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Housing (un)affordability in Australia - the case for going tiny.

Heidi Pollard - Thursday, February 22, 2018

Australia is growing and changing - economically, socially and environmentally . Census data highlights aspects of this transition and suggests key challenges to overcome and issues to address.

We are at a critical juncture – a time to debate about the nation's growth and future. A time to think smarter and act more decisively.

As a property investor for over 20 years in the low to mid range residential market I am saddened to see the continuing decline of housing affordability in our "lucky country.” Not only am I beginning to be squeezed out of purchasing houses for investment myself as affordability goes down and competition and prices go up, I am am also seeing an increase in tenant distress and lack of supply and availability of clean, affordable, decent housing at the lower end of the market.

This week I attended the Hunter Research Foundation Centre's Hunter Economic Breakfast focusing specificially on housing affordability (or un-affordability to be precise) where the picture painted was gloomy and heralded a need for a clear strategy and decisive action by both politicians, businesses and private investors if we are to turn around this downward trend.

At the breakfast, Greg Budworth from Compass Housing shared that:

·      In the decade after the Second World War, state and federal governments combined on the biggest building boom in Australian history. 

·      Over a 10 year period they built more than 670,000 houses, providing affordable homes for generations of Australians. 

"70 years later Australia is in the grip of a housing crisis that is undermining living standards and threatening future prosperity." Greg Budworth

Research backs this up. The 14th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2018 Rating Middle-Income Housing Affordability covers 293 metropolitan housing markets in nine countries including Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Findings from the research include that there are 28 severely unaffordable major housing markets, including 13 in the United States, 5 in Australia and one in New Zealand and China.

Virtually all the severely unaffordable major housing markets covered in the Survey have restrictive land use regulation, usually urban containment policy. Urban containment seeks to severely limit or prohibit new housing development on and beyond the urban fringe. A typical strategy is to impose an "urban growth boundary" which is associated with higher land prices for land on which development is allowed. This leads to higher house prices, a lower standard of living and increased poverty. Housing affordability is likely to worsen even more unless there is regulatory reform that restores competitive land markets on the urban fringe.

In her impressive book, The Life and Death of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs said "...a metropolitan economy, if it is working well, is constantly transforming many poor people into middle-class people..." Yet, urban containment policy has been associated with more expensive housing, which has lowered the standard of living, increased poverty and stunted economic growth.

Historically, the Median Multiple has been remarkably similar among six surveyed nations, with median house prices from 2.0 to 3.0 times median household incomes (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States). Housing affordability remained generally within this range until the late 1980s or late 1990s in each of these nations (Figure 2).15 In recent decades, house prices have escalated far above household incomes in many parts of the world. In some metropolitan markets house prices have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled relative to household income.

Sydney is again Australia’s least affordable market, with a Median Multiple of 12.9, and ranks second worst overall, trailing Hong Kong. Melbourne has a Median Multiple of 9.9 and is the fifth least affordable major housing market internationally.

But what does this all mean for us living day to day down under?

It means despite living in the wide brown land that we are experiencing increased mortgage stress, tenant distress and urban containment restricting urban sprawl pushing house and rent prices up and up. Basically demand will continue to exceed supply and if this is not reversed or slowed, worsened housing affordability is likely.

Unless we beat the urban containment restrictions by reversing our increasingly larger and larger homes and instead begin going tiny and mobile.

Imagine a house with no fixed address and the ability to live debt-free, with utility bills as low as $10 a month. It’s not just a dream it’s a reality in many countries around the world and it’s a movement about to become the new alternative to decades of mortgage repayments here in Australia as well.

As a property investor, opulent minimalist and futurist I thought I would put the trend to the test and build and live in a tiny house myself as a form of an experiment and to get a feel for it’s validity as an option for tackling housing unaffordability here in Oz.

Why go tiny?

·      freedom from debt

·      moveable location and travel

·      minimal environmental impact

·      the opportunity to live simply and consume less.

For me it’s not about cramming my old life into a smaller space. It’s become a quest for life, expansion and freedom and been more about redesigning my life based around my values and a vision.

My experiment – initially for around 6-12 months, is rethinking living and trialling a way for people to see a new way to consume less as well as ponder how we as humans relate to the rest of the planet as many indigenous cultures have done for centuries before us.

“Tiny living opens up a way for me to radically rethink the way I live, the way I consume, the way I work, and ultimately how our I relate to the land and mother nature." Heidi Alexandra Joy

I can’t wait to explore this wide brown land on wheels, house in tow. Follow my journey at The_Joy_Box on Instagram and Facebook.

My hope upon returning is that I will have a case for this becoming a business or social enterprise opportunity to help mum and dad home owners buy an investment that will earn an income and in doing so provide affordable housing for someone in need and pay off their own motgage sooner. A win win as it should lessen tennant and mortagage distress.

Source http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf

Leaders are your people paying the personal price of working for you

Heidi Pollard - Saturday, December 30, 2017

I believe the fish rots from the head.

I believe profit is hoarding.

I believe people join a company and leave because they don't feel valued and seen as a unique human.

I believe culture change must start at the top.

Spend time in any workplace like I do as a company culture architect and you start to see some patterns emerging. Patterns like hidden codes, unspoken ground rules and culture drags. These patterns though they may seem small in isolation create a cultural legacy that overtime can see the downturn of departments and whole companies. Ignore them and perish!

I get it. As a leader, manager, supervisor or HR specialist your job is to create a high performance culture that is also a great place to work.

You've done all the employee engagement surveys, had tool box talks, sent people off to training and retreats, hired coaches, deployed team software and given bonuses and rewards, yet your culture still ain't so hot. What's with that?

What if I told you that the hidden codes, unspoken ground rules and culture drags unless addressed would kill your chances of ever building a rock star culture? It's true. The drainers like politics and backstabbing, drama addiction, staff turnover, and lack of procedures all have the same source - and I hate to break it to you. It's likely to be you!

You see you can't really change your workplace culture and build a high performance team until you change the focus from being on making the owner and the company richer to making the lilves of your people enriched.

If this is not your current modus operandi then I can guarantee you - either now or later your humans will be paying a very personal price. Their disengagement, presenteeism, late for work, late for meetings, lack of accountability behaviour is psychosomatic. There's a bigger issue going on here.

To change your culture, and change it for good, you as the CEO, owner, manager or leader must be willing to be vulnerable, to have raw and real conversations and to get help from the outside.

Ultimately you have to #startwithU.

With your open mind, generous heart and help from others you can make people management a driver of growth instead of an obstacle.

In my experience and in all the culture change, brand improvement and leadership development programs I have seen that without full buy-in from the top (and I mean all players and yes that means you too CEO) then all attempts to change will be hampered, held back and hindered. The culture and tone is set at the top and then is embraced or rejected by the individual humans within the organisation.

Leadership is not about managing widgets and reading the balance sheet, it's about personal growth, your growth. I know what you're thinking...

"No one sets out to be asshole leader." 

But do you know how to be a great leader that others want to follow?

Maybe you were a high performer, a gun at your craft, a super star operator and it got you this far. Great. And now you're a leader and that means you're now responsible for bringing out the best in others. Now that's a challenge. Unless you've invested heavily in coaching training, taken oodles of personal development courses, sat on the mountain in Tibet and attended a silence retreat in an ashram, chances are you are not quite sure how to go about helping your people grow.

Great leadership and empowerment begin with your open mind and heart. First you have to discover your Unique Power and use it and then you have to discover your employees Unique Power too. Personal growth is not only good for you as a human but its also good for the business and the brand.

What's the Take Away?

My advice. Get to work on yourself and then get to work on your people. You don’t have time not to develop your people.

Then, take a look at your culture - does your fish head stink? Are you suffering from too many M&Ms (managers and meetings)? Are you treating people as Human Resources rather than human beings?

What experiences of cultures, the good, bad and ugly have you had? Have you seen any culture change programs try and fail? If so what contributed to the failure? I’d love to know – share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Want more? Check out these related articles:

Dumb 'Brules' That Make Everyone Bananas

Are Micro-Managers Sucking the Life Out Of Your People?

Why We Need More Cultures Like Zappos

Being UP yourself is a competitive advantage

Heidi Pollard - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What if the solution to your career success was being more UP Yourself?

What if a confidence crisis could be holding you back from sharing your unique power with the world?

My homeland Australia, is also undergoing an identity crisis. As a nation we are playing safe. We are being bland, safe and ordinary. We are so politically correct, overly regulated and protective that we are completely straight jacketed.

We're so afraid of saying the wrong thing, concerned about what other people think of us and craving being liked and collecting "likes" that we're down for the count.

What happened to the real Aussies? Brave, pioneering Aussies.

What happened to the real you? Brave, unique you.

You know the raw and real one, the one that is happy to be honest and authentic, to be great or even bloody brilliant.

According to research by Dale Carnegie over 71% of employees are not engaged at work. Are you one of them? Are you engaged in your career and life? Are you UP enough?

There is no amount of courses, programs and things you can do to be more UP yourself. You simply have to #startwithU. It is an inside out game.

And yet so many of us are afraid to speak UP, step UP and show UP.

Why is that? One reason is power imbalance. When we give away our power to others we create dynamics in which we feel ‘below’ them feel and are helpless to do anything in case we jeopardise our career or situation. We may also think:

·      If I speak up, I will be judged.

·      If I speak up, others will think less of me.

·      If I speak up, it will be a career limiting move.

·      If I speak up, I might suffer from foot in mouth or say things I will regret.

What we need to do then is turn inward, to find our voice, embrace our personal agency and to take our future in our own hands.

The future for many looks ferocious. When futurists tell us that by 2030 around 500,000 jobs in Australia will be replaced by AI, robots and offshored, we get scared.

They say that in the not-so-distant future, millions of workers will have different jobs than they have today. What those jobs will be exactly, is still very much up for debate.

Within the next 15 years it is predicted that nearly 15 per cent of the global workforce may need to switch jobs, according to a new report released today by the McKinsey Global Institute. By 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers will change occupation categories while another 400 to 800 million could be displaced by automation and required to find new jobs entirely. Meanwhile, all workers will need to adapt and heighten their skills to keep up with advances in technology.

My question to you then is, will you have the necessary skills to transition into this new world? In both developing and advanced economies, working in unpredictable, volatile environments and doing jobs that require human interaction will become more in-demand.

In a recent article by McKinsey it was identified that workers of the future will spend more time on activities that machines are less capable of, such as managing people, applying expertise, and communicating with others. They will spend less time on predictable physical activities and on collecting and processing data, where machines already exceed human performance. The skills and capabilities required will also shift, requiring more social and emotional skills and more advanced cognitive capabilities, such as logical reasoning and creativity.

What does this translate into for you? You will need to be prepared for a rapidly evolving future of work. You need to be confident, calm, adaptable and centred. You need to be UP Yourself. Acquiring new skills, trusting yourself, your intuition and having courage and conviction that you are enough will be critical for their own well-being. This is a new era, an era where you need to discover and use your Unique Power – you need to be more UP yourself.  


Want to be more UP Yourself?

Stay tuned in 2018 for the release of my latest book UP Your Self. Until then you can subscribe to my daily UPtimism are brief notes shared via electronic newsletter (how quaint) and social media written by the big U for the little U to help you become more UPtimistic and more UP Yourself.

Subscribe to receive these daily (mostly don't hold me to it!) notes, quotes and jokes by email here http://www.uqpower.com.au/daily-uptimism

#UPtimism #DailyUPtimism #UPyourself #startwithU #motivation #quotes #herestolookingup #mindfulness #meditation #newworldofwork

Top 5 Podcasts

Heidi Pollard - Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Top 5 Podcasts I'm Listening
To Right Now

Video was certainly the mainstay of the internet over the past few years but I believe the future lies in audio. Time is our most precious currency in this fast paced, attention saturated world and so tuning into podcasts while on a run, on the treadmill, washing the dishes, working or commuting is becoming more popular. Our own podcast here at UQ Power called The Theatre of U is one of the most fun parts of my job as is tuning into other great shows like the 5 I've shared below for your listening pleasure. Enjoy! 

1. Stand Out Life with Ali Hill

Stand Out Life is a podcast dedicated to living boldly amongst the busyness; finding those little moments of magic amongst the mess. Podcast host Ali has a lovely conversational tone and interviews a host of influential women who are living a life of purpose - some of my favourite episodes include Matina Jewell and Emma Booth.  

2. School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

I first met Lewis Howes in 2011 in Dallas, Texas when he had just started out on his entrepreneurial journey after a career-ending injury ended his professional football career. Charismatic and hungry, Lewis was keen to learn from coaches and mentors and has built a solid online business and is now an author, speaker, and podcast host. My favourite episodes would have to be Gabby Bernstein and Dan Millman.

3. Super Soul Sundays with Oprah Winfrey

Oprah's popular show has now hit the air waves as a podcast with a bank of original video interviews cut down to a 20 minute format on podcast it's a chance to listen to some amazing guests share their insight and wisdom. My favourites so far include Shirley Maclaine and Paulo Coelho.

4. The GaryVee Audio Experience

Love him or loathe him, Gary's punchy delivery, constant babble and opinionated predictions are worth a tune in once in a while for the latest trends on all things social media and trading in the new currency - attention.

5. Futureproofing with Kelsey Ramsden

Imagine being future proof. Kelsey Ramsden, award winning entrepreneur, has candid conversations with experts (well known and little known which is why I love it - it's very candid like our own Theatre of U) about how to remain relevant and avoid obsolescence! For all you budding futurists it's worth a listen. 

Human Power Versus Forced Power

Heidi Pollard - Friday, August 18, 2017

Strategic Planning Research

Heidi Pollard - Saturday, May 13, 2017

The results are in!

Click here to download what we found in our 2017 Strategic Planning Survey.

Ten Things Successful People Do to Become Experts

Heidi Pollard - Wednesday, April 05, 2017

As a brand and culture strategist who helps individuals and brands define their unique position in the market, I meet many business owners, entrepreneurs and thought leaders who want to position themselves as Brand U experts.

Not only do they want to be known as key influencers in their field, they want to leverage and build a reputation so clients and business finds them, so media ask them for their opinion rather than them having to sell, sell.

I just read an article by Lolly Daskal from Lead From Within and it aligns so closely with the advice I give my clients that thought I would share a part of it here and add my personal commentary (my personal thoughts are included in italics). Thanks @LollyDaskal for the great resource!

Here are 10 simple strategies that can help you raise your profile and help you find the people who need your expertise (plus commentary from me):

1. Identify your skill.

When you know your skills and capabilities, it is easier to position yourself as an expert. What are your skills, experience, and knowledge?

(I recommend the Gallup Clifton Strengths Finder, you can also explore DISC, PCSI, Myers Briggs but my personal preference is the Strengths Finder - if you need help undertaking this contact us!)

2. Find your voice.

Create a website, define a target audience, and begin speaking from your experience. Let people find out what you know and what you stand for. Having a voice builds your authority and allows others to find you online.

(If you don’t have a website yet use a blog or LinkedIn articles like this to state your position).

3. Maintain your credibility.

Define what you know and draw a line. With your reputation at stake, this is not a time to practice "fake it till you make it." As you progress, remember that what is most important is to maintain your credibility and your reputation.

(Everything you say and do must be on brand to maintain this. Everything, especially online - post consciously. Expand your skills of course but don't bulls@#t about what you can and can't do).

4. Network generously.

The real currency of networking is not about getting; it is about giving. It is about being generous with those you meet and sharing what you have to offer. Networking is what will get you introduced; generosity is what will make a connection.

(My motto is always Give, Give, Give. Follow up – send a referral, an article a resource that will help them, and of course connect on LinkedIn).

5. Speak up everywhere you go. 

A great way to be acknowledged as an expert is to apply to a conference and get booked to speak. Speaking engagements are a great way to reach your audience and build your credibility. Find professional associations or company boards or town hall meetings. Are there classes you can teach, either in a noncredit program or a traditional academic program? When people start calling you to speak about your what you know, you have become an expert.

(Speaking is one of the best positioning tools – speak and you are perceived as the expert. To expand my speaking in 2016 I gave away 20 speaking gigs for free in the month of May, it got me focused, got me seen and helped me hone my craft).

6. Develop a blog.

Blogging provides you with a potential worldwide audience, and showcases your subject-matter expertise as well as your abilities as a writer. The key to writing a successful blog post is to keep the information useful and highly relevant, and to put out value articles frequently. Remember, you want people to see you as a resource, so provide the best information possible.

(See #2 - also keep track of what people like to read and the information they comment on, like or share - my two most popular blog post to date show people are having trouble with their bosses and leaders. Check them out here:  1 - How poor leaders are killing us and 2 - How to tell your manager they suck)

7. Become the source.

Journalists and writers are always looking for experts that they can quote in their articles. You can connect with these professionals with websites like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) or The Expert Connection (ProfNet); these sites can connect an expert with their audience.

(We have SourceBottle here in Australia. Also you can write opinion pieces for the journals etc that are in your clients field).

8. Produce something.

Produce your own informational pieces such as books, e-books, or monthly newsletters. You can also create learning platforms with webinars, podcasts, or online videos to promote your services. You can then feature these products on your website or blog, or give them away when people enquire about your products.

(Yes yes yes this is why I recommend many of my clients write a book or a white paper. You can check out my quirky book - it's only a plane ride read - here!)

9. Make use of social networking. 

Social platforms are important to getting your expertise out. Be active on all social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

(Use your expertise to add value, especially related to your keyword or key point of expertise whenever you can).

10. Help others along the way. 

You can also develop your reputation as an expert by using your knowledge and expertise to help others. Signing on to skill share is a great way to become acknowledged as an expert in your field.

(Connect, engage, and assist as many people as you can - even here on LinkedIn - that is how your influence will grow. Before you know it people will be asking for your experience because they know, like and trust you. My measure of if you are beginning to become a brand U expert is are you being asked to have coffees often because people want to "pick your brain").

Branson Vs Obama who dares wins

Heidi Pollard - Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Sir Richard Branson - aka Dr Yes - has been at his antics again!

This time the tie loathing adventurer and thrill seeker challenged Barack Obama to a kitesurfing v foil boarding competition around Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.

Not only do the photos (full credit to @hijack Jack Brockway for the awesome pics) and video Sir Richard  shared on social media depict a good dose of humour but they also show a relaxed and carefree former president lapping up the sun, surf and social life.

There are so many lessons we can take away from watching two world leaders at play.

As I talk about in my video Lessons From Necker Island I learnt so much about life and business from Sir Richard especially how much you can get done and the connections you can make when you are having fun and letting go. How wonderful to see Sir Richard invite Barack and Michelle down to his private island Moskito (across the channel from Necker Island) for a complete break after Barack finished as President and left the white house.

For eight years while in office Barack didn't get to surf, enjoy water sports or do any of the things he loved so it is wonderful to see him living in the moment, carefree and enjoying the water once again.

Sir Richard challenged Barack to learn to kitesurf before he could learn to foil board - on the final day they had a challenge - who could stay standing the longest - check out Branson's latest post to find out who dared and won in the end!

In this start of 2017 with my goal of it being the year of the JOYful Unicorn I look forward to continuing to incorporate fun, play and friendship into my world and business. What can you takeaway from watching two world leaders at play?

New Year Ritual: Begin With Gratitude

Heidi Pollard - Sunday, January 01, 2017


Are you over 2016 already but not sure how to make sure 2017 is your best year yet? I have just one tip for you.

Begin with gratitude.

Gratitude is an immensely powerful force that can expand your happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve your health. Many scientific studies, including research by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, have found that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional well-being and physical health than those who don’t.

Sounds like a perfect way to start the new year eh?

No matter what happened in the past, today is a fresh new day and you have the power to completely change how your life plays out in 2017. Each year I undertake an annual ritual of reviewing my current year's ANNUAL GRATITUDE LETTER on New Year's Eve and reflecting on all I am grateful for. If you want to try this too then start with reflecting on all the people you are grateful in your life, the experiences and the growth and learning you've had as well as the missteps and mistakes.

I then start the new year on New Year's Day by penning my new year's letter of gratitude, putting out into the future all I want to feel, think, see and do. If you're keen to start the year of well and want to have a go at writing your own Gratitude Letter for 2017 then begin with asking yourself questions.

FIVE powerful questions
to focus your year

Each year when I sit down to pen my annual gratitude letter I start with my five questions - I hope they inspire you to think bigger and to bring about expansion in your life:

1. How do I want to feel?

2 - What learning and growth do I want to experience?

3. What do I want my relationships to be like?

4. How do I want to contribute?

5. What is my unique intelligence I can bring to life?

This year I decided on the keyword or phrase or theme for my year as the Year of the JOYful Unicorn. (Yep it's a little woo woo)

Read on to find out more, or not if you're ready to dive in and develop your own ;-)

Heidi Alexandra JOY's Annual Gratitude Letter for 2017 

Sharing is caring! (and it adds to your commitment)

Post your answers to the five powerful questions or your key word or theme for the year below – I'd would love to hear them!

Happy new year - may the joyful rainbow unicorn poop find it's way into your life in 2017 - go spread that sh#t all around!

"Tis the season for R&R

Heidi Pollard - Sunday, December 11, 2016

I was listening to a podcast today by Rob Bell and in it he talked about about how the invention of electricity changed our sleep patterns and awareness of natural rhythms of life.

It's so true isn't it? Rush, rush, rush. Chat, chat, chat. Type, type, type. Swipe, swipe, swipe. It's all we seem to do.

Have you been pushing too hard?

Have you been on the 24/7 treadmill?

Are you calibrated for how your life used to be and not ready for the next level?

Are you excited about starting a new season but haven't given yourself time and made space to let go and complete this phase?

I'm preparing to head into a new season in the lead up to the new year by giving myself permission and time to just be in the space that lies in between, to savour the empty days in my calendar, to soak in the bath and not do anything. I'm going to allow the dissolution of order and allow for a fluid, malleable situation to enable spontaneity, creativity and flow to re-emerge.

This liminal space between two phases can be extremely healing and restorative if you let it be so. Consider your life like the rise and fall of a sine wave, appreciate the seasons and ebb and flow of your life, career and relationships. Learn to go hard and then release. Like a slingshot pull back and then let go in order to shoot forward.

And if you're concerned about the future and what jobs, opportunities and skills are needed then watch this video and take stock over the break to consider "what's my next move?" Humans are needed to be more human more than ever. The future looks bright if you consider lifes phases as seasons and prepare yourself for what's next.

Above all else. Practice kindness. To yourself and others. Have no regrets and just be.

May you find peace and stillness this Season.

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Heidi Alexandra has been the source of much information strategy and innovation that has seen me push the boundaries on social media internally and improved my local and national profile and that of my firm tremendously. Jeremy Kennedy, Director, Australian Business Lawyers and Associates
I would recommend UQ Power to anyone that is seeking support, guidance and growth in their business. Catherine Miller, Human Resources Manager, Allightsykes