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Everybody uses the “F” bomb. It’s a word that we attach so much negative emotion to – ego, pride, fear. Too many people connect their self-worth to the word – failure.
Failure is not an end point
If scientists saw their first attempts at creating cures for disease as a failure, we would not have any known cures in the world. If you think about it, we would be living a VERY simple, primitive lifestyle if everyone throughout history saw their mistakes as an end point – a time to give up on curiosity and discovery.
Replace “failure” with “lesson”
When an infant learns to walk, she has to find her centre of gravity by trial and error. She will wobble and stumble and fall for some time before she walks on her own two feet without support. When she leans to the left too much, she learns that it will tip her sideways. When she leans too far forward, she learns that she’ll tumble to the ground.
People who have all four quarters of their UQ Power House in balance, in particular their IQ quadrant, understand that failures provide lessons by a process of elimination.
When you’re mentally strong, you know: what not to do, what chemical compound doesn’t belong in the cure, leaning to the left will make you stumble, and what success doesn’t look like. So you try again with a more informed foundation of knowledge.
The saying “Success never comes without failure” should really say “Success never comes without a lesson to be learnt”.
A leader with a strong IQ also knows when it’s time to call it quits. The difference with this leader is that he takes with him is a better idea of how he can succeed.
A recent Forbes article that went viral with popularity also pointed out that mentally strong people know when it’s time to move on.
“We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.”
The end of year is a great time to reflect. Today, power up your IQ quadrant by contemplating all the wonderful lessons you’ve learned throughout the year.
Please share with us below how your past “failures” have helped to move you closer to your goals (because that’s exactly what they do!).
Have you ever covered for someone at work? Have you exaggerated (even just a little) on your resume, in a job interview, or in a business performance report? Have you told a white lie to avoid messy consequences, like hurting someone’s feelings? You have haven’t you? Go on – admit it!
If The White Lie Isn’t “Hurting” Anybody Is It OK To Tell Tiny Tales?
Think back to a burger television advertisement (I’m sure we’re thinking of the same brand right now). The people eating the burgers use two hands to hold it. Their thumb and fingers are stretched out to form a wide open C shape. You can see all the ingredients stacked heartily between the buns; it forms a tempting tower tall enough to need the jaw flexibility of a Boa Constrictor.
Then, when you buy that same burger, you feel just as deflated as it looks. It’s flat, you need to separate the buns to see what’s between it, and you can hold it comfortably with one hand. You still feel hungry and a little ripped off.
The advertisers were clever enough to showcase the value that you get when you buy the burger as well as the satisfying sensation of eating it. But, because it wasn’t congruent with reality, with what they actually delivered, you felt betrayed.
If you want to build a powerful brand that people love, feel a sense of loyalty to, and help to spread the word about your offerings, you need to be completely truthful about the value and benefits.
So, the answer is – it’s not OK to lie in business. (Even if some of the BIG brands do it).
When You Tell White Lies In Business, You Create A False Reality
Rebekah Campbell from Posse.com explains how any form of lying in business can hurt your success and longevity:
“… the #1 reason why entrepreneurs fail. Not because telling lies makes you a bad person, but because the act of lying takes you out of the present moment and prevents you from facing the truth about your business. Every time you exaggerate a metric, under-report a cost, or are less than transparent with your team, you create a false reality, and start living in it."
Sweeping a problem under the rug, and covering it up with fibs, stops you from improving, growing, and reaching your full potential. If your people think everything is bubbling along “OK”, they will continue doing what they’re doing and the problem will start to make its way out from under the rug.
If you tend to exaggerate outcomes or benefits (like the example above), you may get what you want in the short term, but you’ll constantly struggle to meet expectations in the long run.
Tell The Whole Truth
Shining the light on your not-so-perfect parts means that you’ll be more likely to face them, overcome them, and grow and improve as a result of learning from that experience. Yes, it may put you in a vulnerable position, but people will connect with you more on a personal level. They’ll trust you completely and feel more compelled to join your movement and help you in your plight. When you’re open about the holes in your business and talk about them, you’ll be surprised at how many people will then offer advice or assistance to help you patch them up.
If it’s raving fans you want, you need to deliver (even over deliver) on your promise. If you promise big towering burgers, deliver it. Apple promises seamless functionality, innovation, and prestige. They certainly deliver on that and that’s why their fans line up for hours for each new product release.
On a personal level, telling the whole truth leaves you feeling more peaceful. Creating an authentic, unique brand is about staying true to who you are – warts and all.
There is a clear link between customer engagement and a company’s bottom line. Organisations that engage with their customers and stakeholders are constantly in contact with them, whether it’s via social media, advertising, or post sales contact. But it’s not just the frequency of the contact that is important – stakeholders have to believe that the organisation genuinely wants to know what they think and that its leaders will act on what has been said.
Communities are becoming increasingly demanding in their need for officials to engage in meaningful dialogue; they want their needs understood; they want local representation in the planning process. Businesses must engage local communities much more intimately to gain trust and increase buy-in.
In order for organisation leaders to deliver a genuine engagement experience they must know how to ignite people’s thought processes, have empathy for others, and communicate in a way that can influence others.
Benefits of Customer Engagement
Trust – Organisations that build up a relationship with a customer through engagement, build up a level of trust. By being open and accessible, customers learn they can rely on your brand for a certain level of service or quality of product.
Better communication – Strong engagement is all about communication. Listening to customer feedback, acting on it, delivering on promises, and then sharing that with the wider public helps to show that your organisation understands its customers and is prepared to work with them to deliver a better product or service.
Tap into customer knowledge – Customer engagement can be a real-time source of market research. By asking the right questions and listening to customers’ feedback you will learn valuable lessons about your products and services from the perspective of the customer. You then have the opportunity to fix issues before they have a chance to spiral out of control.
Loyalty- A recent survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey found 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from or recommend a brand they follow. Give a customer great service and they might come back. Combine that great service with engaging follow up to show you really appreciate their business and you’ll create loyal customers.
Know Your UQ Factor and Engage Stakeholders to Build Trust
Organisations with a strong sense of their UQ Factor understand their community’s perceptions and are engaged in open, two-way dialogue.
Our UQ Factor Stakeholder Influence Program can assist leaders to unlock their UQ Factor and become persuasive communicators who can deliver powerful messages to gain customer and stakeholder buy-in.
"Getting that constant feedback from customers is the only way you can learn and continue to become better at what you do." Lorna Jane Clarkson, Founder and Chief Creative Director, Lorna Jane.
Are you that person who drags themselves out of bed and sniffles and coughs their way through the day just so you can be seen to be putting in the hours? As a leader, are you fostering a culture that values work output over the health of your staff?
All too often the culture of a workplace is all about putting your head down and working hard. A culture that overlooks employee health can have staggering effects on business output.
Employee health can impact your business bottom line
The number one health issue in Australian workplaces is stress, the second is workplace safety and the third is depression and anxiety.
Research published by the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry found that presenteeism (when employees continue turning up for work but their productivity and effectiveness is reduced due to illness) is eating away at company profits and costs Australian businesses almost $6 billion in lost productivity each year.
Isn’t it time we changed our workplace culture and started to value the health of our employees as much as we value profit and productivity?
Create a culture of workplace wellness
Think about how you feel when you have a cold. You brain is muddled and stuffy, and you are sniffling and sneezing (which doesn’t exactly project a professional image) so it’s no wonder that everyday tasks seem more taxing than usual. No one does their best work when they’re sick.
Unhealthy high-pressure cultures are detrimental to workplace wellness and leave employees feeling stressed. Stress can manifest itself in a number of ways, most of which can lead to employees needing extra time off work, reduced productivity, low morale, and high staff turnover.
Build a “healthy” workplace culture and encourage staff to maintain a reasonable work/life balance. How do you build a healthy workplace culture? Here are a just a few ideas:
To truly let your company’s UQ Power shine through, your employees need to be in tip top physical shape. If they’re not feeling fully in tune, how can you expect them to perform at their best? As Buddha said:
Every business has a higher purpose, no matter of the industry in which it operates. A part of what makes an organisation unique is how it contributes to the lives of its people, the broader the community, and the rest of the world.
Sadly, many companies have a fuzzy view of how their business contributes to the greater good or lose sight of how their organisational “mission” fits in with what they do.
Why is this even important? Firstly, organisations that live and breathe their values retain engaged and satisfied employees who feel a sense of social responsibility and contribution. Employees have high morale and value how their efforts at work contribute to the greater good of society.
Understanding how your organisation makes a difference within the community will help you to hone your mission and purpose, not to mention give you and your staff extra motivation to succeed. On an organisational level, it will contribute to a healthy workforce culture.
Tara Powers, a group program expert, explains that the results of a healthy organisational culture outside of the workplace can be tremendous.
“Happier families, increased volunteerism and sense of community, continuous learning, less stress, more active adults, less disease, stronger family relationships, less divorce. The list goes on and on.”
On a greater, global level your organisation can live its UQ Power and demonstrate its values through philanthropic activities. You can contribute resources, knowledge, or funding to communities, scientific research, or causes that help people, animals, or the environment from anywhere across the globe.
The trick though is not to force it for the sake of “donating” or “contributing”. John Mackey said: “Business social responsibility should not be coerced; it is a voluntary decision that the entrepreneurial leadership of every company must make on its own.” Efforts otherwise may come across as mere marketing tactics rather than an act of living a company’s values and UQ Power.
Whether you’re in fast food, retail, heavy industry, government, or any type of business, here are some questions to ask yourself to help you understand how you may already be fulfilling community and social responsibilities:
Leverage your UQ Power by understanding how your business contributes to the greater good – whatever that may be.
PS - Others may learn from your experience - please share below what you do to serve the greater good.
Did you know that over half of global business workers have been experiencing a rise in workplace stress over the past few years? A study of trends in workplace stress across the globe by Regus called "Stress out" found:
Every business has a culture – some are inspiring and healthy, others are crippling and toxic. The level of an organisation’s efficiency and wellness is a direct reflection of its culture.
Workplace wellness isn’t just a factor of the employees fitness or BMI ratings, it is particularly characterised by how motivated, inspired and engaged the workforce are to do great work. Key indicators of healthy workplaces are having a shared vision, open leaders with emotional intelligence, a presence of creativity and innovation and an energy of action.
Unhealthy cultures tend to devalue creativity, stifle innovation and leave their workers feeling frustrated, stuck in the rut of the daily grind and stressed by the demands of productivity they no longer have the energy to face. The result, major disengagement that sucks the life out of the organisation, its people and its results.
The good news is, it is possible to convert low-engagement teams and cultures into fully engaged, high-performance UQ Cultures with the right strategy and a slight shift focus. You can begin to build a UQ Culture by:
At the end of the day as Peter Drucker said “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Until 30 June 2013, UQ Power are conducting 'house calls' to help you take the pulse of your team or company and see how healthy your workplace culture is. These UQ Culture Pulse Checks are only $497 and are a great way to boost your team engagement.
Ready to jump right in? Book in or find out more about how a UQ Pulse Check could help your team and culture here.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln
The decision-making process is one of the most effective ways to keep your staff engaged and contribute to building a unique and powerful workforce culture.
People who believe they have played a significant part in solving a problem or developing an idea feel empowered. They feel valued and motivated to rise to any challenge.
Unfortunately, most organisations don’t encourage involvement in these processes. They recruit leaders that are experts in their field and who show signs of an ability to make hard-lined decisions quickly, under extreme pressures. Because these qualities are viewed as strengths, these leaders trust in their own ability to make decisions; they have clear views of what needs to be done and act on them autonomously.
The tendency to make decisions alone and impose views of what’s right and wrong
can adversely affect your UQ Culture
A recent study has revealed that people who are in a position of power are more likely to view wrongdoing unambiguously and are more likely to punish transgressors.
“What a manager sees as appropriate punishment could be seen as absolutely draconian by other people,” explained Scott Wiltermuth, of USC Marshall School of Business. “Organisational culture could be destabilised, if those without power protest their managers’ decisions, undermining their authority.”
You are the best in your field, but you still need to open up to others’ views
The lesson to be learnt from this study is to be mindful that you may be prone to making hard-lined decisions.
Building a sustainable and successful business is as much about building the best team as it is about providing the best product or service. To build the best team you need to attract and retain the best people. That means creating an attractive UQ Culture that values and engages its workforce.
You don’t have to make every decision “by committee”, just ask more, listen more, and you’ll tap into what gives your business the most powerful competitive edge – your people.
Give a child a seemingly mundane object, like a cardboard box, and they’ll create a magical environment for herself. It will turn into an elaborate castle, a cave deep in the jungle, a ship set sail on the ocean or a steam train ready for work.
As children, we feel free to create as far-fetched as our mind can take us. Once we’ve grownup, unfortunately most of us never tap into the fullness of our creativity as we did as youngsters.
Our creativity is something that makes each and every one of us unique. It’s something that’s inside all of us, but something that most of us don’t express fully.
Creativity cannot be taught, but there is still a lesson to be learnt…
Push boundaries by letting your creative, inner child out
The boundless creativity we experience as children gets suppressed as we age, by our need to do things the “right” way. Sometimes, we’re plagued with grownup symptoms of self-doubt and embarrassment, which can stop us from fully embracing and expressing our creativity. Unlike children, we work within the boundaries of procedures and how things “ought to be done”.
“Give a small child a bunch of puzzle pieces, or any random set of items and the young child will go to work with them. The one thing the child won't do is look for the instruction manual. It's more fun to play around and create something crazy original!” Wes Hopper
At UQ Power when we conduct workshops with groups of suited corporates, we avoid offering pen and paper as the tool to solve a problem or create an idea. Instead, we’ll take all sorts of uncommon items. They form part of the problem-solving process; participants have to really think creatively how they can express their idea or solution using the items. Every time we’ve used this method – it works, it makes them think laterally.
"UQ Power offered a new and alternative experience compared to your typical leadership training session. It was very tactile. We had to paint our own story and vision for the organisation, but without any brushes! We really had to think differently not only abut how to share our thoughts with the team without any words, but also how we could execute the work," said Leah Flint, Executive Manager, Corporate Planning and Engagement, Maitland City Council.
"Their methods made us all think differently. It made it memorable - importantly - it made the key messages and learning points stick."
Read more about our work with Maitland City Council's Leadership Team here.
It’s time to let your inner child out! The next time you have to solve a problem, develop a strategy, or innovate within your business, shut down the computer, and pick up whatever else comes to mind… A paint brush, a collection of random office objects, pasta noodles, plasticine, or timber, nails and a hammer!
Depriving yourself of your typical tools and opening up your mind to using unconventional aids will retrain your brain and reconnect you with your inner child.
Begin to think more like the child you used to be. It's not about learning how to be creative, but more about remembering how creative you used to be. Look at problems or issues through the eyes of a child, and you may find surprisingly simple solutions that you never would've considered. Simplicity, creativity, and innovation are not just part of a child's environment, but belong in the adult world and workplace as well.
The poet tells us that “the child is father of the man.” And so it is.