Episode 7: Mike Brown: Fun and Effective Strategic Planning (Part II)

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In this episode of the Manage Your Message podcast, host Jim Karrh sits down for a second time with Mike Brown. Mike founded The Brainzooming Group to lead organizations in creating strategic impact and outstanding results with innovative ideas. Mike is also the author of Idea Magnets – 7 Strategies for Cultivating & Attracting Creative Business Leaders. In this conversation Mike shows that strategic planning need not be an organizational chore to be endured—but instead a process to generate creativity, get greater buy-in to the strategic vision, and generate growth.

Brainzooming’s process for developing strategic plans is different than most. They generally start with existing surveys of employees, then incorporate onsite facilitation with online software tools—this accelerates the pace. Mike also mentions the importance of having fun throughout the process. He believes that having fun in the strategic process will help individual employees better connect to the big vision of the company over a longer period of time.

With an improved process in place, how does the organization best implement a strategy and persevere? Mike believes that the first element for success is to listen to your employees. The second key is to let your employees help write the strategy. By incorporating the language and fingerprints of your employees in the strategic plan you make a tangible connection between your big organizational goals and the individuals who will carry it out on a daily basis. Asking good questions and validating the answers from your employees by including their voice in the strategic plan are two ways to ensure that your organization’s strategy is bought by far more people.

Jim asked Mike about common gaps and blind spots that he sees in businesses and their strategic planning. Mike focused on one: the failure to ask questions. He shared a story of a company he recently worked with who thought they were excelling. However, a quick survey of their clients revealed that they were doing a terrible job. How could such a wide gap exist between the opinions and beliefs of the business and client? Because they failed to ask questions. Mike explains how crucial it is for organizations to stay on target and provide excellent work by being perpetually curious.



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