Friday, February 15, 2013

How to make a Perfect Plan using successfully your Left Brain and Right Brain


By Javier Ramon Brito

"A perfectly fulfilled man is the one who explores both the outer and the inner" -Osho
The left brain activity is driven and fed by results in the outer world. In this quest, your rational mind has been trained to make plans, organize things and design roadmaps towards a goal. You want to make sure things go the way you want. Ideally, you want to be 100% sure that there will be no mistakes at all along the way and that everything will run smoothly. Failure is out of the question. You want to achieve your results in the outer world. Period.


In order to guarantee your success, you analyze every single angle of the matter, in an effort to make your roadmap perfect. The more trained your rational mind is, the more details you want to incorporate in your roadmap and the more structure is added to it, especially if you are dealing with a complex matter. You want to banish all doubts that your plan will succeed and come up with an answer or a course of action for every outcome or possible scenario that you foresee in your mind.

This is normal. This exercise gives you the confidence that you are “doing your homework”. This pacifies your rational mind. You are not going to be running like a headless chicken; you have a roadmap towards your goal. All is well, as long as you have not...
• Over-analyzed the matter, loosing perspective of reality;
• Been dogmatic about the steps of your plan;
• Based your plan heavily on statistics;
• Based your plan on opinions of people who are not experts or are biased about the matter;
• Left no room for experimentation;
• Excluded your feelings about the matter and the procedure.

If you over-analyze the matter, you may end up with a very rigid, inflexible plan that somehow looses perspective of reality and leaves almost no room for necessary adjustments along the way. A very rigid plan may lead to disappointments easily, every time things go a little different than you originally planned them. And disappointments may lessen your motivation to keep taking action in the desired direction.


Something similar may happen if you reach the point where you become dogmatic about your plan or roadmap. You are discarding before hand any possible variation to the procedure. You are predisposing yourself to being intolerant about any possible change, and this will influence your general attitude about the whole execution of your plan, since you are building up an inflexible attachment to the steps of your plan. This may kill your enjoyment of the whole thing, as it happens when you are driving your car on the interstate road and refuse to stop for lunch because you do not want to arrive to your destination any minute later than you originally planned.

If you based part of your analysis on statistics, you better exercise caution. Remember Benjamin Disraeli saying that “there are lies, damned lies and statistics”. Statistics are generalizations of a specific trend in a specific area at a certain time and in a certain place. Statistics are not rules. So do not base your good judgment and projections heavily on them or, even worse, use them as if they were a solid ground that allows you to take for granted certain responses from society to your plan of action. Keep in mind that statistics are relative.

Also, when building up a plan of action, people usually cannot escape the temptation of asking other people what they think about the whole thing. Naturally, responses may vary depending on the kind of people you ask about your plan. If you do ask other people about your plan, make sure that you are asking people who are experts on the matter. And make sure also that they areunbiased experts.


Every successful plan leaves always some room for experimentation and adjustment along the way. Things in society do not necessarily work mathematically, because emotions, different individualities, perceptions and circumstances are involved. If you want success, be ready for healthy adjustments.

Ultimately, never neglect your feelings about the whole matter, about your plan, and about every single step of your plan. You have to engage your right brain in the process. Remember that if you want to achieve some results, it is primarily because you believe you will feel much better and happier with those results than without them. So there is no point in achieving those results at the cost of unnecessary daily stress or through living negative emotions daily for a long time just to stick to your roadmap to success and make it work at all costs.

It is nonsense working on a plan angrily or in a constant altered mood, believing that the result will make it worth it. You have to be reasonably happy about the process, not only about the expected result. An unhappy process rarely leads to a truly happy result, because you are building resistance along the way. A perfect plan always takes into account your honest feelings. So when workings on your plan and its progressive steps, always ask yourself:

• "How does this feel to me?";
• "Am I enthusiastic about this?";
• "Do I feel light or heavy about this?"
• "Is this the course of action that feels best to me?"
• "Do I feel energized and motivated by this?"

When you have considered your feelings about each and every step of your plan and made the necessary adjustments to feel good about it, then you have a reasonably good roadmap. Once you have reached this point, do not be afraid of start taking action. Do not go back to re-analyzing the whole thing again over and over even if some doubts or second thoughts appear in your mind. Do not pretend to wait until you have sorted out the full puzzle in your mind before moving some of the pieces. Moving some of them helps the complete picture to start appearing and taking form before your eyes.

Think of it like playing chess. You may have some strategy, but you do not wait until you have the whole game sorted out in your mind before you move some pieces. When you interact with the world, you need to move some pieces before you can reevaluate, recalibrate or reassess the best course of action along the way to achieve your goals. That’s how it works.

Creating a Winning Concept


By Marcos Fava Neves (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-11-23 15:21
A more unstable global environment, lower margins, incredible access to new technologies, huge information coming from the digital world, higher risks, complexity and the emergence of new competitors and "copy-etitors" (companies that copy immediately the product) brings a dynamic world of opportunities, challenging our management.
If it is difficult to run a company nowadays, to have a strategic plan towards innovation and innovative concepts is even more difficult. Executives suffer of lack of time, pressure for short term results, a fast changing environment bringing "one surprise per day" demanding our attention, difficulties to forecast and internal cultural problems related to unsuccessful planning experiences from the past and avoidance of getting more activities. Sometimes to plan is difficult since we face the arrogance of the owners of the truth, commonly verbalized with the "this doesn´t work here…"
The search for success in the current competitive environment requires companies to innovate. A traditional challenge is how to develop an innovation culture supporting the development of new products, guaranteeing growth and profitability. Given this, I think we should move further than traditional new products… How?
Innovations can be even more creative and pursue an objective of creating "a concept". I like to analyze examples of companies that launched products or ideas that became concepts. First of all, let me define a concept. It is more than a product, involves a complete package of solutions, a new behavior, a culture and even a community. It is something new that makes a difference. Imagine as examples Starbucks, McDonalds, or the new digital world: Facebook, Twitter, Google and other innovations that when they came to market, a new idea and a concept came together. How to create concepts?
The new product development process has well known and traditional activities (as proposed by Philip Kotler and several other authors of marketing). What I am doing here is adapting towards a broader inspiration of a "concept behavior creation". We may think in 7 steps, and let’s move to them.
1 - Concept Ideas Proposal: ideas could be raised by consumers in chats, emails, formal letters, discussions, tests, surveys and communities. It involves description of their problems, suggestions and proposals of improvements. Ideas also could be given by suppliers, distributors and salespeople, by outside and inside research and development areas, employees, shareholders and others. We must be stimulated to give ideas of concepts, thinking about whom should use the concept; what are the main concept benefits; what will be the occasion; what needs will be met? Talk to consumers, have consumer’s labs and pay attention is a challenge.
2 - Concept Ideas Selection Process: has the objective of reducing the number of ideas of concepts to a few attractive and practical ones evaluated in accordance to the requirements of success (reputation, brand, R&D, HR, marketing, production, etc.) and the company’s competence with the issue.
3 - Concept Marketing Strategy: this steps plans about the size, structure and target market behavior; the planned concept positioning and details of prices, channels, communications, selling, profit goals in the long term; cost and profit estimates (Cash Flow Statements).
4 – Building the Integrated Concept Network: How to design this concept as an integrated network of contracts, participants, the financial design, partners and others. Who will participate in this innovation, what is the "architecture" of the concept, its participants and tasks.
5 - Concept Physical Development and Testing: physical development of the concept, involving all tests and approvals needed. At this moment we should see how consumers and other stakeholders will react and perform market tests.
6 – Make it Happen (the Launch of the Concept): This phase means go to market. We should think in when? (timing choice); where? (geographic strategy); to whom? (target markets); how? (market penetration strategy);
7 – Continuous Redesign - A concept, when created, is not forever, must be permanently renewed. A concept must bring value to the consumer’s time, ambience, building a "lock-in" strategy (try to create difficulties for the consumer to change our offer towards a competitor, have clubs and communities to support like miles club, cards, culture clubs, among others, a clear communication, a superior value in quality, design and problem solution driven. And always think about how to improve.
In this article I raised seven steps towards a concept creation. The most important behavior that we should pursue is to pay attention, to be curious and to navigate since nice concepts are being created all over the world, one per day.
The author is professor of strategic planning and food chains at the School of Economics and Business, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (www.favaneves.org) and international speaker.

How To Manage Diarrhea Of Brain


Idea dumping is a lot like brainstorming. (I happen to be an expert on idea dumping because I just made the term up 5 minutes ago.). Brainstorming to me is more of a process where you have a problem, and you try and find a solution to it, with the end goal in mind. It’s a great concept in theory–except it never happens that way for me. It seems like whenever I really need a great idea, they are nowhere to be found. Yet when I’m doing something completely unrelated and seemingly unimportant, I’ll be floating in ideas. And when the mind finally does agree to cooperate and turn on, I won’t usually get just one good idea but a bunch of ‘em at a time. When it rains it pours, but it’s a summer in Texas otherwise.
It’s more like my brain all of the sudden opens up and throws out a flurry of ideas, a proverbial diarrhea of the brain. Except with a good connotation, (unlike most comparisons to bowel movements). So I’ve decided to call this process Idea Dumping to kind of fuse Brainstorming and, well… the bowel thing. So if you haven’t already quit reading this post, here are my 7 tips for effective Idea Dumping.
1. ALWAYS carry paper
It almost always never fails. I’ll have a great idea, I’ll think about it for a while, and never remember it again. Why? I didn’t write it down. Half of having a good idea is actually writing it down. Writing it down gives you freedom to let your mind explore it even more, because it doesn’t have to work on actually remembering it. If paper isn’t your thing, use a voice recorder, your cell phone’s voicemail, a pda, a rock and chisel… anything so that you can file it somewhere other than your brain.
2. Be descriptive when writing it down
There have also been times where I’ve written an idea down quickly, and then looked at it later and had no idea I was talking about. The more descriptive you are, the better you can get back into your train of thinking when you wrote it down, like picking up where you left off. Also, being more descriptive frees up your brain’s resources to develop the idea even further.
3. Plan for not planning on it
One problem with the way we typically brainstorm is this: it’s unnatural. We bang our heads against the wall while chanting “think, think”. If you’re like me, your brain doesn’t like to be told what to do. The second I sit down and “make” myself be creative, my brain goes on lockdown. Nothing in, nothing out. There’s no such thing as forced creativity.
I’ve found that the best way to allow your mind to form ideas is when I’m doing something else. You have to be ready at anytime to jot something down. I know this point is a lot like #1, but I can’t stress it enough.

4. Good environments matter
Allow yourself time to let your mind breathe and relax. I’ve found that the best times to have idea dumps are when you’re in an aesthetically pleasing environment, or at least one where you’re enjoying yourself. A lot of times the ideas start coming when I’m running, or talking a walk in nice weather. You my find yourself partial to different situations. It really doesn’t matter, just so long as what you’re doing somewhat automated and your mind can freely wander wherever it wants. In short; you’re giving yourself time to daydream.
5. Think big picture down
Ok, so I realize that there will be times when you’ll actually have good ideas when you are forced into brainstorming on a certain problem. A good strategy for finding solutions to a specific problem is always thinking top down. In David Allen’s Getting Things Done, you should always start with asking yourself why you’re doing it. Why are you trying to find the solution? Why is it important? It sounds mind-numbingly simple, but it really helps you focus your thinking on the problem, rather then going off on tangents.
6. Organize your thoughts
Once your ideas have stopped coming, be sure to organize them more coherently once you’re done. This will help you get a better handle on what you’ve discovered, and you’ll remember it better in the long run. (If you were descriptive in writing down your ideas, you’ll find it speeds this process up. ) Once you’ve got them organized, break them into actionable steps ( another component to GTD). You’ll quickly realize what needs to be done next to implement your ideas, in what order, etc.
For me, notecards are my weapon of choice. I always keep a few handy, and I organize my ideas into ideas. If a project has more than one thought to it, I assign it it’s own card. If it’s something simple like a future post title, I put it on the “catch-all” notecard that holds just quick ideas. Later I’ll take the day’s cards and process them further.
7. Know when to stop
Don’t force the issue, man! You could hurt yourself if you’re not careful. If the well of ideas has run dry, pumping it more won’t help. Don’t worry, there will be other times of plenty in terms of ideas. Use what you you’ve been given and start to implement them. Sometimes you won’t get all you need in one dumping session, like this post. Ironically enough, this article was a product of 3 idea dumps, spread over a couple of weeks.

I Am Bored...? What Should I Do...?


Boredom and feeling too busy are the same problem. Some people might claim I’m being too ambitious trying to strike down chronic boredom and busyness at the same time. I’d argue that the only way to take them out is simultaneously.
The problem stems from how you manage your attention. Both boredom and busyness stem from feeling there is a lack of quality in what is covering your attention. Boredom is feeling that there are too few high quality ways to spend attention. Busyness is forced boredom. This means that you feel there are high quality ways to spend attention, but your attention is being stolen from you before you can use it.

Boredom (and Busyness) is in Your Mind

Feelings of boredom and busyness are entirely subjective. You can’t look out in the world and claim it is busy or boring. To say these feelings are subjective is obvious, but that misses a key point. The real problem is quality.
Being engaged, neither busy or bored, happens when your attention is filled with a high quality source.
You can probably remember times when you were completely engaged. This could have been working on a project you were passionate about. Spending time with your family, sky diving or vacationing under the sun. Why were you engaged in these moments and not in others?

I’d like to state that the reason was because those experiences had a higher quality. This sense of quality you might consider entirely mental, entirely based on your surroundings or some combination of the two. Or possibly your entire reality if you’ve read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (which, I must admit, inspired most of these ideas).

Conquering Boredom and Busyness is About Improving Quality
So how do you improve quality in your experiences? I believe there are two major ways you can do it, externally and internally. But if you chronically experience busyness (not just being busy, but actively disliking the busyness) or boredom then you would probably need to tackle to problem from both ends.
Here are some ways to consider improving quality in your experiences:

Externally:

  1. Plan Ahead – Schedule your life to ensure there aren’t huge gaps or compressions later. This can mean scheduling high quality experiences if you find yourself frequently bored. It can also mean dividing large projects if you find yourself chronically busy.
  2. Win-Win – If you must perform an activity you think has low quality, that’s suboptimal. Find ways to reorganize your life so that jobs, chores and duties can become interesting high-quality experiences.
  3. Prioritize – I know it’s been said before, but if you don’t manage time you will never have enough of it. There are always more things to do than you have time for. If that weren’t the case, time would be a meaningless concept. Get your values straight so that the highest priorities are handled first and your life doesn’t get overtaken by the unimportant.
  4. Put Quality of Experience First – It is easy to get caught up in external goals that don’t fulfill their promises. Focus on goals that will give you a greater quality, not just a bigger paycheck or more status to brag about.
  5. Escape the Motions – Habits are a part of your life, but don’t let them become the only thing. Break out of your patterns if they aren’t giving you what you need.
Internally:
Most of the ways to improve your quality of experience and conquer boredom are internal. Less what you’re doing, but how.
  1. Build an Inner World – I’m not suggesting you create a complete rift between yourself and reality. But also realize that if you can’t find quality in your immediate surroundings, you can find it within yourself. Traversing the environment inside your own head can be a means to compensate for any temporary lack. Solving internal problems, reviewing knowledge, coming up with new ideas, creating stories or even planning for the future are all areas you can explore in the mind without any external stimulus.
  2. Seek Quality in the Now – What are you doing right now? What can you find that has quality for you. Remember quality is what you like. It is whatever you find interesting, challenging, pleasing or otherwise mentally satisfying. If you ask yourself this question you can usually come up with an answer. Seeking quality right now allows you to find it even if your environment is bare or overloaded.
  3. Resistance is Futile – Busyness and boredom could also be described as symptoms of resisting what is. Fully accepting whatever situation you are in and making the most of it is one way to conquer the feelings. Resistance is something that can’t be done half-way. Either completely push away and seek quality elsewhere, or accept your surroundings and find it here.
  4. Unchain Yourself - A lot of mental unease is caused because you feel forced to do something. You have to go to work. You have to study for your test. You have to do this or that. Realize that you don’t have to do anything, just accept different results. Freedom is in your mind.
  5. Stop - Boredom and feeling overloaded are both patterns. They are mental spirals you run on yourself that loop back on each other. If you just interrupt yourself for a few minutes and think more deeply about the problem you can often come up with a good answer independent of these suggestions. Stop and conquer.

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