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Leveraging Team Assets Effectively, Thanks to Coach Wooden

Success is the peace of mind which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.” John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood

I just had to talk about the Wizard during the month of the NCAA Championship. Wooden left us with such an amazing legacy of excellence and leadership.

He won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years at UCLA, including 88 straight college games. He was renowned for his leadership and his skills as a “teacher” coach long before Phil Jackson or Mike Krzyzewski.  He coached legendary All-Americans Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton among many others.

Coach Wooden was renowned for his pyramid of success for our personal and professional lives, and here are seven of my favorite pyramid points:

  1. Competitive greatness — Be at your best when your best is needed. Have enjoyment of a difficult challenge.
  2. Confidence — Respect without fear may come from being prepared and keeping all things in proper perspective.
  3. Initiative — Cultivate the ability to make decisions and think alone. Don’t be afraid of failure; learn from it.
  4. Industriousness — There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.
  5. Enthusiasm — Washes off upon those with whom you come in contact. You must truly enjoy what you are doing.
  6. Skill — A knowledge of the ability to properly and quickly execute the fundamentals. Be prepared and cover every little detail.
  7. Team spirit — A genuine consideration of others. An eagerness to sacrifice personal interest of glory for the welfare of all.

Hey, I know this is old-school. But no wonder he was so successful AND respected AND loved. His advice was always concise, compelling, coherent and clear, and definitely motivational.

What points of the Wooden pyramid help you lead your organization?

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Use Ideatoons to Express, See & Think More Creativity

Ideatoons is a creativity tool that allows you to express, see and think about your business challenge by depicting your challenge in pictures.

This creativity tool is compliments of innovation expert Michael Michalko’s ThinkerToys.

Ideatoons uses a visual thinking technique called pattern language, which was invented by architects Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein to create new building designs. The visual, flexible nature of pattern language makes it a potent creative device for seeing new and different relationships between attributes.

Here is the Ideatoons blueprint as well as entertaining and inspiring success stories:

1. Divide your challenge into attributes — For example, a new product introduction’s attributes can include R&D, production, sponsorship, PR, retail displays, pro athletes, etc.

2. Describe each attribute by drawing an abstract graphic symbol — For a new running shoe draw a Nike swoosh, brilliant mesh construction, marathons, running clubs, store displays, etc. Each picture is a specific attribute and will be on its own index card. Draw whatever feels right for you. Allow the image of the attribute to emerge in its own way – to state what it wants to say. On the back of the card, write the attribute.

3. Place all of the index cards on a table with the graphic symbols facing up — Group and regroup the symbols randomly into various relationships. Let the cards arrange themselves without conscious direction, so they tell you where they want to be. Mix and match symbols to spur ideas.

4. Look for ideas and thoughts you can link to your challenge — Try to force relationships or free associating. Record the most idea-provoking arrangements. Physically rearranging cards will invent new relationships and new ideas. Turn symbols upside down and sideways to make new patterns.

5. When stalemated, you may want to add other Ideatoons or even start an entirely new set.

Here are some great examples of successful Ideatoons creations from ThinkerToys:

  • A banker wanted to solve the problem of stolen checks and the act of using pictures itself prompted the idea of printing customer’s pictures on their checks.
  • A travel agent looking for ways to increase business drew travel pictures — airplanes, agencies, books, clothes, boats, CDs, DVDs, airport lounges, etc. He created a new concept for travel agencies: a travel center with lounges for viewing travel DVDs, private planning suites and a gift shop for selling books, DVDs and maps.
  • An ad executive specializing in small bus ads framed the problem, “In what ways might I create ads that once seen are never forgotten?” He considered attributes like billboards, high traffic, buses, unique media and even memory. His bus symbol reminded him of a cow, so he created billboard advertising on cows. He located farms near high-traffic areas (e.g., airports) and sold farmers on renting cow space with two-by-three pieces of oil cloth and ad messages. For an extra fee, he rented a cowbell to attract more attention. If a cow gives birth, the customer gets a sign on the calf for free. Billboards that have babies — what a value!

Thanks, Michael, for this great creativity tool. I am using it to develop a new brand-building process for our clients.

How can you use Ideatoons to boost your creativity and generate new ideas and growth?

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Fascinate to Public Relations’ Success

Fascination can be the most powerful way to influence decision making as well as to energize your public relations and content marketing.

Fascination is more persuasive than traditional marketing and advertising or any other form of communication. And it all starts with seven universal triggers: lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice and trust.

In fact, fascination plays a role in every type of decision making including your favorite brand, most remembered song, the person you marry and the employees you hire.  And by activating the right triggers, you can make anything fascinating.

That’s the premise of this very enlightening book called Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers To Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead, a creative director who has developed fascinating ideas for Fortune 500 companies and startups.

Sally’s book is based on research with the national opinion company Kelton Research. Here are her definitions of the seven triggers and reasons why we are fascinated:

  • Lust is the anticipation of pleasure, and craving is the anticipation of pleasure. Sally illustrates this with a Godiva chocolate drink for women, Chocolixir. And with a study showing women’s testosterone levels rising when hearing an Italian sports car engine (really).
  • Mystique is the unanswered question that makes a person want to solve the puzzle. Think Coke’s secret formula.
  • Alarm is the threat of immediate consequence, and alarm demands a response now. Consider a campaign to prevent drunk driving among teens. It had more power when it showed a teenager being driven to the prom by his mom.
  • Prestige is symbols of rank and respect, and prestige earns status, respect, and admiration. Grey Goose vodka introduced the ultra-premium category, forcing an entire category to realign.
  • Power is command over others, and power controls. Pfizer renamed impotence as “erectile dysfunction,” and Viagra became a billion dollar brand based on fascination-enhanced sales.
  • Vice is rebellion against the rules and vice tempts us with “forbidden fruit.” Best example is “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”
  • Trust is certainty and reliability, and trust comforts us because we can rely on it. This is what Volvo and safety are all about.

How do you fascinate your customers and energize your public relations and content marketing?

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