FRESH IDEAS, HAND-CRAFTED WEEKLY

Inspiring thoughts on innovation, growth, leadership, creativity, transformation, and disruption. Quick reads, powerful results.

The More You Do It, The Easier It Becomes

For most of us, we know what needs to be done to reach the next level. If you want to improve health and fitness, we don’t need another fad diet… we need to exercise more and eat healthier food. If you want to close more deals, you probably need to make more cold calls. If […]

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The New 70/30 Rule of Inventive Thinking

The infamous 80/20 rule seems to permeate business literature. 80% of your profits come from the best 20% of your customers; 20% of your top people drive 80% of your revenue; 20% of your most productive time drives 80% of your productivity. While this magic ratio applies in many cases, there’s an important new kid […]

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Your Future You

As we us embark on the new decade, most of us have undoubtedly set some resolutions. Lose weight. Read more. Save for retirement. Quit smoking. Volunteer in the community. Yet the vast majority of resolutions are anything but resolute. According to U.S. News & World Report, over 80% of resolutions fail (most of which within […]

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IdeaSpewing – A Simple Technique to Unlock Creativity

Staring at the blank page can be intimidating. This could be the start of any creative project – from writing the next great American novel to crafting a new investment deck for your startup. Maybe your blank page is less grandiose, but still daunting such as organizing your thoughts for a sales pitch or drafting […]

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Mental Kale

We’ve all heard the truism, “you are what you eat.” Clearly this applies to food intake and how our body composition is directly correlated. Eat fruit and veggies, have a healthy physique. Eat fried, processed foods, have a sick body. But what if we extended this common sense phrase to our mindset and performance? If […]

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The Dude-Bro Conundrum

I have the good fortune of delivering keynote speeches at over 100 corporate events per year. They range from a few hundred to many thousands of people in attendance, often with elaborate staging, lights, and production value. Hours before taking the stage, an AV tech check occurs where all audio and visual elements are plugged […]

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10 Customer-Centric Questions to Create Irresistible Value

With our Thanksgiving feasts behind us, ’tis the season of 2020 business planning. Ironically, the theme of gratitude may actually be our best strategy in the new year. In working with many businesses in different industries, I often hear the same refrains: “we need to sell more;” “we need better marketing;” “we need to cut […]

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Creative Confidence is Not What You Think

We imagine a brilliant artist approaching their work with the masterpiece perfectly etched in their mind before a single brush stroke graces the canvas. Or a prolific musician with an idyllic melody already seared into their mind before playing a single note. Then, when we approach our own creative efforts, we often freeze up before […]

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The Best Business Books I’ve Read in 2019

To win in business – and life – we all know that being a lifelong learner is mission critical.  As the cheesy saying goes, “learners are earners.” Clichés aside, I have a deep love for learning and the written word. Great books inspire, inform, and give us the tools we need to win in these increasingly challenging […]

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How to Avoid Extinction

According to a report from Yale University Press, 99.9% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct. That’s over five billion species completely wiped out. Why such a gigantic failure rate? The species that die off are “those that are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior […]

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How To Inject Artistry Into Your Work

When we think of an artist, we envision a tormented soul wearing a beret and a turtleneck, painting with oil on a canvas. Yet despite this stereotype, there are many other types of artists. In fact, you have the opportunity to be one yourself, regardless of your field or job title. Beyoncé is an incredible […]

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The 12 Secret Brainstorming Techniques of Billionaires

We’ve all struggled to generate good ideas. From trying to invent the next industry transformation to imagining a better way to run your team meeting, the creative act is critically important, yet often frustrating. Have you ever wondered how the most successful people on the planet discover their breakthroughs? Having interviewed and studied the world’s […]

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How to Blast Off

When the space shuttle blasts off, two-thirds of its fuel is consumed in the first 20 minutes of flight. The remaining amount powers the shuttle for up to two weeks, including re-entry and landing. The phenomenon at play: escape velocity. Scientists describe the concept as the amount of force required to break free from the gravitational […]

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Does Your Business Have a ‘Test Kitchen’?

Underneath one of the many Shake Shack restaurants in New York City lives the breakaway restaurant chain’s Innovation Kitchen. The full-time team isn’t filling the orders of hungry guests; rather they’re inventing what diners may enjoy for years into the future. The underground lab focuses all its resources on inventing what’s next rather than delivering on today’s […]

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The Beauty of Uneaten Cantaloupe

On a recent business trip to Denver, I was able to grab breakfast at one of my favorite morning spots. Snooze Eatery is a funky, retro-themed breakfast joint with incredible food and service. They have an inventive menu and cool vibe, but so do many other AM cafes. As I sat down, I wondered what […]

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The 5×5 Decision Model

You’ve got a tough decision to make, yet conflicting interests and perspectives can render you frozen from taking decisive action. We’ve all been there. Having observed how the most successful people evaluate their options and then make a thoughtful decision, here’s a framework that may be helpful when you’re trying to make a choice in […]

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Five Big Questions to Gain Clarity, Sharpen Focus, and Drive Results

In our increasingly busy and scattered lives, getting clear and focused can feel like an insurmountable task. We live in an era of distractions vying for our attention the way high-strung paparazzi try to capture that perfect celebrity photo. Knowing that most of us can’t take a three-month sabbatical to hang with monks in mountainous […]

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The Unique Problem-Solving Approach of History Makers

For decades, transportation experts and city planners who studied traffic congestion in major cities came to the conclusion that not much could be done to improve gridlock. Based on available street widths, speed limits, and other constraints, they were correct. But Elon Musk approached the problem in a completely different manner. Instead of reaching a […]

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The Can’t-Not

The promo for tonight’s local news runs across your screen: “Two of the items in your pantry right now could kill you. Tune in at 11:00 to find out which ones.” After hearing this announcement, you can’t not tune in. When you learn about a hot tech company that offers unlimited days off, tuition reimbursement, […]

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How Tiny Innovations Can Yield Gigantic Results

Gaining competitive advantage, better serving customers, and standing out from the pack can feel just about as challenging as running a double marathon…barefoot. The difficulties are exacerbated if we find ourselves in mature industries with deeply entrenched market leaders possessing the resources of a small country. How can we compete and win when facing such […]

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How Swapping Two Words Can Transform Your Success and Happiness

As the competitive nature of our world continues to increase, success can feel elusive. Whether your sights are set on landing a promotion, raising capital, wining that new account, or inventing a game-changing product, you’ll need to break free from traditional thinking in order to seize success. The ones who score the brass ring are […]

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Playing Guitar With Three Missing Strings

Studying jazz guitar in college, I had a professor that would force me to remove strings from the instrument. One, two, sometimes three strings had to be removed before I attempted a performance. You might guess that gutting half of my available resources would crush my ability to play, let alone be creative. Yet a […]

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How The Most Successful Leaders Respond

We all get provoked. An angry associate; a cranky customer; a snarling spouse. In these cases, the primitive part of our brain designed to protect us in the wild kicks in and our autonomic response is to recklessly fire back. We lash out, hit below the belt, and respond with uncontrollable emotion. That’s where the […]

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A Powerful Two-Step Approach to Drive Results

When we look to initiate change or growth, some sort of behavior shift is generally required. Want to sell more products? Probably involves making more cold calls, training more sales people, or improving marketing efforts. Looking to remain relevant in the workforce? This objective will likely require more learning, reading, or skill development. Whether our […]

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What a French Creole Cooking Term Can Teach Us About Customer Loyalty

After finishing an incredible meal in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the best part of the experience may very well be the lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap). While it sounds like a fancy seafood dish, a lagniappe is actually an unexpected gift. That special dessert, complements of the chef. The small box of chocolates for you […]

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An Innovative Way to Improve Behavior

Early education in high-risk urban areas is a complex and seemingly overwhelming challenge. Often dubbed the “school to prison pipeline,” kids in troubled classrooms with negative peer influences and little family support too often end up incarcerated or repeating the cycle of poverty. Despite committed teachers and administrators, these problems are expansive with far too […]

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What Business Leaders Can Learn from 100-Year-Olds in Okinawa

The Japanese island of Okinawa boasts the highest life expectancy, and the greatest concentration of centenarians (people who live to 100), in the world. Their culture, rituals, diet, and environment have been the subject of extensive study as researchers try to crack the code of longer, healthier life. When questioned why their people are vastly […]

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When We Stop Doing The Things That Made Us Great

Last weekend, I went to one of Detroit’s most celebrated Italian restaurants. I’d been years ago and anticipated the same exquisite experience. Known for their impeccable service and inspired dishes, I was expecting them to nail every detail like they had in the past. Yet the very things that made them successful had obviously been […]

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The Hard Part

Whether you are running a startup, building a relationship, or rebuilding a community, there’s an easy part and a hard part. One requires less work in the moment while the other unlocks the potential of your efforts and concurrently is your playground for personal growth. Those comfortable things that require little thinking, risk, or effort […]

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You’re Always Auditioning

Think how you shined during the interview where landed you your job. You were prepared to impress, fully engaged, and leaning forward with enthusiasm. Acutely aware that you were being evaluated, you made sure your answers were crisp and your questions were thoughtful. Simply put, you were ON. Unfortunately, that moment is the brightest some […]

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