I AM CONSTANTLY proving to myself how important
it is to be positive in spite of the negative conditions
or opinions of others. My latest book, Watermelon
Credo: The Book, which is available through my
website, might be the best confirmation yet. The
sequence of events is as follows.
In July 2009, The Costco Connection ran one
of my columns, which used my Watermelon
Credo. The response was very positive. One reader’s daughter and son-in-law, both teachers, used
it to inspire their students, and another daughter
shared it with her co-workers in a financial office.
We offered copies of the credo to anyone who
e-mailed me. More than 600 readers responded.
Earlier this year I had an upcoming lecture to
the International Reading Association, a network
of literacy professionals. I decided to convert the
Wally Amos is the
founder of Uncle
Company. You can
reach him at
Watermelon Credo into a book to sell at their conference. The book was written with my co-author
and friend, Stu Glauberman. No publishers were
interested. Using ideas in the credo, I decided to
self-publish in four months.
Believing it could be done, I contacted the publisher of my Chip & Cookie book, who gave me a
favorable deal. Through previous contacts, I found a
manager for the project, and she found an editor
and illustrator. Everyone worked together as a team
with great enthusiasm, and we had books for the
conference two weeks ahead of schedule.
We did what many said couldn’t be done, and
proved the message of the Watermelon Credo
works. Everyone had a positive attitude. We were
an exceptionally friendly and cohesive team.
Collectively we made a commitment to complete
the book. We respected each other and had fun. We
loved what we were doing and did our best one day
at a time, always focused on answers and solutions.
Obviously, we never gave up or became victims.
If it works for me, it can work for everyone.
The message is: “It works, if you work it.” You cannot be too positive. Prove me right. Use it! C
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection.”At Online Edition,
search “Wally Amos.”
BRAINSTORMING IS OFTEN needed in any
business—struggling or thriving—to jump-start
processes, product or service creation, or sales.
But how can you be sure your participation in that
process will lead to a storm and not
Schaumburg, Illinois, Costco
member Hazel Wagner is a brainstorming expert and facilitator,
and author of the book Power
Brainstorming: Great Ideas at
Lightning Speed (b9d, inc., 2009).
She offers these tips.
1. Write it down, right
away! We think we will easily
remember the great idea we just
had, but most of us forget if we
don’t write it down or record it.
Ideas that come to us in the middle of the night (dreams are often
the way the brain continues to
figure out unresolved problems)
need to be jotted down. And get everyone’s ideas
written down before there is any sharing.
2. Fast and furious, timed lightning
rounds. Time yourself. Require a number of
ideas to be written down in a short amount of
time—for example, 10 ideas in three minutes or
25 ideas in eight minutes. Forcing yourself to
work with the pressure of a limited amount of
time keeps that censor in your brain from inter-
rupting. Items you might have
thought wouldn’t work might turn
out to be the essence of a fantastic
idea —yours or a trigger for some-
3. No judgment comments.
Saying someone’s idea is a bad
one or won’t work will put the
brakes on a brainstorming session.
Positive comments can do the
same. If someone says, “That is a
great idea!” everyone else in the
room subconsciously compares it
to what they were about to offer
and may choose not to mention it.
4. Organize and reorganize
after the lightning rounds. After
any lightning rounds of fast-paced idea generation, organize the ideas into
clusters that fit together.
For more information on Power Brainstorming, go to www.brainstorming-that-works.
WE WORK in groups in all
aspects of our lives, but it
seems that, most of the time,
the group dynamic hinders
rather than stimulates productivity. This makes it that
much more important to
understand group dynamics
and how to get the most out
In their book Extra-
ordinary Groups: How
Ordinary Teams Achieve
Amazing Results (Jossey-
Bass, 2009), business consul-
tants Geoffrey Bellman and
Kathleen Ryan studied
groups ranging from two
participants to around 20 and
shared their observations
with more than 600 execu-
tives, managers and consul-
tants. Their conclusion:
“Exceptional experiences can
be thoughtfully nurtured and
The book outlines their
study and provides valuable
tips and exercises to create
extraordinary groups, which
exhibit, among other traits:
• A compelling purpose
that inspires and stretches
members to make the group
and its work a top priority
• Shared leadership
that encourages members
to take mutual responsibility
for helping the group to be
• Just enough structure
to create confidence to move
forward, but not so much as
to become bureaucratic
• Unexpected learning
that translates into personal
and group growth
• Great results, tangible
To learn more, visit