Jan 9, 2012
Nov 14, 2011
Inspiration seems like a magical endowment, bestowed upon special people at mysterious times. We sit in awe of geniuses, inventors, and artists; the truly "inspired."
Sometimes inspiration condescends to impart it's graces to average folk—folk like us. Oh, if we could somehow control or bottle it.
Would it shatter anyone's reality if we stated that inspiration can actually be defined by a simple equation?
Allow us to posit this:
[ Where e = exposure, a = association, and i=inpiration]
Let's see how this holds up in a couple of examples:
Maybe inspiration favors those named Walt D, as in the examples above. More likely, The Walt's seemed to be apt practitioners of:
It's critical to inspiration that we regularly put ourselves in a position to see the world in new ways or experience new things. It's also critical that we learn to leverage what we have and know; being relevant and resourceful.
Defining and inviting the process of inspiration is one thing, while predicting or controlling it is most certainly another. However, if you plan according to this equation, inspiration just became a lot more accessible.
Oct 6, 2011
This is a pretty good article that discusses the concept that ideas are networks, as opposed to isolated phenomenon by solitary geniuses.
Aug 29, 2011
Persuasion is an interesting topic. It's a critical part of all successful relationships, especially in business. We are currently studying an interesting book entitled The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century, by Richard Perloff. We'll post cool stuff as we come by it.
Aug 26, 2011
We all want our expectations met, but ironically, people don't really know what they want.
Intresting TED talk from Malcolm Gladwell on how spaghetti sause changed the world.
Aug 17, 2011
By dumbing it down you smarten it up.
In the world of communication, this is an immutable truth. Always communicate as simply as possible.
Let’s say Nike wanted to talk to people about buying their shoes. Which of the two options below do you think is “smarter” and why?
Jul 22, 2011
Yes. That's a real mission statement for a real company—a big one too. Can you guess who? Of course not. You don't even have a clue. In fact, we'd bet that if someone from that company read it they wouldn't recognize it either.
Mine Academy recently attended a meeting with another very large company. One purpose of the meeting was to introduce the auditorium of employees to a shiny new triumvirate of corporate leadership: Mission. Vision. Values. The unveiling was preceded by "best-in-class" examples from another very large company, after which these were modeled.
It was clear that many a man-hour had been spent in the pursuit of what they certainly hoped would be a "needle-moving" burst of leaders inspiring the masses. Based on what we heard, we left with serious doubts of that. Each example demonstrated the same shortcoming; they communicated to their people like a waterfall instead of like a relay team.
We could debate what these statements should be, how you should create them, or if you need them at all, but the point is, until leaders stop raining down crushing amounts of vague jargon mingled with a storm of misty nonsense, i.e. a waterfall, nobody is going to follow anything.
Surely the solution is never easy, but try this on for starters:
Eliminate the hierarchal tendency of top-down communication and approach the people within an organization as members of a relay team. Everyone on the team is in a different position on the track, but each runner has a unique and critical role to play. If the runners before them aren't successful in their roles or hand-offs, the following legs are being set up to fail.
If the communication had been successful, everyone in that auditorium would have known:
Also notice how the example above would essentially hit the Mission, Vision, and Values for the relay team, and it would actually be useful. Clearly we're not saying that the holy MVV aren't important, rather we're suggesting that most people don't really know how to articulate and share them very effectively.
There you go. Now that we're clear on that we're at least half-way there.
Jul 15, 2011
Jul 12, 2011
(Nabbed from Wired magazine. Read the whole, wonderful article HERE)
"The ideal feedback loop gives us an emotional connection to a rational goal"
A feedback loop involves four distinct stages:
Jun 28, 2011
Again, from Steven Pressfield, on the need for a theme or in Mine Academy parlance, a "Souline".
...but it better happen and better happen sooner than later or you'll most likely come to regret it.
Jun 27, 2011
Here's a philosophical statement for you...buckle up.
Every relationship has a level of success directly proportionate to the effectiveness of the communication between the two parties. Mouthful—did you catch that?
Basically, the more effectively you communicate with another person, the more successful the relationship. The trick is, there is always a risk, or gap, between what you want to communicate and what will ultimately be communicated.
Good news—for those especially prone to fear, anxiety, or seriously limited resources, there is a way to mitigate that risk. Consider the following diagram:
This illustrates how one might better predict successful communication. Each of the circles above represents a bucket, or category of information you should master, relative to your tolerance for risk. The more informed and harmonious the circles, or the more the circles overlap, the less the risk. Basically:
Here's an example:
Prudence is about to celebrate her 30th birthday. Felix needs to deliver something extraordinary to make sure she knows of his love and devotion. Let's peek in on Felix as he follows the above model:
So here's the ultimate question: What are the odds that Felix's plan will result in communicating the requisite level of thoughtfulness and affection? Odds look pretty darn good. The circles overlap quite a bit. The risk, or gap, is probably very small. In fact, it might just be fail-proof. How often can you say that about a marketing tactic? Your challenge is to master the three circles of information when your stakeholder becomes hundreds, thousands, or millions of relationships, but the principle is the same.
Put another way, you're trying to make your sweet spot look like this:
Rather than this:
There you go. That should help your marketing, management, or love life be more than just a crapshoot. Go gett'em tiger!
Jun 1, 2011
To most people that work with us, I'm not sure "brief" is a word they would use to describe an experience with Mine Academy. But that's sort of the challenge and the triumph of it. A great working/strategic/creative brief is the springboard to great communication. Not just funny or cool or touching work, but communication that talks the right way to the right people. The brief is like watching a great master of art or athletics: it looks deceptively simple.
We've got process behind this process. Well, someone has to.
A friend recently shared an article from Ad Age on creative briefs. Check it out. Here are a couple of our favorite exerpts:
May 19, 2011
Are you seeing the same thing we're seeing? We think it's pretty cool. It's Mine Academy through the lens of circular theory. See, we're not just making crap up. Well we sort of are, but that's what makes this fun.
When we first meet someone initial impressions really count. We immediately begin to set expectations around what a relationship might do for us. The right presentation or story is going to go a long way to determining whether or not the thing gets off the ground in the first place.
The pre-relationship phase is fleeting. The next and maybe bigger factor is that if we don’t live up to or exceed the expectations we set up, the relationship will die on the vine. We have to ensure that our actions accord with our promises, spoken or unspoken. Put another way, we have to make sure that we continue to bring relevant value to the relationship. That is only possible when mutually beneficial expectations are constantly articulated, understood and delivered on.
That sounds like it could apply to everything from dating to business. In fact it does and it all has to do with some form of communication, which is why we're talking about it. We all need to be communication experts if we want to succeed at anything, and that's much easier said than done.
May 16, 2011
As with other companies, Mine Academy needs a soul to live and be vibrant. Part of that comes out in what we do. Part of that comes out in how we present ourselves. Adam, for example, needs to update his profile photo to better reflect the soul of Mine Academy. I took a stab. What do you think?
Here's the original. Feel free to take a stab at it yourself if you think you have a better idea.
May 9, 2011
The tank is full. We want to extend our gratitude to all those who participated in our first annual Mine!Mine!Mine! Whether you attended in person, online, in pre-work calls, or helped out with meeting spaces, etc., it was a big little initiative that came off even better than we hoped.
We plan to keep this going. Keep in mind some of our major rules of engagement:
Here are some highlights:
What are we missing?
Apr 21, 2011
Success is something we all want, personally and professionally. The real question for each of us is "how?"
We feel that one key ingredient to success is spelled out in Seth Godin's Poke the Box. That ingredient is one we really embrace and hope to find an ever-growing group of smart, talented people who also embrace it.
Did you get a copy? Did you read it? We'd like to share some of our thoughts on it and we'd like to hear each of yours.
Here are some of our favorite quotes:
If no one says "go," the project languishes. If no one insists, pushes, creates, cajoles, and launches, then there's nothing; it's all wasted.
Ownership doesn't have to be equity or even control. Ownership comes from understanding and from having the power to make things happen. Only by poking, testing, modifying, and understanding can we truly own anything, truly exert our influence.
I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance.
In short: show up.
What did you get?