Nearly every week since the start of the year, the Wednesday feature has been “Change Your Character,” a great technique to generate new ideas by delegating a challenge to someone who you wouldn’t typically think about selecting to do your work. This lateral thinking approach uses someone in a completely different line of work to help you look at your own situation with a fresh perspective.
As a refresher, here are the steps:
- State the business challenge that you’re addressing – it could be an opportunity, a problem, a new process or approach, etc.
- Pick who you want to work on your situation. This could be a real person, a fictional or cartoon character, or even another business that faces an analogous situation.
- Once you’ve identified who you’ll put on the job, list 8 to 10 approaches that the person, character, or business uses to address opportunities or challenges.
- Using the 8 to 10 approaches, apply them to your situation to generate at least 3 new ideas each for solving it.
The Wednesday feature does steps 2 and 3, allowing you to focus primarily on step 4 – idea generation. As the weekly feature moves to less frequent appearances, here’s a handy summary of the 25 columns that you can bookmark for use in successfully addressing future opportunities. Within each category, the situations and characters covered are listed, along with a link to the original article.
- Disruptive Strategy – Bart Simpson
- Competitive Strategy – Terrorist
- Competing Against Bigger Players – Wee Willie Keeler
- Getting People to Participate in Strategic Planning – Event Planner
Relationship & Brand Building
- Lead Generation – Police Detective
- Identifying Good Prospects – Baseball Scout
- Growing Business Opportunities – Farmer
- Building Business Relationships, Strengthening & Maintaining Business Relationships, and Improving Challenging Business Relationships – Self-Help Advice Columinst
- Customer Service Approach – Babysitter
- Communicating Intangible Ideas – Garrison Keillor
- Brand Repositioning – Donald Trump & Madonna
- Creating Product Extensions - Successful Product-Extending Brands
Management & Problem Solving
- Managing Priorities – Air Traffic Controller
- Preventing & Dealing with Problems – Firefighter
- Diagnosing & Curing Problems – Doctor
- Project Turnarounds – Turnaround CEO
- Trimming Waste – Fitness Trainer
- Improvising in Unfamiliar Situations – An Improv Comedian
- Generating a Variety of Potential Solutions – Castaways from Gilligan’s Island
- Clear, Concise Writing - Reporter
- Simplifying Things – Forrest Gump
Just a note - I used Bart Simpson recently, and it worked very well. Give it a try and have great success Changing Your Character!