Monthly Archives: January 2013

Themes emerge

We’ve all been to a meeting or an event where a bit of corporate culture was born.  Meeting catch-phrases and events take on a humorous life of their own and become a relationship link among the participants, becoming the stuff of legends. Konica Minolta’s commercials and The Office series are chock full of examples of this.

Though we try to boil down our messaging into catchy themes and analogies, there’s no guarantee they’ll resonate.  So work with the audience to find what does stick.  Corporate-culture themes can emerge in the midst of a presentation if you’re listening for them.

If an audience member volunteers it, maybe as a wisecrack, a comment on bullet point, or a strong opinion, positive or negative, of what you’re saying or showing, all the better.  You’ve got something you can work with.  Hold on to it.  Play it up.  Repeat it in a different context and in a humorous, self-deprecating way.  If another audience member joins in the fun, you’re set, you’re immortal, you have been crowned a legend.

Two years down the road, when you bump into someone who was there, they won’t remember your name, they won’t even remember what you were showing, but when they say the secret catch-phrase, you’ll have a good laugh and an even better bond.

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What is Creativity?

Early in my career, I read George Will’s excellent “Men at Work,” which not only made a baseball fan out of me, but helped me understand professionalism.  Hard work, practice, and development of skills apply to talent-related activities, not just white collar careers.

Is a creative person talented or professional?  Neither.  Both.  The creative person has a different end in mind.  For example:

If they give you a box of Legos and you build the little space-ship or car pictured on the cover, you’re solving problems; if you take that same box of Legos and make a trebuchet out of it, you’re being creative.

You have the same ingredients, the same effort, but completely different goals.

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