of inspiration, kindness, resilience, love, meaning, vulnerability navigated, and the undeniable wisdom you have gleaned from your own life experiences. In other words, what makes you truly human, a homo sapien -- "the one who knows."

Sages, Masters, and Elders may be the most historically recognized "keepers of wisdom." but they are not the only ones. The rest of us are, too. The thing is -- we don't always know it. Our wisdom is often invisible to us. It is hiding. Unseen. Unacknowledged. And unexpressed. And where our wisdom is hiding, more often than not, is in our stories -- much like water is hiding in underground springs.

Everyone has wisdom inside them. Everyone. Everyone has learned something profound, soulful, and timeless in this life. Everyone has something meaningful to share and when they share it in the form of story, they have the potential to spark wisdom in others. Like, for example, the following story -- a brief retelling of an old Zen tale.

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Once upon a time, in feudal Japan, there was an old monk living in a monastery deep in the mountains. Ever since he was a small boy he had lived in this monastery and was considered by his fellow monks to be a most extraordinary soul. Every morning he would awake at 4:00 am and meditate for two hours. Then he practiced calligraphy and prepared breakfast for the other monks. Every afternoon, he read the sutras and, when he wasn't chanting mantras or writing haiku, he worked in the garden. Silently, of course.

Years passed. Seasons came and went. And so did his youth. But no matter how much effort he made, the enlightenment experience he was so diligently seeking never came. And so one day, in his 70th year, he decided to leave the monastery and return to the world. "Why should I continue with all these spiritual practices," he asked himself, "if they are not helping me reach my ultimate goal?

Needing to earn a living, he soon got a job as a sweeper in a local cemetery. Every day he went to work. And every day he swept.

And then, one sunny day, three years into his new, non-monastic life, a stone he had just swept off the path smashed into a tree and split in two. And when it did, something in him split in two, cracked wide open -- the kind of open that never closes again. Everything, suddenly, became totally clear to him. The enlightenment he had been seeking for 50 years had finally happened. Just like that.

The 40 stories in Storytelling for the Revolution are 40 stones splitting in two -- 40 examples of spontaneously occurring moments of truth -- awakenings, both large and small, none of which have ever made it to the evening news. Some of them are from my own life. Some are from the lives of others. They are, metaphorically speaking, a kind of DaVinci code that offers clues to the encrypted wisdom lurking just beneath the surface of our life -- the hard-to-communicate essence that ultimately defines what it means to be fully alive.

My book is not an autobiography. Nor is it a memoir. I share my stories not to call attention to me, but to call attention to you. All I'm doing is getting the party started -- your party -- a chance to take a look into the mirror of story and see, reflected back to you, parts of yourself that may have been hidden from view.

This is why I have written this book. Rather than give in to the despair, despondency, and disillusionment that has become the world's default position these days, I've decided to do everything within my power to reclaim the collective narrative for the greater good -- to revolve around a different sun -- the one that lights up our lives from the inside. And it all begins with story

You don't need to be an anthropologist to figure this out. Deconstruct any scripture, sermon, or TED talk and you will find story. That's how most meaningful messages are conveyed. Even the neuroscientists agree. When storytellers share their experiences, the same parts of the brain that light up in the storyteller upon telling their story, light up in the listener upon hearing it. "Mood contagion" it is called. "Somatic states". "Neural coupling"-- the phenomenon of one person transmitting not only information about X, Y, or Z, but also the experience.

The question isn't whether or not storytelling works. It does. The question is: "Are we going to step up and tell our stories?"

Every day, when a friend passes you on the street and asks "Whassup?" you have a choice to make. You can talk about your aching back, the weather, or the latest political catastrophe, or you can elevate the conversation by telling a story that matters. All you need to do is be yourself, choose wisely and seize the moment.

To help you make your way towards the front lines of storytelling, I've included, in PART ONE, 40 stories for your inspiration and delight -- 30 memorable "rock splitting moments" from my own life and ten classic teaching tales, many of which have been told for centuries. Each story is followed by a question to consider so you can apply its message to your own life. PART TWO is a Field Guide, complete with tips, tools, and techniques for how you can become a better, more confident storyteller. Or, if you really want to go for it, how you can become a storytelling revolutionary on the front lines of your own life -- a sacred activist of insight, wisdom and love.

Ready? I hope so. It's time to gather around the fire and begin...

PS: The book will be published in early June and will be available on Amazon then, both as a softcover and a downloadable, digital version.

MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

On Creating an Innovation Mindset

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If you want to spark innovation in your organization and are looking for the diamond cutters stroke, consider storytelling. Since 1987, I've tried everything under the sun to help my clients raise the bar for innovation. What I've discovered is that innovation begins in the mind and that unless people are in the right mindset, innovation will never be more than a pipe dream. Storytelling, I've learned, is the simplest, fastest, most memorable way to get people into an innovation mindset. Here's how we do it. And if you only have 90 minutes, this is how we do it. Its also boosts employee engagement.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:10 AM | Comments (2)

April 05, 2018
HOW TO RAISE YOUR COMPANY'S CORE COMPETENCY OF INNOVATION (in 15 min. per week)

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Want to boost innovation in your organization, but have precious little time to do so? Our Micro-Learning for Innovators program may be just the ticket. And the fee? Name your own price. We be walking the talk. Here's what one of our clients says about it.

Photo: Doran Erickson, Unsplash
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2018
50 Awesome Quotes on Vision

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1. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

2. "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, and magic and power in it. Begin it now." - Goethe

3. "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo

4. "It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?" - Henry David Thoreau

5. "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

6. "If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

7. "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens." - Carl Jung

8. "The empires of the future are empires of the mind." - Winston Churchill

9. "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible." - Jonathan Swift

10. "Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: 'Who do we intend to be?' Not 'What are we going to do?' but 'Who do we intend to be?' - Max DePree

11. "Vision without action is a daydream. Action with without vision is a nightmare." - Japanese Proverb

12. "The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Alan Kay

13."Where there is no vision the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18

14. "Vision without execution is hallucination." - Thomas Edison

15. "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis

16. "If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise." - Robert Fritz

17. "Create your future from your future, not your past." - Werner Erhard

18. "To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind." - Seneca

19. "You've got to think about big things while you're doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction." - Alvin Toffler

20. "To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act.: - Anatole France

21. "A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it." - Soren Kierkegaard

22. "A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there." - David Gergen

23. "The very essence of leadership is that you have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." - Theodore Hesburgh

24. "Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we shall find the way." - Abraham Lincoln

25. "Dreams are extremely important. You can't do it unless you can imagine it." -George Lucas

26. "Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements." - Napoleon Hill

27. "Pain pushes until vision pulls." - Michael Beckwith

28. "Vision animates, inspires, transforms purpose into action." - Warren Bennis

29. "The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both." - Buddha

30. "Rowing harder doesn't help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction." - Kenichi Ohmae

31. "It's not what the vision is, it's what the vision does." - Peter Senge

32. "In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield." - Warren Buffett

33. "A leader will find it difficult to articulate a coherent vision unless it expresses his core values, his basic identity. One must first embark on the formidable journey of self-discovery in order to create a vision with authentic soul." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

34. "The best vision is insight." - Malcolm Forbes

35. "You have to know what you want. And if it seems to take you off the track, don't hold back, because perhaps that is instinctively where you want to be. And if you hold back and try to be always where you have been before, you will go dry." - Gertrude Stein

36. "The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." - Albert Einstein

37. "I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That's were the fun is." - Donald Trump

38. "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." - Arthur Schopenhauer

39. "People only see what they are prepared to see." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

40. "The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision." - Helen Keller

41. "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." - Jack Welsh

42. "A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more." - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

43. "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants." - Isaac Newton

44. "The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious." - John Scully

45. "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

46. "Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

47. "Looking up gives light, although at first it makes you dizzy." - Rumi

48. "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain

49. "In order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles." - - David Ben-Gurion

50. "The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

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EXCELLENT (Free) WEBINAR ON TEAMWORK: April 2 or 3

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Click here to register for the Ignite Your Unstoppable Team webinar presented by Shane Hipps. His online Masterclass will include the following:

-- The #1 ingredient to attract the best people to your team

-- The best way to double your team's productivity

-- How to maximize your profit/impact with a few tweaks to your strategy

-- Simple tools to mobilize others to take action

I first heard about Shane from Tim Gallwey, of the Inner Game. Shane's coached some of the best and brightest leaders in the world, like Ije Nwokorie, a senior director at Apple, and Greg Henry, winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Go for it!

Register here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2018
The 10 Personas of an Effective Brainstorm Facilitator

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Allow me to make a wild guess. You have participated in more than a few brainstorm sessions in your life. Yes?

And allow me to make another wild guess. Many of those sessions left you feeling underwhelmed, over-caffeinated, disappointed, disengaged, and doubtful that much of ANYTHING was ever going to happen as a result of your participation. Yes, again? I thought so.

There's a ton of reasons why most brainstorming sessions under-deliver, but the main reason -- the Mount Olympus of reasons (drum roll, please....) is the brainstorm facilitator. Armed with a short list of ground rules, a flipchart marker, and a muffin, most brainstorm facilitators miss the mark completely.

The reason has less to do with their process, tools, and techniques than it does with their inability to adapt to what's happening, real-time, in the room. In an all-too-professional attempt to be one-pointed, they end up being one-dimensional, missing out on a host of in-the-moment opportunities to spark the ever-mutating, collective genius of the group.

If only our well-intentioned brainstorm facilitators could abide by the words of Walt Whitman, when he confessed that he "contained multitudes."

Translation? If you or anyone you know is going to lead a diverse group of time-crunched, opinionated, multi-tracking, people through a process of originating breakthrough ideas, DON'T BE A ONE TRICK PONY! Be a multitude -- or, at the very least, be multi-faceted. Let it rip. Hang ten. Pull out the stops.

Use your right brain and your left. Let all the cats out of the proverbial bag -- and by so doing, exponentially increase your chances of sparking brainpower, brilliance, and beyond-the-obvious ideas.

OK. Enough bloggy pep talk. Let's get down to business. Take a few minutes now to rate yourself, on a scale of 1-10, for how skillful you are at embodying the following personas of a high flying brainstorm facilitator. Then tune into your biggest strength and ask yourself how you can amplify that quality. Then identify your biggest weakness and figure out how you can improve in that arena.

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1.CONDUCTOR
A skilled brainstorm facilitator knows how to orchestrate powerfully creative output from a seemingly dissonant group of people. In the conductor mode, the facilitator includes everyone, evokes even the subtlest contributions from the least experienced participant, and demonstrates their commitment to the whole by offering timely feedback to anyone who "gets lost in their own song."

2.ALCHEMIST
A good brainstorm facilitator is able to transmute lead into gold -- or in modern terms -- knows how to help people "get the lead out." This talent requires an element of wizardry -- the ability to see without looking, feel without touching, and intuitively know that within each brainstormer lives a hidden genius just waiting to get out.

3.DANCER
Light on their feet, brainstorm facilitators move gracefully through the process of sparking new ideas. Able to go from the cha-cha to the polka to the whirling dervish spinning of a brainstorm group on fire, savvy facilitators take bold steps when necessary, even when there is no visible ground underfoot. "The path is made by walking on it," is their motto.

4. MAD SCIENTIST
Skillful brainstorm facilitators are bold experimenters, often taking on the crazed (but grandfatherly) look of an Einstein in heat. While respecting the realm of logic and the rational (the ground upon which most scientists build their homes), the enlightened facilitator is willing to throw it all out the window in the hope of triggering a "happy accident" or a quantum leap of thought. Indeed, it is often these discontinuous non-linear moments that produce the kind of breakthroughs that logic can only describe, never elicit itself.

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5.DIAMOND CUTTER
Fully recognizing the precious gem of the human imagination (as well as the delicacy required to set it free), the high octave brainstorm facilitator is a craftsman (or craftswoman) par excellence -- focused, precise, and dedicated. Able to get to the heart of the matter in a single stroke without leaving anything or anyone damaged in the process.

6. ACTOR
Brainstorm facilitators are "on stage" whether they like it or not. All eyes are upon them, as well as all the potential critical reviews humanly possible. More often than not, the facilitator's "audience" will only be moved to act (perchance to dream) if they believe the facilitator is completely into his or her role. If the audience does not suspend this kind of disbelief, the play will close early and everyone will be praying for a fire drill or wishing they were back home eating a grilled cheese sandwich.

7.ENVIRONMENTALIST
Brainstorm facilitators are the original recyclers. In their relentless pursuit of possibility, they look for value in places other people see as useless. To the facilitator in full mojo mode, "bad ideas" aren't always bad, only curious indicators that something of untapped value is lurking nearby.

8. OFFICER OF THE LAW
One of the brainstorm facilitator's most important jobs is to enforce "law and order" once the group gets roaring down the open highway of the imagination. This is a fine art -- for in this territory speeding is encouraged, as is running red lights, jaywalking, and occasionally breaking and entering. Just as thieves have their code of honor, however, so too should brainstormers. Indeed, it is the facilitator's task to keep this code intact -- a task made infinitely easier by the ritual declaration of ground rules at the start of a session.''

9.SERVANT
Some brainstorm facilitators, intoxicated by the group energy and their own newly stimulated imagination, use their position as a way to foist their ideas on others -- or worse, manipulate the group into their way of thinking. Oops! Ouch! Aargh! Brainstorm facilitating is a service, not a personal platform. It is supposed to be a selfless act that enables others to arrive at their own solutions, no matter how different they may be from the facilitator's.

10. STAND-UP COMIC
Humor is one of the brainstorm facilitator's most important tools. It dissolves boundaries, activates the right brain, helps participants get unstuck, and shifts perspective just enough to help everyone open their eyes to new ways of seeing. Trained facilitators are always on the lookout for humorous responses. They know that humor often signals some of the most promising ideas, and that giggles, guffaws, and laughable side-talk frequently indicate a rich vein of possibility to explore. Humor also makes the facilitator much more "likable" which makes the group they are facilitating more amenable to their direction. Ever wonder why the words "Aha!" and "Ha-Ha" are so similar?

Brainstorm Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

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