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Free 2014 Q2 Calendar Tool to Make Daily Living a Little Less Argh

Delight Flight Plan Q2 2014 screen shot - Delightability - The Big Idea ToolkitCourse Correcting 2014

Is your 2014 living up to your expectations? To the extent it’s not, is the universe solely to blame? Or, are you complicit in drifting off your own plan, not being clear on your own path forward, or not paying attention to the details that matter?

If you are like most people, you vacillate between a paper reality and the killer application or device that is finally going to get you organized. Maybe you hear yourself saying, “This one will be unlike all of the others!”

Cooked Carrots - The Big Idea ToolkitI don’t mean to take the wind our of your sails, but there are some pretty basic shortcomings to a one size fits all approach to most anything. If you don’t believe me, try eating only one food for a week and see how interesting your outlook and mood become. Maybe you can start with carrots. Carrots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Maybe you are living the paperless office dream that no human being I know of actually is. Maybe you have it all figured out, your process and technology working seemingly together in your smoothly sailing life. Maybe that is the story you are telling yourself and perhaps it’s true. But, if you are reading this far, then maybe you’ve come up short and are looking for solutions.

Make Top Priority Actions Visible

I use the daily flight plan to keep my top dozen or so actions visible. Sure, I use other tools, both electronic and paper, but this is one I rely on. After sketching Big Pictures on these daily flight plans numerous times, I simply added a Big Picture in miniature form to the latest version. Learn more about the Big Picture in Chapter 12: The Three Psychological Zones in my book, The Experience Design BLUEPRINT.  Learn more about the icons at the top of the daily flight plan by reading the original flight plan blog post at the Delightability blog.

You’ve heard it before that it take 21 days to form a habit. No matter the time, if you don’t have a visible tool or reminder, it will be harder to stay the course. Try the Free Daily Flight Plan for the next 20 days or so. I think you and the universe will be pleasantly surprised. Good luck in your productive and insightful ventures. Please let me know how it goes.

Greg-Olson-author-image - The Experience Design BLUEPRINT - Delightability - The Big Idea ToolkitGreg Olson is the author of The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations. See the Book and Author Summary PDF or find the book on Amazon.

 

Category : Blog

Establish Bookends to Convince Yourself and Others Your Idea is Worth Pursuing

monkey bookendHighways, buildings, parks, and people work best when there are boundaries involved. After all, you really don’t want somebody driving in your lane, right? When it comes to ideas it isn’t any different; boundaries are useful. Creativity loves constraint.  With a boundary, a challenge becomes more clear. Without it, you will wander around the fuzzy idea for as much time as you allow. The only progress you’ll make is to ideate and fritter away the time, but you won’t actually accomplish anything.

When you are ready to advance an idea for yourself or your team, using the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit can help. The simple visual communication tool forces you to get clear on your idea – both to yourself but, also to others. Simply stating your idea, clearly and concisely creates a solid boundary, a container for your idea. My idea is “this thing here” as opposed to all of these other things. This boundary for your idea establishes the first bookend. Then, be honest with yourself and others and state why the idea matters. Why should it be pursued? Why should any of us care? On the Big Picture visual tool, that’s represented as the payoff. Together the bound idea and the payoff form the bookends. Make the bookends interesting, otherwise you’ll get no support and everything will fall down.

In a group, its important to get clarity and buy-in on the bookends, so your idea can take flight. If you don’t get agreement early on, you certainly won’t get it later when you’re busy executing on all of the details.  Learn more about the Big Picture – see the video on YouTube.

Category : Blog

Daily Flight Plan to Boost Personal Productivity

image of daily flight plan for delighting customersDo you wake up in the morning knowing exactly what you will do for the rest of the day?  Are you insulated from interruptions that will thwart your plans today?  Do you go for days on end and then realize there was something you’ve neglected, perhaps you’re forgetting about a customer or conversation, or some operational aspect of your business, or maybe just some “me” time, paying a bill, or phoning a friend.  These are exactly the reasons you need to have a daily flight plan.  Use it to improve your personal velocity and maximize your impact while getting iconic cues and reminders to not forget your customers – the reason you have a business in the first place.  If you are an entrepreneur and don’t yet have customers for your new venture – then this has even more importance.  Place the flight plan over your mouse pad, in your notebook, or somewhere on your desk to record your top actions, capture ideas and sketch as needed.  The flight plan includes a few guiding principles, a 3 month weekly calendar and icons to remind you of the 3 legged stool, 3 funnels, and touch points.  To learn more about those items read the original article.

Visit the Feedback and Learning page to download the full size PDFs for free.

Price = FREE with registration.  Have fun and get more important stuff done.

Category : Blog

When your ‘What if…’ is worth pursuing

Wouldn’t it be cool if …

 

cars with false securityI ask that “What if…” question often. Most people have and do ask that question or some variation of it. Most don’t do anything about it, but those we label entrepreneurs are the doers with courage enough to set themselves apart from the herd of dreamers.

I’m an entrepreneur. In my last software business, I was the first investor. I spent $25,000 of my hard earned after tax dollars. I did this so that an adviser and another strategic investor would feel comfortable investing too. They didn’t ask to see the roadmap or seek to see the Big Picture. They simply sought comfort much like a tailgater in a long line of cars in stormy weather. It wasn’t any safer but the co-investment had the illusion of security.

Prior to that I was an intrapreneur. I worked for a company that spent in excess of $1,000,000 developing a product that we later found out was promised to the customer at a price below the company’s cost. Once that little fact was revealed the project was shut down and the executive responsible, ushered to the door. But, before our project was permanently put on hold, many of us had been feverishly working on the hardware, software, and industrial design, crafting what we thought was going to be a new reality for our customer and for our company.

In both of these scenarios the conversation should have been very different, but it wasn’t. It turns out the tools to have a better conversation weren’t that great at the time.

More PowerPoints and more spreadsheets and drinking from the same Kool-Aid didn’t produce a better truth or a better outcome.

I fear that the more hyperconnected we become, with faster, better, now, it seems that we get further from the underlying need to have a great conversation. Perhaps, we don’t want to know the truth; we rather like illusion.

One great use of the Big Idea Toolkit is to fully explore and communicate the Big Idea. Remember, if your big idea can’t be proved out using the Big Idea Toolkit and sticky notes, then it won’t prove out with real customers either. It might be that you spend $249.95 on visual communications tools like the Big Idea Toolkit but, ultimately you save much more than that and much heartache and time along the way.

I’ve advised many executives and entrepreneurs and the ones that make a bigger impact are the ones that slow down, in order to speed up.

If after purchasing the Big idea Toolkit, you need some facilitation or coaching, please let me know. If I don’t have time available, I’ll at least recommend another coach.  Good luck entrepreneurs and doers!

Category : Blog

Try to Unthink that Thought – Just Try

debbie faas golden nugget paintingA friend of mine, Chuck Frey wrote an article about the Painter’s Technique a while ago. It really resonated with me so I commented on it.  It has doubly resonated with me over the last week since my artist friend Debbie Faas validated the painter’s technique is in fact a real phenomena that she experiences.  She knows firsthand since she just lived a 5 and 1/2 week painting journey commissioned  by a Seattle technology company.   I also had the opportunity to share the Big Idea Toolkit in a Tools roundtable with the local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants.  In that discussion, every person in the room realized that ideas come at times sometimes inconvenient, even the day after your big strategic plan is completed.

What do you do with a good idea that comes at the wrong time?

Simply put – you cannot unthink a thought.  Your brain will continue to wrestle with it, good or bad even without your trying.  Mike Dooley notes this in his email signature of his daily Notes from the Universe where  he says, Thoughts become things…choose the good ones.

In the Big Idea Toolkit, this is precisely why we have a PlayGround.  When you get an idea, put in in the PlayGround.  Whether it advances immediately or ever, the brain will continue to build on it and create new possibilities.  If your PlayGround is shared with others, ideas pay dividends. Chuck’s original article appears here.

the PlayGround from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.Here is my comment on his article restated.   I hope this inspires you to create and share your PlayGround.

Chuck, this article really resonates with me. I am a big believer in the power of visual thinking. Like John Medina says in Brain Rules with Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.  I use mind mapping software to organize and see connections when I’m working alone. But when I’m collaborating with others, need to work quickly and communicate or see the Big Picture, then I use tools from the Big Idea Toolkit. http://www.thebigideatoolkit.com This has the added advantaged of the large format (20 x 30 inch visuals), multiple real time input (everybody on the team can write on a sticky note), and spatial adjacency (I can see each poster/board at the same time) . I like computers and all things digital but there is a time to be digital and a time to be in the real world – which is and always has been analog. @markjl – yes big hand drawn = better.

The painters technique really makes sense to me. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison solved problems by cat napping similarly. It allows your brain to continue to work on things while you’re away. There is a related powerful phenomena – spatial adjacency. Think of an art gallery experience that unfolds as you enter each room. Each passage you enter reveals a new splash of style and color. You naturally do a quick scan before your eye settles in on something of interest. Compare this experience to the same art being presented slide by slide in a PowerPoint presentation. In the former the brain benefits from spatial adjacency and in the latter suffers from the lack thereof. If you want to imagine yourself to better possibilities you need to get bigger, and get adjacent. Then, let the painter technique unfold as you seemingly “check out” for a while from one piece and then “check back in” to the canvas of your choosing.

Category : Blog

So… what did you learn?

Start Stop Continue Review - Delightability LLC

Here is the situation.  You’ve just completed that latest software build or that big fundraising event.  You’re going full steam ahead to the next opportunity.  You’re at capacity so you don’t really want to spend time talking about the past, especially those things that didn’t go well.  And you certainly wouldn’t want to have difficult conversations with colleagues. We’ve heard the cautionary tales about Look Back – Fall Back, Negative Target Fixation, or Don’t Trample my Elephant.

Sometimes you have to slow down, in order to speed up.

 

Project Meeting Event Debrief from Delightability LLC

But, the other side of this is your next project will only be as good as your last project, plus “what you do different.”  If you don’t learn anything  then you’re not likely to do anything different. You wouldn’t intentionally enter your next assignment with your biases, blind-spots, and developmental needs all exactly where you left them at your last project, would you?

There are 3 tools that are easy to use that can speed your individual and group learning so that you can be a higher performing team even if that team is only “me, myself, and I.”

Visit the Feedback and Learning page to see how to use these tools and download the full size PDFs for free.

 

 

 

 

Category : Blog

Keys? Got it. Phone? Got it. 4-Square Personal Action Plan? Yes, Got that too!

clear path forward with the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.
No doubt you’ve experienced that naked just left the house without your pants feeling. “Wait, no I have my pants on. Oh yeah – I forgot my keys and where did I put my phone?”

When you don’t get important stuff done in your life and time passes you by, you similarly suffer. Even worse, you effect others around you. When you are a slouch, important things remain undone. You feel unproductive and fill your time with whatever, no matter its impact or quality. Stop that!

If you want to lead a more productive life and reduce the stress and expense of living randomly then use the 4-Square Personal Action plan.

Once you begin using the 4-Square Personal Action plan you’ll breathe a little easier, reduce stress, and positively contribute to those important things in your life, whatever they may be. You will find that you’ll have even more time to pick up the new sport, volunteer at that nonprofit, play music, visit friends, or write that book that’s been brewing in your mind.

Example 4-Square Personal Action plan from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.The 4-Square Personal Action plan is a free download. It is part of the Big Idea Toolkit but we’ve made it available to you whether or not you use the entire toolkit.
Using it can save you time, money, gas, relationships, and get you closer to where you want to go, no matter where that is.

Having your weekly todos (deliverables) visible will help to ensure they are top of mind and actually get accomplished. Your brain wants to see things and your inner emotional elephant is motivated when you make visible progress. That is why we feel good when we check things off the todo list.

When we see our “to do” list transform into a “to done” list is motivating and serves as fuel to get even more done. So print out your 4-Square, whether or not you’re using the entire toolkit and begin the highly productive habit of creating the weekly 4-Square Personal Action plan and reviewing it daily. Take it with you, review it often, and get more important stuff done. Oh yeah, one more thing… please remember your keys.

Category : Blog

4 Reasons You Don’t Move Forward – and How to Overcome

In spite of inspirational songs like “Live Like Your Were Dying” and movies like “The Bucket List”, most people won’t act until its too late.  They’ll continue to let opportunities pass them by, only to be realized by others.  Truth is, those “others” aren’t any smarter, but they do have better habits.  Here is how to level the playing field and get your fare share of opportunities. Know thyself.  Understand the reason you don’t move forward and then make a choice to either overcome it or accept it.

If you’re going to be a slouch you should at least be an informed intentional slouch.

And if you are a “doer” then perhaps it’s your duty to help somebody else get out of their own way.

As part of my book research, I’ve been asking people from all walks of life now for some time what holds them back from whatever it is their wanting to do.  I’ve heard several different flavors of answers, but they can be summarized by the list of 4 below.  If you really have a reason you believe doesn’t fit to these 4 please chime in.  I’d love to know.

#4 – values or beliefs are not in alignment

You might recognize this as  “I’ve reluctantly signed up to do something” or “You were really good at coercing me but I never really was committed.”  This reason is usually cited when we don’t move forward on somebody else’s idea or initiative.  You simply don’t believe in “the cause” or the value of getting it done.  Reaching the final destination doesn’t resonate with you so much.   Sometimes people want to fantasize about reaching the Utopian end state but they don’t really have any intention of doing any real work or making a contribution.  If you find yourself in this camp saying “work – that is for the others,” or “a person should… “, then some intellectual honesty is in order.  Simply come to grips that you are a fantasy doer or know what you value and stop committing without follow through.

#3 – lack of resources

This oft cited paralyzer is a Red Herring easily spotted by asking yourself or others what resources are needed.  Then systematically break down and eliminate each resource needed – this is an obstacle removal technique.  Many problems can be reframed to requires a different set of resources, those within reach.  Also, there are those resources that you don’t have now and those that you don’t have in the future. Solve today’s problem today and tomorrows problems tomorrow.

#2 – fear or lack of courage

This reason for inaction is more easily understood when the person not moving forward is part of a larger social context.  When you have to rally the herd and get others moving there is a certain risk that goes along with that.  It is much easier to not lead the way, blend into the crowd, and wait for somebody else to take a risk and be responsible.  This is a well researched and documented area of social psychology called the bystander effect. But when others are not involved,  it become squarely about you.  You may have been conditioned to fear failure or you’re in an environment where failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

Failure can actually be a good thing, especially in small doses.  That’s what experiments and prototypes are for!  I worked in the Boeing Wind Tunnel for 5 years. We ran many experiments to detect failure and make improvements at a small scale because the human and financial costs of mistakes at scale are so enormous.

Besides failure, some people also fear the destination of success and all its accoutrements.  To overcome inaction and to combat many of the subconscious and conditioned avoidance behaviors it is good to create new habits.  You can easily do this by adopting a habit practice sheet (free download) and by creating conscious action triggers.   Action triggers can have a profound power to motivate people to do the things they need to do.   The reason, according to Peter Gollwitzer, a New York University psychologist, is that action triggers eliminate the need for conscious deliberation by making people “pre-decide” what they are going to do.  In this they program themselves to protect goals from tempting distractions, bad habits, or competing goals.

an example of the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.#1 – lack of clarity

By far this is the most popular reason people don’t move forward that I’ve encountered. They simply don’t know how to get started or what the next step is.  They are overwhelmed by the myriad of choices and possibilities.  You can hear them saying to themself, “Where to start, where to start.”  They may be so overwhelmed they are unable to articulate what they want or think they need.  Often, others have trouble helping people in this state – instead they usually prefer to give them time and space to “get it together.”  Creating the Big Picture can go a long way toward unlocking what the brain already knows but is unable to express.  Sequencing your Big Idea into Chunky Steps along a path with a clear vision of the payoff seems so simple… and it is. But have you actually done it? You want to create your next “Aha” moment, give it a whirl.  Better yet, help somebody else do the same.

Category : Blog

Dogs, Gators, and Humans – 2 out of 3 are Wired to Care?

Pet AlligatorIt’s true and there is a good book by the same name, “Wired to Care.” In it, the author explains that our limbic system is that part of our brain that makes us feel. Dogs have a limbic system almost as developed as our own. That’s why when you come home after having a bad day at work your dog is “there for you.” It doesn’t understand what you did at work or why they pay you, but it feels that you are down and approaches you with tail a’ wagging and tongue o’ drooling.

A pet anaconda or alligator on the other hand, has no such limbic system so it will bite you in half or eat you whole, feet first without remorse.

That’s why anacondas and alligators are not Man’s Best Friend.Cookie the Corky

Including pictures of your intended audience and a few details about them can turn on your limbic system and make you care more.

If you want to do good things for your Audience you’ll need to be a little more dog and a little less alligator.

Category : Blog

Need a Big Picture Starter, try Affinity Mapping

affinity mapping as a start for the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.There is a ton of material on YouTube and other places about affinity mapping so I won’t repeat it all here.  But, it is often a good method to generate ideas as a starting point.  You frame the problem or opportunity in the form of a question.  It is important to stay focused on the question.  Often times if you run out of steam I encourage people to think in multiple dimensions, like people, process, technology.

working through the Big Picture chunky steps from affinity mapping exercise - the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.As an example, I was in a small workshop with a non-profit that was putting together a sponsorship program, something new to the group.  Our “question” that framed the exercise was “What would be involved in having a successful sponsor program.”   Individually, we listed items we could think of, in no particular order.  When we ran out of steam after about 20 minutes we placed them on the wall.  Then we arranged them into groups of similar items.  We then labeled each group.  We then processed the pieces using the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit.

Category : Blog

About Us

Like you we get ideas. We are all idea people. The Big Idea Toolkit was born out of our recognition that people have ideas but get stuck at all stages of bringing those ideas to life. We hope you find this toolkit and site gives you a nudge, a process to follow, and inspiration to make your ideas a reality. Thank you to our clients who told us - "You guys should make this a product available to others." We are Delightability, LLC and we believe if you Delight Customers - Success will Follow. more..

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If you have questions or need some help please email us or call us at (206) 356-8811