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Ten Things Successful People Do to Become Experts

Alexandria Joy - 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").

Are micro managers sucking the life out of your people?

Alexandria Joy - Sunday, June 12, 2016

You know the kind.

The ones who invoke the sound of Dracula entering the shot in your head when they walk into the office. The Micro Manager. The energy zapper. The whingy, whiny, shouting, finger pointing painful manager. 

I call them Container Managers. 

Container Managers are basically the managers who find it hard to let go of the reins, to trust their team and get out of the way.

Container Managers are typically good at doing what has to be done. They are good at dealing with facts and not letting their emotions or other people’s emotions get in the way of making a decision.

Container Managers are great at developing procedures, implementing plans, and believe that no-one can do the job as good as they can.

Container Managers have a tendency to hold onto decision-making and undertake jobs that could be delegated which is not conducive to the creation of an effective culture and rather than creating a high performance team it is very probable that they are sucking the life out of your people.

Container managers are typically responsible for the bottleneck in organizations, where innovation is stymied and ideas are shelved. True they may be producing revenue and results in the short term however they rarely create a leadership pipeline, are reliant on the command and control approach and can ill-afford time off as their teams become co-dependent.

Container Managers approach may have worked in 1965 but it will not allow a company to survive in 2020.

The New Leadership Alternative

The best way for an organizations to begin to shape and construct a more positive and productive future culture is to start with its managers and leaders as well as with those in linchpin positions – in middle management.

In their book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown discuss how great leaders extract at least two times more capability from their people than poor leaders.

Expander Leaders build great, sustainable, positive cultures.

Expander Leaders live by the motto that you have to give power to empower.

Expander Leaders value inclusiveness and participation, they hand over the decision-making process, and let their employees govern themselves.

Expander Leaders deal with the facts, but also consider how it impacts people emotionally. They listen to their employees, realize their strengths, tap into their potential, and include them in the growth of business.

Expander Leaders understand the power of emotions and non-verbal communication. They create healthy relationships, a caring and trusting environment which brings out best in their team.

Expander Leaders appreciate others, engage in purposeful conversations and help their people to find work they love to do.

Expander Leaders create driven, loyal employees who are engaged and energized, who want to make a valuable contribution to the organization and go the extra mile.

If you want to read more about creating a culture that works with more expanders than containers read my article here.

Which leaders are you creating in your company culture? #startwithU


The Best Leaders Embrace Imperfection

Alexandria Joy - Friday, January 16, 2015


I have a dream.

I imagine a world where everyone has an opportunity to love their work and do their best work using their unique strengths every day.

Sadly many modern workplaces with their rigid policies, procedures, measures, position descriptions and obsessive overwork cultures are doing little to encourage individuals to embrace their uniqueness and quirky ways.

In my experience the most important people in organisations are not the executives at the top but the team leaders and middle managers as they are the catalyst for every success or failure a company has. Everything from communication, innovation, and change to productivity and growth, flows through the team leader or line manager.

We all know the old saying that people join a company but leave their manager and through my work I speak to lots of leaders, supervisors and line managers and they all say they want to build a great team culture – but they don’t always know how or where to start.

One of the first steps in becoming a great Expander Leader is to stop beating your self and your people up for not being perfect.

Perfectionism is not healthy striving. When we aim for perfection we focus on the negative, on what’s not working and what we are lacking.

Perfectionism is crippling. It’s the vice of a Container Manager. It comes from a place of low self-worth, of controlling, insecurity and devilish detail.

Imperfection is freeing. It’s the joy of being an Expander Leader. It comes from a place of growth and expansion, of delighting in possibilities and being comfortable with emotions and being authentic.

Think of the bristle of a paintbrush left stranded in a painting. The uneven glaze of a Japanese ceramic cup. The delightful quirkiness of a homemade go-cart.

Perfection comes out of moulds or off assembly lines.

Things made by nature or by hand, like us are imperfect. It’s the little things that make us unique and unlike any one else that allow us love our work and give our best performance every day.

The same is true for leaders, companies and workplace cultures too. There is no one perfect way to build a great culture or team or business. There is no best structure, framework or performance management system.

What makes Expander Leaders great is that they:

  • Are not the strongest, they are the ones who are honest about their weaknesses
  • Are not the smartest; they are the ones who admit how much they don't know.
  • Are the ones who can't do it all; they are the ones who look to others to help them.
  • Are the ones who don't try to be perfect, they try to be themselves.

If you are a manager, supervisor or team leader what's one thing you can do to celebrate the UQ (Uniqueness Quotient) in your people? Remember to #StartwithU

Now it’s your turn. Tell me, where has perfection held you back from progressing from doing your best work?

I'd love to know. Share your thoughts in the comments below.


How Our Workplaces Are Making Us Sick

Alexandria Joy - Friday, December 26, 2014
It was during working on a campaign while I was Director at WorkCover that I had an epiphany that would stay with me into all my future work and businesses.

We ran a marketing campaign called “Homecomings” with the help of creative agency Shannon’s Way – it was all about the need for workers to come home safe from work every day to their family, friends and loved ones. The taglines for the campaign included:
“Your reason for workplace safety is not at work at all.”
“Work safe. Home safe.”


These taglines really struck a chord with our market research test audiences as well as our staff before we even launched the campaign. What really hit home for me how much we entrust the lives of our loved ones into the hands of their employers every day they go to work. The campaign footage showed a young boy waiting for his father to come home, two teenagers who barely acknowledge their dad but their dog getting excited to see him and other various 'coming home' scenes.

My powerful epiphany was how every worker in every workplace is someone’s son or daughter, someone’s mother or father, brother, sister, husband or wife, partner or best friend. Here in Western society we all believe that it’s our fundamental right to work in a safe and healthy workplace and that each day we should be able to go home from work as healthy – both physically and psychologically - as we did when we left in the morning.

Which means the leaders of every company and team are trusted to act like a pseudo parent in their employees extended work family. I believe it is imperative that leaders come from a place of love and genuine care about the wellbeing of the precious lives under their care and supervision, and not just because of some legislation. Those who take up this duty and choose to serve their workers as an extended family, not hired labour or resources to be used, will create stable innovative, high performing, loyal teams over the long term. Sadly few managers and leaders take it this seriously, or have really considered the entrusted role they hold.

What we need therefore, is to build more organisations that prioritise the physical, social, emotional and psychological wellbeing of their workers so we can build happy and healthy families and communities.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to become Expander Leaders, advancing our organisations to create more leaders who in turn grow, flourish and are more likely to serve and become Expander Leaders themselves.

Sadly, during the past few years of downturn and financial crisis and economic instability, a container management style has become more prevalent and it has brought cultures of fear, isolation, blame, threats and stress. As people contract, retract and retreat, they also resort to bullying, harassment, backstabbing and competition, rather than collaboration and cooperation.

Figures from WorkCover NSW between 2000 and 2014 show a marked increase in the number of bullying and harassment workers compensation cases. In 2012/13 the majority of occupational disease claims in NSW alone were mental health diseases accounting for 2235 claims. These mental diseases included such things as clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Although “stress” itself is not a compensable condition, it is one of the many possible factors that may contribute to the contraction or aggravation o a compensable psychological condition. These mental health claims account for 34 per cent of al occupational disease claims and the total gross incurred cost was $49 million with an average cost of around $22,000 per claim. Plus the total time lost as a result of mental disease claims was 39,609 weeks with an average of 18 weeks per claim.

Anxiety/ stress disorder and anxiety/depression claims accounted for 59% of all claims. Industries where mental disease claims accounted for more than 50% of their occupational disease claims were education and training, public administration and safety, accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance – all industries that should be focused on care, love and service! Occupations which accounted for these claims included protective service workers, education professionals, carers and aides, human resources and marketing professionals, health professionals and health and welfare support workers.

This data is from just one state in Australia over the period of one year only! Our workplaces are indeed making us sick and our leaders must take their responsibility to create a positive, healthy culture seriously.

What are we doing wrong?

The raw truth is that an organisations’ success is based on leadership excellence not management acumen. Many organisations give lip service to the concept of their people being their most important resource. What is needed are more Expander Leaders who truly see their people for the unique individuals they are and truly care about those entrusted to their care.

When we become the architects of our company cultures rather than passive participants, we can create workplaces where people are grateful for the opportunity to volunteer their best work every day. To create this takes a series of small, incremental changes and conscious moves, not a single pill.

I believe that when we consciously, deliberately and intentionally choose to design our workplace cultures using the principles of Expander Leadership, love and recognising the UQ (unique strengths) in every individual we unleash human potential. I invite you to join the movement and #startwithU.

If you're ready to #startwithU and want more information on how to lead during a downturn, watch my videohttp://www.uqpower.com.au/_blog/uqtv/post/four-steps-to-leading-during-a-downturn/

How Poor Leaders Are Killing Us

Alexandria Joy - Friday, November 28, 2014
"Our jobs are killing us and the people who are responsible are our leaders."


I recently heard Simon Sinek say this in a YouTube video and it really struck a chord. How did you feel when you read that? Harsh reality? Don't believe me? Or perhaps you have had an experience yourself or heard someone say "my boss is busting my balls" or "my manager is killing me!"

These might be throw away comments around the water cooler but sadly they are a reflection of reality. 
In my view and experience leadership is not a rank or position – it is a choice. It is a choice to be of service and support others. Since first reading Robert Greenleaf's powerful book The Servant Leader when writing my thesis paper for my master's degree in my late 20's, to working for the General Manager of a large teaching hospital with 3,000 staff who clearly cared about his staff and how they cared for their patients, I began the journey of studying servant leaders.

Some of the most powerful lessons I learnt came from working in toxic environments where there was a clear container manager culture of restrictive, measured and fear based decisions that created a dog eat dog, dobber mentality amongst staff. Here I saw how even one container manager at the top could have a negative impact on people's self-esteem, health, wellbeing and relationships both at work and at home.

Almost as bad as the container manager was the disinterested manager where I witnessed people shrivel and lose their spark as they became undervalued and invisible.

And the research proves working for these poor leaders is a problem for individual employees as well as for the organisation. Studies from Europe and the US are showing that when people say “my boss is killing me”, quite literally this could be the case - around 25% of people who have worked for a poor manager for a short period of time and 38% of the people who have worked for a poor manager for a longer period of time are more likely to have a stroke or heart disease later in life as a product of working with them.

Biologically working with a manager who makes us feel paranoid and anxious and unsafe creates too much cortisol in our body which compromises our immune system, will make us self-interested and stressed, and makes us less empathic and considerate of others.

In addition, being ignored by a manager results in a 4 in 10 chance you’ll be actively disengaged in your job on a daily basis. If your manager tells you what you’re doing wrong – there’s a 2 in 10 chance you’ll be actively disengaged at work.

On the other hand if you are fortunate to work for an expander leader who focuses primarily on your strengths – there’s only a slim 1 in 10 chance that you’ll be disengaged at work.

So what is it that expander leaders do differently to poor leaders or container manager? Expander or servant leaders:
  • create more leaders – they are of service
  • see possibility in every individual employee and seek to find the Uniqueness (I call it the UQ) in every single person
  • are more likely to sacrifice self for the good of the many and the organisation
  • take care to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.
  • focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.
  • give control, not take control.
Of the company's I've studied over the past two decades, those with an expander leader driven culture experience:
  • less staff turnover
  • less OHS issues, disputes and claims
  • increased productivity
  • increased profit
  • increased stakeholder and employee engagement.
Creating a positive, productive and mentally healthy workplace culture is one of the important issues businesses face today. A recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report identified that ignoring it costs Australian businesses around $10.9 billion a year in lost productivity. And with stress, anxiety and poor mental health likely to affect one in five employees, by taking action the benefits can be profound.

The benefits are clear. Business leaders need to make a long-term commitment to a creating positive, mentally healthy workplace, not killing their people. By taking the initiative, you'll not only make your company a better place to work where people feel respected as unique individuals, you can help make it more productive and profitable. And that's just good business.

Want to change the world? Become an Expander Leader and #StartwithU
If you're sick and tired of working for a container manager and are at your wit's end you might like to watch my video "How to tell your boss they suck".

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