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Opinion: How much time do you have for really good ideas?

The Strategic Suite

Posted online

Last December, Springfield Business Journal launched its first 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes content event. The new concept was driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and an inspiration to build upon the ideas of our peers. In this case, it was the Des Moines Business Record that shared its successful formula with us. Since then, we’ve seen many other business journals across the nation launch the same concept with similar success.

Nearly 250 people filled the Springfield IMAX theater very early on a cold December morning where they were quickly warmed up by an energetic atmosphere. Anticipation ran high, the seats were comfortable, the food was tasty and the ideas were flowing. We were graced with good weather, though outdoor conditions won’t stop the show.

This year, on Dec. 5, SBJ is proud to host our second-annual 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes at the AMC Springfield 11 IMAX theater. And our speakers are just as amazing.

We listened closely to last year’s surveys and will be adding more individual speaker time and more time for audience questions. We are still keeping the event to 90 minutes in total, but we thought more time for our audience to engage with our speakers would be welcomed. We will still have those 90 ideas summarized and printed in advance for attendees as they enter the theater. Speakers will be diving deeper into their content and offering key takeaways for attendees.

Who will be speaking this year?

• Steve Baker, vice president at The Great Game of Business

• Jonathan Garard, co-owner of Grooms Office Environments

• Jeff Houghton, host of “The Mystery Hour”

• Alina Lehnert, owner of Lehnert Leadership Group LLC

• Austin O’Reilly, owner of Dynamic DNA Laboratories

• Carol Taylor, president of Evangel University

• Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions

• Karen Thomas, president of Oxford HealthCare and Advanced TeleHealth Solutions

• Mark Steiner, co-founder and CEO of GigSalad

In my first column about 90 Ideas, I presented my own 10 ideas. After a year of reflection, I’m offering a new set of critical ideas in business.

1. Obsess about your top performers. They have wonderful ideas, and they want to be heard. Listen to them. If you aren’t hearing from them, check in often. They will stay longer.

2. Learn how to give feedback. Seriously, take a training class on it. There is an entire science around giving feedback to others and most professionals lack real, meaningful and timely feedback. That’s how we grow – through honest, constructive and effective feedback. Do it.

3. Offer genuine apologies, and note how often you repeat them. That’s a compass to follow in checking your own behavior. We all screw up. But this is an opportunity to use what you learn from your feedback class to have a critical internal conversation about why you might continue to screw up. Stop it.

4. Take notes in meetings, even if you never refer back to them. You learn more when you take physical notes and the note-taking process forces your mind to interpret the data you are hearing in a different way. You’ll retain more.

5. Ask “why?” When you ask a question in business, practice following up with “why is that?” You’ll be amazed at what you learn. Keep asking “why?”

6. Over-promise, over-deliver and over-communicate. Try it on a big initiative. Commit to a big idea. Put a stake in the ground. Set an audacious goal. Over-communicate that goal and what your strategy is to accomplish it. Make it happen. Be bigger than simply managing minimum expectations.

7. Put the phone down. Put the devices down in your meeting, at your desk, with your customer or vendor, at the stoplight, at the restaurant and in the movie. Be present.

8. Take that vacation now. Start by shopping for it and making a strong case. The memories you make now will recharge you and fuel your future endeavors. They give you tangible, immediate memories and experiences. Get going.

9. Find yourself an accountability partner who doesn’t work with or for you. Find someone you trust, create a safe environment and promise mutual candor. Set three goals a month and hold each other accountable with a monthly call or meeting. Find them soon.

10. Read “How Full Is Your Bucket” with your kids. Then demonstrate how it works with them and recognize when they fill buckets for others. Lead by example and fill up those little, or not-so-little, buckets. It will teach compassion on a personal level.

What we’ve learned through 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes is that our business audience is hungry for authoritative expertise and ideas. As SBJ continues to offer more content events and engagement, we will continue to serve as the business authority offering business content through our news, website and events.

Springfield Business Journal Associate Publisher Marty Goodnight can be reached at


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