Quick Tips: Good content deserves good delivery

I had the pleasure of stumbling across a nice take on creativity from Mr. Preston Trombley, a musician and artist and Toastmaster.  His 7 minutes on Beethoven, Einstein and You is a great Monday morning pick me up.

So why am I linking and not embedding?  Well, the video quality is unfortunate.  Shaky cam, shot vertically, and while Mr. Trombley uses the room effectively, the videographer hasn’t really planned for that, so there’s a lot of quick pans to keep him in frame.  It’s bad enough that I feel it needs a warning (it may make you nauseated; feel free to just listen to it instead of watching), and also a disclaimer – that I know it’s terrible production quality, but I think the content is worth a listen anyway.

Two things to take from this: first, you have it in you to be a more creative person…but also – be sure that you’re not obscuring whatever messages you have for the world by not taking the time to master the basics of new technologies as they whiz by us.   Read more

Creative and Bossy – What childhood conspires to kill in us

I wrote a short post last week on tensions between helping women succeed NOW, walking a tightrope of pseudo-masculine but acceptably feminine leadership techniques through the minefield of modern American business culture, and helping encourage women to be disruptors of this unfortunate system that has evolved/metastasized with so many terribly ingrained disparities.

On the one hand, there’s a certain satisfaction in seeing some women excel at a super-aggressive style of leadership.  Unapologetic.  Direct and brutal.  Ruthlessly effective.  Demanding of your attention and compliance.  We suffer through this form of leadership so often, and watch men elevated and celebrated for being such leaders.  It’s a guilty pleasure to see women beat them at their own game.

But while I occasionally teach folks to mimic pieces of this leadership style (because it comes in handy to be able to present yourself convincingly as pathologically self-assured now and then), I never ever work to shape people into such tyrants.  Not only is it profoundly unlikely to succeed for the women and minorities who make up my coaching clientele, it’s not a good leadership identity.  A sparely used tool, sure.  But an unfortunate way to actually attempt to lead your life, much less lead other people.

So, that’s why I feel so conflicted about the Ban Bossy campaign that is the latest brain child of Sheryl Sandberg and the Lean In folks. Read more


Do you know what mindmapping is?  The concept is pretty self-explanatory; it’s a way of organizing all the thoughts that are chaotically bubbling around in your head, putting them into a visual map so that you (or others) can come back to them later.  You’ve seen them on TV – the big crime solving boards on most police procedurals are one form of mind map…and you know they always solve the case, in about 50 minutes, so they must work, right?

Cool, you say.  So, I should be trying that?  Yes, but if this isn’t something you’re in the habit of doing these days, chances are that it seems hopelessly daunting, even if I tell you how useful it can be for some people.  Let’s see if we can break it down into easy to try pieces.   Read more

The Development Shrink Shopping Guide (for gifts that give back)

‘Tis the season for gift giving.  Of all the invented holidays, I think Cyber Monday is one of my least favorite…but aside from all the hoopla from media folks who think that “hey, people shop online…a lot” is a news story, it’s pretty practical.  I’m not anti-shopping, mostly because I’m very pro-gift giving!

If you’re looking for some ideas, here are a few ways that I get more bang for my own gift giving dollar, giving gifts that are neat gifts but also help support organizations and causes.  You’ll feel like the savviest of all savvy shoppers, and it can often add to the experience for the recipient. Read more

Quick Tips: The magic of tiltshift

Looking for a cheap way to look like you spend a ton on your graphics?  I’m always looking for techniques that are really simple to use, but pack a punch.  Tiltshift is one of the things I keep up my sleeve.

I really don’t know why Universities aren’t using adorable tiltshifted photos for more of their mailings…
I really don’t know why Universities aren’t using adorable tiltshifted photos for more of their mailings…

Tilt-shift is a technique that manipulates your photos to look like miniatures and models of real-life scenes.  And you can do it with your photos very very easily.   Read more

Creativity is not a mysterious and fickle muse

First, let’s make an important distinction: creativity and productivity are not the same thing.  But the odds are, you want to figure out how to make yourself into a creative AND productive person, on the job and beyond.

I have bought, but not yet read a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey. (Forgive me – I run my own consulting and coaching business, write this blog on the side, serve on two nonprofit boards, and by the way, have a two-year old who only goes to pre-school four days a week, so…I’ll get to it.)  Mason is a charming young writer – you may also like some of his bite-sized articles.  (Check out the one on caffeinated snacks, which is possibly more directly related to your immediate productivity.)  Suffice it to say, I’ve been looking forward to reading it since it took its place on my shelf this summer.

But I did just catch wind of a recent article in the Guardian that reviews the book and picks out six “lessons from history’s most creative minds” in digestible format.  Check it out.  Read more

Creativity debates: Stop! You’re both kinda sorta right…

Fun little article at the ol’ HuffPo last week.  Everything You Thought You Knew About Creativity Is Wrong.  There are some good tips and also some misguided half-truths in the name of simplification.  Y’all know that I’m a big fan of creativity – creativity in the workplace, creativity as a teaching and management tool, creativity as a fundamental edge to make you better at everything you do, creativity as a muscle that needs training and constant exercise.  So let’s dive into this one together.  Read more