Teams

These Five Traits Will Make You A More Creative Thinker

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Quickly now—what do these things all have in common:

  • The iPhone
  • The Taj Mahal
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • The Golden Retriever

Give up?

They are all outcomes of creative thinking.

[You: “Wait a minute. The Golden Retriever is a dog, not the result of a creative idea!” Me: “Not so fast there, Sporty. The Golden Retriever was the result of a creative thinker saying, ‘If I breed a yellow Labrador Retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel, I might get an ...

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Why Your External Pressure Is Really Internal Pressure

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You’ve felt the pressure, haven’t you?

There’s the clock. Just hanging up there on the wall, silently mocking you with its impending deadline.

There’s your team, watching you, judging you, wondering if you’re going to save the day…or blow it in spectacular fashion.

There’s your boss, ever critical, with her unrealistic expectations and her long list of other highly qualified people who want your job.

These are some of the external pressures that you’ve faced in the past, may be facing right now, and ...

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The 3 Magic Questions To Unlock Your Creative Thinking

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Your business is dying.

Okay, that may not technically be true. It was meant to be a “grabber.” That said, it might be true.

You see, any business that isn’t continually coming up with creative solutions to business challenges is slowly dying. If it’s lucky. If it’s not lucky, it’s quickly dying.

There are three questions I like to use that will help you and your team unlock your creative brilliance and apply it directly to the challenge at hand. The three questions, ...

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The #1 Question Your Team Is Asking When Under Pressure

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“Is it safe?”

If you’ve ever seen the movie Marathon Man starring Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier, you know just how scary this question can be.

It can be a scary question for your team as well (although without the unpleasant dental work—watch the movie if you’re confused).

When you’re leading your team through a high-pressure situation, they’re looking to you (I’ve written about this before). They’re looking to you…

  • …to see what you’re going to do (how you’re going to solve the ...
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Are You Ready For Your Emergency Landing?

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“Your engine just quit. Where are you going to land?”

The voice came from the right-hand seat—the co-pilot’s seat.

Sounds dramatic, right? Actually, it was quite routine. The person in the right-hand seat was my flight instructor, and it was, like, the thousandth time he’d asked that question over the past few months. If you’ve ever had any flight instruction, you’ve probably heard this question as well. And probably more than once.

See, in flight training, you’re always preparing for the worst. (And, ...

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To Be More Effective, Simplify Your Message

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“The confused mind says no.”

You’ve heard this before, right? It means that, when faced with too many options, the brain doesn’t make any decision and simply shuts down. This is why you will often see well-dressed people standing, zombie-like, in front of the mustards section of Whole Foods. Eventually, a Whole Foods employee will check their wallets for IDs and arrange for Ubers to take them home, where a nice Pinot will bring them back to consciousness.

For those of us ...

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Why You Need To Be Encouraging Bad Ideas

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According to the traditional rules, I could never run for public office.

Not that I want to run for public office. I don’t! I’d be terrible at it. But my point is that, according to the traditional rules (which may not even be a thing anymore), I couldn’t run. That’s because, at some point during my campaign, some reporter would begin a question with:

“Mr. Stainton, isn’t it true that you once said…”

And my honest answer, even without hearing the rest of ...

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What The “Mission: Impossible” Movies Can Teach You About Pressure

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I just saw the new Mission: Impossible movie. I’m not going to give anything away here (because you may not have seen it yet, and besides, I’m not that kind of a jerk), but it is absolutely filled with high-pressure situations!

As in the previous five installments, Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt. And, as in the previous five installments, there’s a lot at stake. What I find interesting, though, is that the three elements that create a high-pressure situation for Ethan ...

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The Danger Of High-Pressure Focus

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On December 29, 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing more than 100 passengers and crew members. That, of course, would be tragic under any circumstances. What makes this incident doubly tragic, though, is that the accident was entirely preventable. In fact, had the story had a happier outcome, the cause of the crash would have been almost laughable.

So why did Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crash?

Because the two pilots were too busy trying to ...

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How Not To Make A Decision Under Pressure

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Fight or flight? This way or that way? Yes or no?

Each of these three questions describes a brain under pressure. Could be your brain, could be mine. When it comes to pressure situations, we all tend to default to the same mode: a binary mode.

In other words, when we’re under pressure and need to make a decision, we all have a tendency to simplify the situation to two choices, and ...

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