Style of Business

5 Quick Lifehacks for Getting Motivated
Not every day is one where you’ll wake up and feel bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to take on the day. No, we’ve all had days where we slump out of bed, wish we could sleep another 12 hours and slog through our day, hoping to just crawl back into bed at the end of the day.

Being motivated can be hard at times, especially when you’re exhausted and work-weary. Don’t worry – there are ways to fix you up to be more motivated, even when you’re not feeling your best. These quick and simply lifehacks can be used every single day in order to motivate yourself to be the best you that you can be, no matter how you’re feeling right now.

Little Reminders Everywhere You Go

All you need for this motivational lifehack is a typing program, a printer, some scissors and tape. Go online and find some of your favorite motivation quotes, song lyrics or words. Paste them into your typing program and print out one or two copies. Cut the quotes into strips, then tape them up in areas you know you’ll see them daily. Next to the coffee pot, at the top of your computer – everywhere you look you’ll see something that makes you smile.

Find a Motivation Partner

When you only have yourself to rely on, it can be easy to shirk your responsibilities. However, partnering with others can give you a motivational boost that you can’t achieve on your own. Even if it’s just a couple text messages every day or a five minute phone call, check in with a buddy who also has a goal they’re trying to achieve. Update each other and give each other reassurance that you will succeed.

Commit to Journaling

Sometimes just writing down what you have to do will get you pumped to actually go out and do it. You don’t have to write down every inner most thought you have in your journal – actually, don’t write for very long at all. If you force yourself to write for long periods of time, you’ll get bored and tired of the routine.

Instead, write a couple of short sentences about your goals for the day. This lists your major to-do list items and helps you clear your head for the day.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to put your money on the line. Think about this challenge: complete your entire to-do list or else you’ll have to put a $100 bill in the blender.

Maybe this is a bit of an extreme when it comes to motivation, but the smartphone app Pact asks for your credit card information in order to help motivate you. If you complete your goals? You’ll be given cash. Skip out on a few? The app will take cash from you. Better not let that hard-earned money go to waste.

Gifts are Great Too

Don’t be afraid to get a little Kindergarten now and again. When you complete a task, give yourself a gift – nothing major, but a little dollar object that makes you happy. Go to your local dollar store and stock up on small trinkets – lotions, soaps, small gadgets and other small gifts that are all $1-$2 dollars. At the end of the month, if you’ve completed a majority of your goals, reward yourself with something a little more expensive as a treat.

These 3 Brand Success Stories Will Inspire You
Is your brand stagnating? Are you having trouble getting your branding to a place where you want it to be? Maybe you’re just uninspired so your creative branding brain is suffering. This is normal in business. We can’t be on all the time, so don’t stress too much.

Instead of focusing on your anxiety, instead focus on getting inspired. Sometimes what you need to get your branding mojo back is to simply looking to others for ideas and inspiration. Influential branding success stories are out there – in fact, there’s more than you can ever imagine. Here are three branding success stories that may just inspire you to make your own brand greater than ever possible.

Shopulse

Have you ever heard of the phrase “branding is so easy, even a kid could do it?” Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something that’s impossible. If you’re familiar with the shopping site Shopulse, you’ll know it’s a site famed for its great flash deals, but what you may not know is it’s the brainchild of a 16-year-old boy.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle is a teen from Moncton, Canada that’s had business aspirations since they first reached the double-digit age bracket. Over the years, he considered the problem that many retailers face: inventory management. Shopulse takes excess inventory from suppliers and uses this acquisition concept to sell goods cheaper to consumers while eliminating the back-stock problems of other businesses.

This kind of brand concept is attractive to consumers who want value both from the financial aspect of their products and the purpose of selling them. It’s also important to note that it’s impressive that Raphael has accomplished so much for someone so young. This is another lesson to learn – the more unlikely your success story, the more consumers will root for you.

 

Hootsuite

One of the best ways to brand yourself is to attach your own image to a popular trend. Not only does this boost the searchability of your campaign, it also infuses some personality and humor into your brand and business. When you show that you’re conscious of pop culture and can take a joke, your business is seen as more personable.

Take Hootsuite’s lead – after they noticed the huge popularity of the HBO drama “Game of Thrones,” the social media management company rebranded the trend as a viral video, “A Game of Social Thrones.” This video focuses on business value while still being humorous and light.

 

Disney

Maybe Disney has a head start with brand image and loyalty compared to other companies, but it doesn’t mean that they can fall asleep on the job. You may not have looked at it like this before, but Disney is one of the largest lifestyle brands in the world, they just don’t sell services or products that offer a tangible help – they sell experiences, magic and family happiness.

This isn’t just something that they do through their cruises and Oscar-winning films, either. Disney offers blog posts and other online content that furthers their family-friendly and experience-heavy brand. What can you take from this? Three things: brand consistency is key to customer loyalty, lifestyle branding is something you should focus on and promote this brand across a variety of mediums.

When you look to other brands for inspiration, always keep these questions in mind: what is this brand doing that could be valuable to me, and how can I take this success and turn it into my own?

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Have you ever noticed how successful people do so much? Maybe that seems a little redundant or silly. Of course they do a lot – they’re successful, aren’t they? But have you ever sat back and thought about the correlation there? Successful people don’t get a lot accomplished because they are successful. They became successful because they were productive in the first place.

CEOs and entrepreneurs didn’t get to the position they’re in now without being productivity gurus. The good news? Everyone can get on their level. Adjust your thinking – don’t think that people are born productive and successful. Anyone can learn some simple skills and lifehacks that can make them more productive than the common man.

The following are a smattering of mental adjustments and tips you can start thinking about every time you look at your to-do list. The more you utilize and internalize them, the further you step onto your path towards success.

  • First, start being more positive. Negativity can be what stifles you more than anything. Start thinking that you WILL succeed and you’ll be amazed by how much more you’ll get one in a day.
  • Start getting organized. This is super basic – but it’s also something that many people don’t do. Spend a day clearing out your desk and setting up an organization system. You’ll thank yourself for it.
  • Scheduling is a big part of being successful. When you set up certain periods of time each day for each of your tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish all of them.
  • How do successful people do it? They have people to help them out. You may not make enough to have five personal assistants, but you do have family and friends to keep you on task. Set up a system that gives you a productivity buddy or two. When you have someone there to help make sure you’re following through, you’re more likely to be productive.
  • Successful people also utilize technology to help them succeed. Whether it’s through a calendar service or apps that help them plan and optimize their day, start saying yes to technology throughout your day – just don’t get succeed into time sink sites and apps.
  • Another trait that successful people have is they’re goal-oriented. While it’s good to be productive just based on principal, you have a better chance at overall success if you have a reason for being productive to begin with. Whether it’s a business venture or a more personal goal, have a reason for your productivity in order to drive yourself to commit to your good habits.
  • Stop being afraid of failure. Successful people have all experienced a bump or two in the road – but does that get them down? No! This may seem a little cheesy, but it’s true. Your probably don’t realize it, but you’re likely afraid of fear and get harder on yourself when you don’t live up to your own standards. Accept failure, learn from it and make the experience something to reflect upon instead.
  • Lastly, successful people stay ahead of the curve. Don’t be afraid to be innovative or try new things. One of the best ways to be successful and productive at the same time is to always look for a new way to optimize your day.

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We all do it. Whether you’re someone who wastes time watching YouTube videos or simply finds other, more desirable chores to do other than your most important task you keep finding ways to avoid. Procrastination is an ailment that plagues all of us from time to time. Some of us are occasional victims to a bout of laziness, while others are habitual procrastination professionals.

Instead of letting procrastination take over your life, it’s necessary to grab your ability to pay attention by the horns and steer it in the right direction. It can be difficult to control your procrastination impulses, though, so it’s important to find exercises and habits that can help you get things done in a timely manner.

Productivity is a great attribute to have as a person. When you’re productive, you’re happier – while it might feel better to push off your responsibility in favor of more free time, you’re just prolonging a hidden sense of anxiety.

This is especially true of projects with deadlines that you put off. While you might be able to get all your work done on time despite procrastinating, no one likes that sense of stress they get when they’re burning the midnight oil the night something is due just because they put off their work until the bitter end.

Stop living like this. Use these three effective strategies to start being productive when you should be instead of slacking when you shouldn’t be.


Use a “break it down” method.

One of the biggest reasons we put off tasks is because they’re too arduous to us at the moment. Think about two different to-do list tasks: sending 10 emails for a charity you’re running a function for or cleaning out your two-car garage, packed with junk.

It’s much easier to just sit at your desk and shoot off some emails instead of spending the whole day trying not to be crushed by stray hockey sticks and boxes of old clothes. This is because you’re looking at the large picture, not the big one.

Instead of thinking about cleaning the whole garage, focus on the idea that you only take care of a small section or portion of the work every day. Spend one day stacking all the stray boxes lying around, then another sweeping the floor. The smaller the tasks are that you’re working with; the more likely you are to get them done. Eventually, the bigger project will be accomplished.

 

Don’t get down on yourself when you don’t succeed.

Everyone procrastinates – even when they’re trying not to. Even the most steadfast and productive person will slack off from time to time. Does this make them a failure? Does this mean they’re doomed to fall into a lazy groove and never accomplish anything? Ever?

No.

This is another reason many people don’t accomplish tasks – they’re too hard on themselves and the idea of failure. Think about it: if you have a task you need to accomplish but you feel like you won’t succeed, how driven are you to complete said task?

When you procrastinate or fail a task, don’t think of it like it’s the end of the world. Think about it in a positive light. You might have fallen, but you can get up and start again.

 

Find your perfect planning method.

We know and understand that it’s a little insulting to tell you to write out a to-do list or start using a planner to map out your day in order to beat productivity – you can hear that advice anywhere. Of course you’ve tried a planning method!

The advice not often given is that every person has a planning style that fits them. Some don’t do well with to-do lists, while others swear by them. Don’t throw in the towel just because one system fails you. Try different methods out – post-it notes, apps, to-do lists, etc. You’ll find something that works for you eventually.

 

thinkpositive1Have you ever considered the role of positivity in your life? In fact, think about this question for a moment: how positive are you?

If you immediately answered with a “very” or “yeah, I’m positive,” then stop and rethink your answer. Give yourself five minutes. Positive people exude their positivity in everything they do. They may not be eternally smiling, stereotypical balls of sunshine, but they do have a “can do, will do, will succeed” attitude that helps them get through the day.

But is there a purpose behind all of this positivity? It makes sense that being positive can increase your productivity and lift your mood some, that’s for sure. There’s also that other quip that people like to throw around that you should think about: “being more positive is healthy for you!”

Is this actually true though? Is there any direct correlation between being positive and being healthy?

In reality, there have actually been quite a few studies done on the subject. Many scientists and researchers wanted to officially find out how positivity affects a person’s health.

For instance, a 2015 study shows that what you say on Twitter could actually be directly correlated to a person’s heart health.

Based on the data found, users that used more optimistic language presented a lower risk for their mortality in terms of heart disease. This means that users that used words in their tweets like “stronger” and “faith” were healthier than those who used more negative language or who had indiscernible leanings.

Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley conducted a study based on the emotion of awe. Awe, amazement and wonderment are all positive emotions that can positively affect your health, based on the research that discovered the emotions have natural, anti-inflammatory properties.

The Berkeley study involves researches looking at subjects that had recently experienced awe versus those who had not. Those who had experienced awe were found to have lower levels of cytokines, inflammatory markers that may cause autoimmune diseases, depression, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

One of the study’s authors spoke to news website The Huffington Post about her thoughts on the study and subject.

“Rather than seeing a walk through the park or a trip to the museum as an indulgence, we hope people will view these kind of experiences as important ways to promote a healthy body in addition to a healthy mind…”

Another study conducted on positive emotions was spearheaded by positive psychologist Barbara Frederickson. Her research focused on the effects of loving-kindness meditation (known as LKM) which is a traditional Buddhist practice that combines meditation with compassion and collective love within a group.

She found that the boosted feelings of compassion led to improvement in resting vagal tone. The vagus nerve has to do with a person’s overall physical health as well as their feelings of connection and love.

Frederickson had this to say about her findings:

“In a way, our bodies are designed for love, because the more we love, the more healthy we become.”

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There are a lot of traits every entrepreneur must have to be successful. Productive, confident, critical and innovative. All of these character traits make an entrepreneur who they are – a strong businessperson who knows what they’re doing and exudes that quality to everyone they know.

But what if you’re an entrepreneur who isn’t exactly a leader? Not all entrepreneurs automatically come equipped with a strong knack for leadership. This is something fixable, though. Keep these six methods in mind in order to start better honing your leader skills.


Always be willing to listen.

One of the greatest skills an entrepreneur can master is learning to listen. In a boss role, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get into a “my way or the highway” mentality. Break this habit and hold regular employee, staff and/or team meetings.

When you learn what sort of input those beneath you in the ranks have to give, this helps you in two ways. One, you’ll learn about the inner workings of your business. Two, your employees will respect you more because you’re willing to put them on the same plane as you.

 

Get on top of your deadlines.

There’s no such thing as a good leader who’s late. It’s not uncommon for office workers to push deadlines or forget an assignment – it’s not a good thing, but it’s certainly not uncommon. Leaders, however, have an example to set. When they miss their deadlines, they show that they aren’t organized or serious about success.

When you fix both of these problems, you show that you’re a good leader because you’re willing to go the extra mile to make sure things get done. Conquer your deadlines and become the leader you want to be.

 

Communicate constantly.

Good leaders communicate all the time – whether it’s to their team or their partners, they constantly have to be talking about their ideas, their plans and making sure everyone in their business is on the same page.

Just like you need to be able to listen, you have to be able to speak about the things you think, know and hear as an entrepreneur. When you master this skill, you show you have what it takes to lead.

 

Hone your cooperation and personal skills.

With all this listening and talking going on within your business, you should have developed some good interpersonal skills. However, there have been many leaders who know how to listen and communicate, but they don’t know to actually make connections with people.

A good leader is someone who knows how to cooperate with others, is a personable boss and colleague, and they also have a knack for connecting with others as a person, not just a business associate.

 

Learn to come second.

You won’t be coming in first every time. As a leader, sometimes your needs aren’t what need to be met at the moment. If you need to take a pay cut in order to pay your employees, so be it. Good leaders are people who understand that they might be the boss, but employees come first.

 

Have a way with words.

Consider a good leader. They’re confident, right? This confidence comes through in how they speak with people – both in personal and business settings.

Confidence isn’t just about thinking you’re great. It’s about being able to speak to others in any situation and show that you don’t just think you’re great – you ARE great, and it shows.

women_treps
Let’s be real – the business world isn’t exactly female-friendly. You’ve probably experienced this at some point in time during your career. Whether it’s a few smug male glances or all-out sexual harassment, you’ve got a lot to deal with as an entrepreneurial woman in a world dominated by men.

It’s more important than ever for everyone to support women in fields of expertise. As a woman yourself, it can be hard to find people who are willing to be in your corner. Thankfully there are indeed female-friendly resources out there for support, ideas, networking and help for all of your entrepreneurial needs.

Feminology

If you need someone in your corner that is willing to go to bat for your business, Feminology is there for you. Their female-empowerment message is perfect for women entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their first official business venture. For a yearly fee, Feminology will guide you and your business through your fledgling phases, making sure it succeeds.

Feminology also regularly holds and endorses workshops geared toward giving women the tools they need to succeed as a businessperson, including marketing ideas and networking tips.

American Business Women’s Association (ABWA)

As a female entrepreneur, it’s important that you network in spaces that are safe and welcoming to you. If you’re going it alone, it can be hard to find opportunities to branch out and network outside of small circles. The ABWA gives women from all different business backgrounds the opportunity to get together and learn about leadership and education, as well as providing a great pool of female entrepreneurs to connect with.

BizyMoms’ Small Business Center

You should never stop learning. You could have a PhD in literally every subject possible, and there would still be new information to learn. Maybe you aren’t there yet, but the point still stands – BizyMoms’ dedciates a portion of their site to offering female entrepreneurs access to e-courses, directories, informative articles and even a newsletter to subscribe to for updates on women-friendly resources.

Rich Woman

You can already tell this is a site for you, right? Rich Woman is dedicated to female empowerment in the business world by connecting with other like-minded business women. There’s also an added element of financial education and business presence for entry-level female entrepreneurs that still need a little bit of help getting their foundation set.

The BOSS Network

 Are you a BOSS? If you are, then you’re a pretty smart lady – this network of women is all about being empowered and aligning together as businesswomen. They’re all about promoting the health and wellness of women, both in the business and spiritual sense. If you want to network and just swap some business stories with some savvy women, this is the place you should be.

TED for Women

 You’ve probably heard of TED conferences, or at least seen snippets of them on YouTube. If you’ve never seen a full TED conference, you should definitely check one out. If you want one that piques your interest, check out their videos tagged “women.” Most of these videos talk about women issues and their place in the working world. Watch a few and be totally inspired.

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So you have to come up with new brand strategies. How do you test if it works?

There’s a certain art to effectively testing out branding strategies that you’re unsure of, and it’s definitely an art that takes a lot of practice to master. Marketing in general is something of a science – there’s a lot of psychology and numbers involved that makes it somehow both subjective and scientific at the same time. Branding and advertising have certain standards, but if every brand formula was so simple, there’d never be a failed advertising scheme or bankrupt business.

No matter how you test out your branding strategies, it’s imperative that they work. The only way to truly see your branding strategy’s success in action is to use testing methods that give you accurate results that you can visualize.

The following strategies can give you the data you need to make sure your recent branding venture is on point.

  • Social Media Competition – Pick two brand marketing ideas you want to try out on social media. Put both up in two different tweets. See which one does the best with your target audience. Don’t just go off of retweets and likes, either – your true analytics data should be what you go off of first and foremost.
  • Ask Outside Sources – Sometimes you get too absorbed in being a boss and worker that you forget to think like a customer. Sure, the obvious solution is to do blind studies with strangers in a controlled setting, and this is indeed an effective method of market testing. However, also get up close and personal with your ideas – ask your family. Don’t go straight to the family member you know will be easy on you either. Go for that brother or sister who points out your flaws and gets on your nerves. They honest and biting critique can actually serve you well when it comes to branding criticism.
  • Go Undercover – Try your branding out on your own coworkers and staff. If you’re a nutrition company, set up a faux bake sale stand near the front of the office. Get someone to say they’re trying to help their kid out with a bake sale or experiment and ask if they can help buy the products so they can meet the set out goal. Offer up several samples – mock ups of your own branding ideas – and keep track of who chooses what, as well as which gets chosen the most. Adapt the method to whatever your company produces and get creative with it.
  • Do a Blind Vote – Sometimes, even in the most tightknit office, people aren’t willing to speak their mind about their criticisms. When you’re testing out a branding idea, don’t ask for anyone to give their opinion directly. Instead, hand out index cards and ask for your coworkers to write their most biting thoughts on their cards – anonymously. Gather and shuffle the cards, then read them aloud for others to comment on the criticisms. This way you can honestly see what works and what doesn’t in a safe way.

fitness
You’re sitting all day at the office. Sitting to work, sitting to eat, sitting on the way home. You probably get to your house, sit on the couch, and then sit in bed before you lay down. When you work a lot, you become really sedentary, and this isn’t the answer to a healthy and happy life.

There’s also another problem happening here – when you sit and sit all day, you aren’t operating at your best. When you’re at work you should be firing on all cylinders, not slumping through each day wishing it was over. When you sit and don’t move, you aren’t as productive as you could be.

Here’s a fun fact for you – every year you get older, your brain’s ability to generate brain cells depletes. If you want to help curb this process, exercise is the answer. In the short-term, even exercising for 10 minutes a day can help your blood circulate to your brain, keeping you sharper. When your brain is engaged, it’s staying healthy and youthful.

The happier your brain is, the more productive you are as a person. A fully engaged brain is one that is getting things done, which means you could be wasting your potential just sitting in your desk chair for hours on end. Thankfully it’s not hard to get your brain going again, even at work. Those 10 minutes that it takes to get your brain going can be done sporadically throughout the day in short bursts – or you can literally work on them while you’re working!

Not to mention, in general, exercising is good for your body and overall well-being. These exercises are all doable at work, no matter if you reside in a cubicle or the top floor office. What are you waiting for?

  • Leg Lifts – Sit at a desk all day? It’s like that this sedentary position keeps your legs in a near-still state for long periods of time, cutting off circulation. You may shuffle or cross and uncross them occasionally, but that’s not doing much. It may not seem like a lot, but do some leg lifts while you’re sitting down and working. Life one leg from the knee, hold for five seconds, and put it down. Alternate back and forth for as long as you’d like. This extra movement is enough to get your brain back in motion, especially because now it’s working harder to focus on counting and your work at the same time.
  • Dine and Dash – So you’re at work on your lunch break, sitting at your desk or in the break room. Instead of simply sitting through your lunch break, walk around and eat – where it’s polite to, of course. If you can go outside, walk around your building while you enjoy your salad or burrito. Try to keep things healthy (but that’s for another post). Getting out and moving around can get your creative and productive juices flowing again.
  • Work Rewards – Make it into a game. Pick an exercise that’s simple or that you enjoy doing, like toe touches or squats. Tell yourself that after every five minutes you spend fully focused on work, you get up and do your decided upon exercise. Once you’ve done 12 reps in a row, so you’ve worked and exercised for approximately an hour, take a 15-minute work break – if you’re allowed of course. If not, find another way to treat yourself for the accomplishment. When you feel accomplished, you’re more likely to be productive.
  • PE Routine – If you want to get your work workout over with all in one fell swoop, that’s fine. Just wait until your longest break and think back to middle school gym class. Go through about 15-20 reps of the most basic stretches and exercises like high knees, the butterfly position, a jumping jack or two. This can get your circulation going and boosts your productivity after a long and boring afternoon.

Brainstorm
Being the owner or employee for a small business means being a constant idea machine. You’ll have to learn how to come up with solutions and ideas on the spot at any time of the day. At first, this can be pretty easy – you’re a fresh mind with fresh ideas and you’re spitting them out left and right. After a while, though, the well starts to run dry. You’re grasping at straws, trying your damnedest to come up with whatever you can and what you do deliver isn’t very good.

This means you’re going to have to learn how to brainstorm. No matter whether you’re totally new at this or you’ve exhausted your entire idea bank, it’s never a bad idea to develop a talent for brainstorming – especially with others.

Group brainstorming activities can be the best way for you and your team to come up with brand new ideas, or even fine-tune old ones. One half-formed idea you have combined with one half-formed idea from another coworker can add up to be the best idea you’ve seen all year.

But sometimes the common forms of brainstorming don’t work as well as they should. Everyone will get pretty burnt out on just shouting out ideas, so implement these four new and innovative brainstorming strategies during your next project meeting. You’ll be amazed by how much synergy you guys will share, and the ideas will come pouring out.

Change the scenery a little bit.

Sometimes what’s really blocking all of your creativity is staying in the same old meeting room and office space over and over again. Even if you work in the most inventive and creative office in the world, staying in the same place every day stagnates your creativity. Instead of staring at the same wall again, suggest everyone move somewhere else.

The best place for sparking creativity is somewhere engaging, like the outdoors, but even moving to a different room can get the juices flowing again. Being in a different setting can give you a refreshed sense of newness.

Oh – but if you’re a cool boss or have some pull in your workplace, definitely go for the work picnic option.


Stop applying all that pressure.

One of the reasons you’re drained of ideas is probably that you’re trying too hard to force them out. The best ideas are organic – they simply spring out of you without effort. When you sit there and think, think, think yourself into a stupor, you aren’t going to get anywhere.

This idea is two-fold: first, always keep a pen and paper handy – even in every room in your house. Don’t let that idea slip past you in the shower. Hop out and write it down! Just let your engines rest and write things down as they come to you.

Utilize some group therapy techniques.

No not in the somber way. When you all pile into the meeting room, sit in a circle and just talk – you can pick a question or topic to answer, but just get talking about something other than brainstorming.

When you engage with others on a more personal level, you get your mind working in ways that get it ready for bigger brainstorming work ahead. Talking about critical thinking or person questions makes you actually think about your answers, so you aren’t just regurgitating ideas using the same old brain techniques you usually use. 

Also try the opposite strategy.

Sometimes what really gets people motivated is keeping them apart from the rest of the pack. Skip the meeting for once and tell employees that they have an hour to come up with an idea – just one. After the hour, bring everyone to the meeting room and go around in a circle, reading off the ideas.

Also work in making small groups with different dynamics, instead of just one large group. Some people work better with other personality types – if you can make an idea match made in heaven, you’ll get brainstorming ideas in no time.