Creating a Polished Presentation

I was thinking about what it would take to create a polished presentation that would “WOW” the socks off of people. The work would require a new creative approach to take people on an emotional and educational ride that they’ve never been on before. The new method in and of itself would be refreshing.

My mind jumped to a chapter from “The Imagineering Workout” by the Disney Imagineers. Susan Dain, an Imagineer Show Designer, shared some of her notes about how to produce the perfect finishing touches to make a magical product. I took sketchnotes as I reread her four paragraphs, but I used my perspective of creating a polished presentation as a filter.

Here are my sketchnotes followed by an example:

 

2017_04_20_sketchnote_v2

After reviewing my notes, instead of giving a polished presentation example, I’ve decided to share a creative example from my son and his family’s recent move. When I walked into my granddaughter’s new bedroom I was elated with the uniqueness of its layout. It made the room special, which in my mind requires an extraordinary design.

Using everything stored in my brain and heart, I started to dream up several ideas. More specifically, I wondered how the room could be designed to cause my granddaughter to smile from ear to ear like she does every time I visit her.

Creating a design that would make someone smile in that special way takes a tremendous amount of energy to apply all the information it would take, plus the use of skills and whatever talents can be tapped into for the project. And then, it’s time to figure out a fresh new way of combining everything into the purpose of making her smile every time she wakes up and every evening before closing her eyes at bedtime.

It would take brainstorming and mock ups galore. Until that moment when I’d realize that the best idea has been captured and figured out. Then, and only then, would it be time to approach her room with paint, thing-a-ma-bobs and do-hickeys.

But alas, I wouldn’t be able to do it, as her parents would want to help her design the room as a family activity.

It’s a good thing the creative process is fun and rewarding.

I can’t wait to see what she does with her room.

© 2017 by CJ Powers

The Mastery Cycle

Slide1I led a master class and several workshops at a conference last week. My goal was to take the students through the mastery cycle without them knowing it. The outcome was eye opening during the debriefing stage of the conference – The time when reality revealed where on the master craftsman scales each person landed.

The mastery cycle has four parts to it: attitude, knowledge, practice, and skill. The attitude step is all about adjusting one’s dreams to a reality check without draining their vision. Increasing their knowledge is the second step that requires a certain amount of entertainment in order to retain the information. The third step is practicing with a coach who can guide and correct each step of the way. The fourth step is the development of a specific skill that can shine during the process.

Once the process concludes, it’s always useful to debrief the participants and find out what they achieved or learned. Everyone gains a new skill (or part of one) or learns how to avoid a disaster going forward. Both are needed for the master craftsman’s utility belt regardless of their occupation.

ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
My classes were filled with beginning filmmakers and semi-professional amateurs. Both groups typically have a great aptitude for filmmaking, but greatly lack the skills needed to climb to a higher level of quality. Since its impossible to get to the next level until you first understand what you don’t know, adjusting the attitudes of the participants is critical to their growth.

I opened with an example of a finely crafted short story that an amateur would shoot for less than $10,000 and a professional would shoot for no less than $265,000. By explaining the difference in quality, story, skill levels, etc., I helped many of the students correct their vision and desire more skills.

INCREASED KNOWLEDGE
The next class was about how to develop a story using a simple logline as a blueprint. Loglines are one to two sentences that clearly articulate the overall story. Any variation due to overzealous creativity in the process weakens the story and hinders the film’s success.

The class developed the beats of the story based on the logline and then wrote a script to be shot the next day. Everyone in class got caught trying to take the story down a rabbit hole, but the team maintained focus thanks to the agreed upon logline – a safety net to make sure the chosen topic is adhered to.

PRACTICE WITH COACH
The day of the shoot was guided by the experienced training the inexperienced. We had hoped for a professional team coaching an amateur team, but circumstances didn’t come together as planned. Still, the experienced were able to help and encourage those with less experience. Three scenes were shot and then debriefed the following morning.

We reviewed the dailies and discussed the pros and cons that came from the shoot. And yes, there were more cons, but I prefer to say there were more learning opportunities. As long as the person learns from his or her mistakes, they are another step closer to mastering their craft.

During the shoot the director is in charge. He must hold true to the logline, the script breakdown, his notebook, and all the other tools he has in delivering the final story based on its original intent as expressed in the script. Unfortunately, the director was so busy trying to keep his cast and crew moving that he forgot to refer back to his notes.

The outcome was some really good shots and acting that had nothing to do with the story. During our review, I pointed out as many of the errors that added to the destruction of the story and why each person failed. I also pointed out that with film being a collaborative art form everyone must stay on task, rather than offering up things that don’t move the story forward.

SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Each participant got a taste of a new skill they need to develop. The director learned how to breakdown the beats of the story to make sure they are filmed. The actors learned the importance of becoming the character instead of changing the character to be like them. The writers learned that creatives can make things up all day long, but must only keep what fulfills the logline. And on it went.

The process that led to the beginning development of a new skill can now be cycled again to lift that skill to another level. The repetition will eventually see the person master the skill and others for his utility belt, which will eventually lead to the mastering of the craft.

The person who embraces the mastery cycle will eventually become the master and be able to properly break the rules in order to move the art forward. They are also the ones who are passionate about the art. They are the perfect type of people worth having on any set and in any workshop.

Copyright © 2016 by CJ Powers

Empowered by Replication

©KAR

©KAR

During my tenure at Lucent Technologies (now Alcatel-Lucent), I was taught how to replicate myself for the greater good of the corporation. The process was fairly easy to learn, but it took a bold move of overcoming my fears to live the concept out loud. Those who were given the same opportunity and chose not to engage the process, found their corporate trajectory limited.

The concept of replication is simple: Reproduce your most profitable corporate skills within an equal or lower level associate in order to work yourself out of a job.

Work myself out of a job! Are you nuts!

The concept alone makes it clear why inner fears must be subdued in order to achieve success, especially during a time that no longer rewards loyalty. But restraining inner conflict isn’t half as important as figuring out how to replicate your skills in a way that equals or surpasses your current abilities – Generating greater value for the corporation.

During my experimental stages of replication, I learned that all workers are capable of replicating themselves in co-workers, which demonstrates an ability that becomes more valuable the higher he or she rises within the corporation.

I also learned: Everyone can empower themselves by replicating their abilities in others by following five steps.

1. DETERMINE THE SKILL THAT IMPACTS THE P&L

Understanding the direct correlation of your executable skills to the bottom line is essential to the replication process. In the case where access to the information is limited, understanding what your boss’s and his boss’s bonus is based on can suffice. Whether strategic or tactical, everyone has at least one skill that is directly related to the desired corporate growth.

In my first year on the network side of the business at Lucent Technologies, I was a Sales Specialist, a title held by a few thousand others (the company had 165,000 employees at the time). One day an executive asked me what I was doing. I had no idea how to answer, so he asked a high level manager to interview me and help me break my skills and process down. It was then that I realized my choices had directly impacted the bottom line and the executive wanted to replicate my skills to everyone carrying the same title. It was the first time I understood the power of replication.

2. DETERMINE THE PROCESS THAT FACILITATES THE SKILL

Analyzing and breaking the skill down into its basic steps is critical to the formation of an educational or replication plan. All skills can be broken down into easily managed and learnable elements. This process helps the mastery of the information at an accelerated rate.

I was hired by the new enterprise division at Motorola to sell wireless switches to campus-based businesses. My goal was to sell more than anyone else, even though I didn’t know how many had been sold. After closing my first switch sale, I was hit with a barrage of questions. The vice president wanted to know what I did and revealed that I was the first sales person to close a deal. He immediately shared the process he gleaned from our conversation and every sales person closed deals that year. It was an eye opening experience for me to realize the importance and structure of my process for replication.

3. TEACH THE BENEFITS AND PROCESS THAT DEVELOP THE SKILL

Co-workers require an understanding of the personal benefits gained by having a skill specific mentor, especially when it means more responsibility without a promise of additional pay. The benefits must be tied directly to the skill and not be filled with elusive fluff.

The benefits must also be tied to each process step to validate the process. If a benefit isn’t associated with a step, reconsider the necessity of that step. The why, behind each process step, causes the trainee to take responsibility for developing that portion of the needed skill set.

4. EMPOWER CO-WORKER WITH MORE RESPONSIBILITY

Practice develops confidence in using new skill sets and is best facilitated by affirmation and suggestions that keep the trainee within the parameters of the project scope. The ideal way of creating a safe place for training is to allow the co-worker to fail without fault. As a mentor, minor adjustments can be suggested to help alter the course of failure to that of success.

I received my Six Sigma green belt during my time at Motorola. The training process gave me responsibility for reducing expenses of a key product by $2MM. My black belt mentor guided my process and taught me how to think logically and structurally. He gave me full responsibility for the project and bragged about me to all the right people. While I didn’t receive a dime for my efforts, I did gain a significant amount of respect, which kept me alive during lay-offs. And, it was fun to learn that several people received bonuses as a direct result of my actions.

5. PROMOTE THE P&L RESULTS BASED ON THE NEW REPLICATION SYSTEM

Executives love to hear elevator pitches about how a newly implemented replication process directly impacts the P&L and their bonus. By bragging on the co-worker’s success, it becomes evident how they achieved their goal and the person behind the curtain. Not only does the executive learn about the co-workers new talents and how it improves his team, but he also understands who is behind the team’s growth – A far more valuable employee because of his ability to replicate success.

During my time at Home Depot, I had the opportunity to replicate some of my skills in one of my team members who longed for my position. We took time every week for a couple of months to bring him up to speed with the most important skills. When it came time for my move to another department, I was able to brag about his growth and accomplishments. The man I mentored quickly filled the job that normally took months to fill.

By giving away our skills, we can watch doors of opportunity open our future. With each open door, we work hard to develop our next set of skills and soon find ways of replicating it in time for our next level of success. After all, who better to be put in charge of all these growing skill leaders than the one who facilitated their growth.

Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers