Retooling Your Brainstorming Strategies

“There’s nothing efficient about innovation.”

– Simon Sinek

It is well known that brainstorming is an essential part of everyday business practices. Most people take the time out of their busy lives to develop new ideas, consider potential innovations, and collaborate with others. But oftentimes, many do not evaluate the process of brainstorming beyond the simple “take a step back and think about everything.” In fact, there are numerous different approaches to brainstorming that may better your ability to cultivate new ideas. Understanding these strategies and applying them to your personal practices can provide significant upside.

It is important first to understand the main purpose of brainstorming: finding the best and most useful idea. Knowing this, all involved in the process of brainstorming should take whatever creative angle possible to pursue this potential innovation. The often-overused phrase “there are no bad ideas” is essential when it comes to brainstorming. It may be frustrating hearing ridiculous ideas from time to time but cultivating an environment where all sorts of ideas are welcome will only better your chances of revealing worthwhile solutions.

Even though the phrase “there are no bad ideas” should be taken seriously, criticism and push back on certain ideas should not disappear completely. In fact, discussion and debate is an equally essential part in the brainstorming process. Oftentimes, two people can have ineffective ideas, but through honest deliberation a third, more effective idea can emerge. The brainstorming process is not often linear. Good ideas regularly form from periods of what seems like ineffective efforts.

The key to effective brainstorming is a combination of collaborative persistence and synergistic argumentation. The best way to ensure success in this regard is to have all those involved in this process to be like minded in their pursuit for innovation. An environment that allows several creative ideas, while still engaging in critical discourse, is one best suited for future success.

Controlling Stress

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

– Bruce Lee

Despite frequent attempts to retain positivity in the workplace, stress may often be a commonplace feeling in your day to day. Stress is a natural process when dealing with high impact and hardworking environments. However, fully accepting stress as something that cannot be controlled will only cause further hardship on your day to day mindset. It is important, for this reason, to identify and manage stress as much as possible. Here are a few steps you can take to better control stress in your work life.

A major contributor to daily stress is clutter and disarray. This may come in the form of a messy workplace, a pile up of emails, or just a general lack of clarity in daily tasks. Managing these issues can vary from person to person, but for all, excess in any of these areas almost always leads to unnecessary stress. Solutions may be to only check emails at designated times throughout the day and making it clear your particular communication policies with employees. Relegating these typically stressful elements to contained areas throughout your day will allow them not to hang over your head and cause more stress than necessary.

This same philosophy can be transmitted to other areas of the workday, such as meetings and other forms of communication. Regular meetings should have structured and clear outlines where all parties involved are aware of the tasks at hand. This allows meetings to flow more freely without the bored or stressful feeling of not knowing what will come next or when it will end. Oftentimes, meetings can be boiled down to one or two clear goals, and a widespread understanding of this goal can help everyone have a focused and stress-free attitude to complete the task at hand.

With all areas of stress elimination, the main challenge is controlling and utilizing communication. As with an overabundance of emails, or overlong meeting practices, knowing when to limit communication can be positive overall to your production and mental health. The key is being clear on these matters and allowing others to work with you in a way that best allows present and future productivity.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Developing Culture in a Virtual Environment

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”

-Bill Gates

As businesses establish themselves more and more in the digital landscape, so do many traditional business practices, chiefly among them, the cultivation of company culture. Without many of the in person or face to face interactions of the typical office setting, some businesses may find it a challenge to redefine or further establish the sort of culture necessary for success. However, with a better understanding of the virtual environment, one should be able to maintain, if not better, their desired company-wide culture.

When initially addressing this issue of culture in a new environment, it is best to look backwards and recognize the sort of culture established previously. If serious effort has already been made in cultivating culture within your business, then the focus should be on refamiliarizing oneself with those key values and determining how they can best be utilized in a virtual environment. While traditional physicality is not present, many of the key components of communication translate smoothly within face to face video chats and similar forms of virtual communication.

With a focus on essential values in this new setting, it should next be determined what appears to be lost in this shift of environment. For some, it may be little things like small talk that seem to dissipate in these somewhat hyper-focused group meetings. And with video conferences typically being the only face to face communication coworkers have daily, passing conversations and friendly gestures may be lost. Recognizing this and putting forth effort to create a space for such interactions can allow your culture to thrive in a way that further accelerates positivity and production.

Culture can best be developed by taking all areas of concern into account while making sure communication is clear and participatory across the board. Cultivating a successful work environment should include both the embracing of the positive elements while still understanding the many shortcomings of a shift in setting. Seeing the virtual world as an avenue for certain ingenuities, while still striving to maintain the essence of one’s original company culture, your business as whole can find productivity in ways previously unforeseen.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Embracing Change

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

– John F. Kennedy

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern business, constant change seems almost inevitable. Often, naturally, many try to avoid change for the fear of the unknown and other obstacles that it brings. However, since the existence of change can often be completely out of one’s control, the optimal way to deal with it is to embrace it head on. Embracing change can not only get you through times of struggle, but also evolve into something beneficial. Here are a few ways to project and capitalize on moments of change.

The major key for dealing with a changing environment is simple: adaptation. Often, the nature of change creates a situation that differs from the one you and your business is most comfortable. Dealing with change in this manner should be one of adaptation rather than confrontation. Attacking this new environment with an attitude of destruction can often create an even more dire situation. The best way to deal with this type of situation is to focus on understanding the new elements and using them to your advantage, rather than disregarding anything foreign to your status quo.

It is best to understand change as an always evolving process that is natural to any and all business practices. Understanding and conquering a new situation is important but ending the process as soon as you see an inkling of a solution can be harmful. All business should constantly be on the lookout for change and understand that if a new situation presents itself, surely another will come in the future. However, those who succeed in this process give themselves a competitive advantage and will be better equipped to deal with obstacles in future endeavors.

In all areas of life, viewing opposition as something that can be potentially beneficial typically yields positive results. Approaching changes in your business should be no different. The same way one deals with an unexpected increase in profits or business opportunity, so should one approach elements that seem oppositional at first. Seeing all areas of business as an opportunity for effective productivity can certainly yield an overall positive outcome.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization