Turbo Leadership Systems

Phone: (503) 625-1867 • Fax: (503) 625-2699 • email: admin@turbols.com
February 28, 2012 Issue 369 To our clients and friends

For A Better Way, Brainstorm

Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Two heads are better than one!

Our favorite easel is the Da-Lite easel #43145 and can be purchased locally from Slide & Sound Corp

Brad, a branch manager for a high lift rental company, told our Leadership Development Lab (LDL):

“The day after attending Session 6 of the Leadership Development Lab, I bought a sturdy metal standalone easel that is designed to hold a flip chart pad.” Turbo has been urging managers to buy easels for two decades, the kind with a clamp that holds a pad of paper. Why did Brad buy the easel? Because he was determined to have a brainstorming session with his team around the question, “How can we improve the speed of our responses to customer requests?” What were the results? I asked Brad if it was worth the $190 he paid for the easel. (I’ve said for years that I believe companies should not be issued a business license unless they can show proof that they own an easel with a pad of paper.) He told me the number of ideas they generated in 20 minutes during one brainstorming session and the esprit de corps could be worth more than a hundred times that $190.

Two heads are better than one! When you have a complex problem to solve or a new campaign to design, gather several minds and brainstorm your way to innovative, creative success.

Getting a group of people with diverse ideas and perceptions to brainstorm effectively takes more than simply plopping them down into chairs in the same room and expecting a miracle. Productive brainstorming takes organization. Because the creativity inside each person is best unleashed in a relaxed atmosphere, you might want to throw a brainstorming “party” to put people in a positive frame of mind right from the start.

Brainstorming is a process by which people generate as many ideas as possible without evaluation. The key to successful brainstorming is the separation of idea generation and evaluation or judging of the ideas as they are generated.

There has been a great deal of research into creativity and problem solving. All of this research supports the idea that the process of brainstorming leads to greater creativity, better solutions to problems, and engaged commitment to solutions on the part of the group.

Brainstorming can be done in several ways:

Freewheeling: In the “freewheeling” or letting ideas flow method, everyone contributes ideas spontaneously. This method encourages creativity as people build on each other’s ideas. The disadvantages is that quieter members of the group may not speak up. You may miss some of your introvert’s insightful ideas.

Taking Turns: In a taking turns process, people present their ideas one at a time in sequence. The advantage of this method is that everybody gets equal time to speak up and quieter people are more likely to contribute. The disadvantage is that it stifles spontaneity and sometimes members forget their idea by the time their turn arrives. In this process, members should be allowed to “pass” if they have no suggestions.

Paper Pass: In this method everyone puts ideas on a slip of paper and passes them in to the leader or facilitator. The advantage of this method is that some people may be more candid and creative with their anonymity preserved.

It is best to choose the style most comfortable for your team or do some combination of the three methods. Whatever method you choose, get your team together with your sturdy easel pad. No white boards, please. Brainstorm one of your problem areas. Listen to all ideas. Write them down and then act. You may be amazed at the resources you have at your fingertips if you just ask for your team’s input.

Brand New Workshop

“What Would Steve Jobs Do? ~ Creative Innovation Gives You Sustainable Competitive Advantage”

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