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

Alexandria Joy - 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

Have you ever said no to a big opportunity?

Alexandria Joy - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Have you ever said no to a big opportunity?

No I don’t want that new job and pay increase.

No I don’t want to go on that secondment to the other department.

No I don’t want to make a presentation to the Board.

I said no to a big opportunity last week, one that I’ve had on my vision board since January, and it was a tough call to make.

As a workplace futurist and someone who helps organisations plan and strategise their culture and brand for the future I am constantly scanning the environment, travelling throughout Australia and around the world, visiting companies that are on the forefront of modern work practices to bring those ideas back to leaders and organisations we work with.

I spend a lot of my waking hours thinking about the future. So you can imagine how excited I was to have been invited in March to speak at the World Futures Conference in Washington this past weekend. My topic – How to make work work in the future. Awesome and so right up my alley.

I had been planning the trip for some time, I’d already bought a conference ticket, accommodation was sorted and I’d been making connections on LinkedIn with peers that would be at the conference.

And then last week, life got a bit crazy, things weren’t lining up at work or at home and I came up against some pretty deep stuff – like feeling like a fraud and off course.

So I said no to speaking at the conference. I said no to a big break. To the crème de la crème of the futurists gathering. I said no to showing up regardless.

Instead I said yes. Yes to staying home. Yes to me.

For once I was totally and utterly honest with myself. I checked in and no it wasn’t fear making me back away, in speaking is one of my favourite things to do. It was just that the pull to say yes to being true to me was stronger.

I felt bad for letting the conference organisers down, but the truth was I was on day 2, not the headline, plenary speaker, a bit of reshuffling and the conference agenda would work fine. It was more a blow to my ego than an inconvenience to anyone else. Funny how the universe has a way of delivering harsh lessons at the most inopportune times.

I’d been having some hints and intuition that a change was necessary but a total transformation? Hadn’t seen that coming – some futurist I am ha ha!

I wrote a blog last week as this all unfolded and I was sick in bed with a stomach virus purging and transitioning. Some would warn against such a potentially career limiting article, however the feedback about the raw and real honesty has been a surprise to me.  

How did I get here? When did I forget the things that I love doing the most?

I love my work, I love helping people and companies unleash their uniqueness so they can show up authentically and love their work every day. It’s bloody awesome work. But somewhere along the way I had lost my own way and forgotten to heed my own advice.

I started asking some big questions about life, my business and how I want to work and who with. Magically new clients turned up immediately, precisely the kind I like to work with as if to say – here, do more of this!

Awesome nudges. Perfect clues. Thank you universe.

Luckily the conference organisers were very understanding and agreed that I could donate my conference ticket I had already purchased to a scholarship student who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend – awesome #generosityeconomy in action.

I was so relieved once it was done and of course a little disappointed.

But as with any decision, once made, energy has began to flow in the new direction and clarity has returned. I’ve begun making changes in my business, a new website, a new podcast, a documentary, a charitable collaboration and a new theatre style event are all now in the pipeline. Some of these will be launched in the very near future, some a little further off, but already synchronicities are beginning to happen.

So it’s possible to say no to a big opportunity and still find a silver lining!

This week I’m focused on getting even clearer about how I want to live and work, where and with whom so I can put it into action.

Making the decision to say no was the hardest part, once it was done it was done and I could move on again and regain my flow.

Are you finding yourself at a crossroads unable to say yes or no and feeling stuck and frustrated? Don’t worry pushing through the resistance is just part of the process, it’s a sign that you’re on your way.

If you need help and you want to know how to get clear on the future path for your career, business or brand visit www.uqpower.com.au and check out our services and offerings.  

Our videos, articles and resources are a great way to start the forward momentum yourself – whether it’s to grow your team, increase your income or profits or create the most memorable brand in your market.

Start saying no and releasing more energy and space to say yes to you and your dreams. You know you’re unique and you’re awesome and the world needs you!

Leaders. Get your head in the clouds

Alexandria Joy - Sunday, April 17, 2016

The big picture doesn't cut it any more. It's the friggin HUGE picture that matters now.

Remember that famous analogy of the rocks, pebbles and sand that Dr Stephen Covey made famous? (If you've been living under a rock - pun intended - thencheck out this video from FranklinCovey). Well in the 90's and early 2000's that was a great way to plan, execute and manage your time.

But today in 2016 it's simply not going to cut it.

As suggested by Gary Vaynerchuk, today you need to act more like a futurist and have your head in the clouds and far ahead on the horizon as well as still keep your feet in the sand (Gary says the dirt but I prefer the beach) at the granular level.

Today the companies and leaders who succeed have learned to reach up high and tap down low, to think 30 years ahead and to execute and innovate in the now. Think like Apple and Tesla.  

Think about your own industry for a moment. Where do you see it heading in 30 years time? Will it still exist? Will it have been replaced by robots and artificial intelligence? What technology will be needed to support the people driving change?

And what can you do about that now? How can you begin to be more like sand in the surf, being flexible and nimble, light and able to shift and move with the current. Or are you still focused on the rocks, stuck, stagnant and unable to adapt and adopt? Is there a massive ship about to crash into your rock and because you weren't checking the view from the lighthouse in the clouds, and now you're unable to adjust course and move your business left or right, up or down?

VISION is worthless without EXECUTION

and 

EXECUTION is pointless without VISION.

You not only have to know your craft intimately (your sand) but also understand where your business and industry is heading (your clouds). If you stick with the rocks you'll be average and get average results. You have to start reaching up and tapping down rather than spreading out. Gone are the industrial age days of growth for growth sake. Bigger larger plant sizes, more staff, bigger contracts, even when the margins were getting smaller and smaller and profits less and less we saw big companies still aiming for lateral growth, taking up space, wasting energy on their middle aged spread.

Tomorrow's successful businesses will be vastly different they'll be grounded, long, lean and wiry, reaching, reaching, reaching for the clouds. They'l be architects and masons. Grounded yet unsettled. Think Uber, Air BNB and Alibaba.

Those companies stuck in the middle bland land will get lost in the sea of sameness, stuck with massive overheads, large volumes of wasted stock, with buildings, land and machinery of little worth. They'll have large footprints that take up a lot of space and have massive environmental impacts. They'll play it safe when safe is no longer a valid strategy.

If you're thinking 1-3 years in the future, you're leaving yourself and your company vulnerable and exposed. If you're spending three days at a leadership retreat planning your three year strategic plan and then reporting blindly for the next three years against that plan then you're essentially dead in the water. 

You need to forget the big picture and aim for the HUGE picture. You need to think where do we need to be in 2050 not in 2017. All the best leaders and companies now are bringing in futurists to consider 10, 20, 30 years into the future and then executing in three day, three week and three monthly cycles. 

Remember just five short years ago Netflix weren't streaming movies, and Snapchat and Instagram didn't exist. Where did they come from? The clouds.

You can't go for incremental improvement any more, you need to evolve. Start losing yourself in the clouds and then getting gritty in the sand. That way you're more likely to create something remarkable, something epic that will change the game.

Leaders you have to be the brains but you have to get your hands dirty too. Stop stressing so much about the dumb little sh*% and start playing the bigger game. Most of our daily grind is just a result of not having clarity about the huge picture 30 years out. Once you have that kind of huge clarity, everything falls into perspective.

Build an epic vision and a huge why, solve a future global problem, then build and create all the time listening to the market as you course correct, adjust and improvise every day. Oh yeah and remember to keep your eye on the clouds!

If you want to read more about this topic see my recent presentation for the April meetings of Higher Power Leaders Network here on Slideshare.


Do you want to live your dream?

Alexandria Joy - Thursday, December 10, 2015
Someone else's opinion of you is not who you are and does not have to become your reality - are you willing to chase your dreams? 

If you want to change your life, change the world, you have to ‪#‎startwithU‬ invest in your mind, invest your time, spend time alone and become the unique U.

#startwithU ‪#‎beu‬ ‪#‎100percentU‬ ‪#‎inspirationalvideo‬ ‪#‎consciousleadership‬ ‪#‎takethefirststep‬ ‪#‎youcanliveyourdream‬ 

It's hard changing your life, but in the process of chasing your dreams you will become who you are mean to be. Don't give up on your dreams - watch this video for inspiration!

Don't be a copycat - define your value, be unique, be U. U are the one!

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".

How Giving Chocolate Can Boost Company Culture and Profits

Alexandria Joy - Friday, November 21, 2014

Decades of research, in multiple countries around the world, has shown time and again that investing in a positive, high-trust workplace culture yields distinct, tangible business benefits. Studies show that great workplaces enjoy significantly lower turnover and better financial performance than industry peers. 

In a nutshell – positive teams means a positive workplace and positive profits. Sounds simple. The trick is making it happen. 

So what do most positive company cultures have in common? Let's call it the UQ factor (UQ = Uniqueness Quotient – recognising the unique strengths in every individual).

Our work and research has shown that positive employees work harder and are more productive than their less than chipper peers. The fact is these people choose to give their best work every day because they feel appreciated, valued and able to contribute their talents. The companies that grow these cultures recognise and deliver on the promise to value their people as their most important asset. 

It starts with the company recognizing and embracing the unique value of every individual employee and giving them an opportunity to do their best work. This means all managers must get to know their employees – their strengths and talents and take a sincere interest in understanding how they learn, grow and work best. 

Here’s three things you can give to create a more productive, positive and powerful workforce:
  1. Give feedback – people crave feedback, yet much of corporate communication is lacking in this area. When employees don't feel heard as an individual, they don't feel respected or positive about the workplace. When this happens, they begin to look for of greener pastures. Upskill your managers in how to have coaching conversations so they can start listening to, developing and leveraging the talent in their teams. Set up a quarterly or monthly meeting where the whole team can talk through their ideas and suggestions, and be sure to wave the flag when you implement an employee-suggested concept. 

  2. Give back - Most people want to work for a company they can be proud of, and this means doing well by doing good in the world. (This is especially important for Millennial workers). Your company needs to grow its capabilities in the EQ Quadrant of the UQ Powerhouse to become more socially responsible and more in touch with your local community. Get out in the local community and find ways to help, offer volunteer days off or align your company with a charity who is doing great work. 

  3. Give chocolate – Need I say more? Is there anything chocolate can't do? Rewarding and recognising staff for a job well done or for living according to your values and culture needn’t be reserved for the annual company dinner. Nothing works better than immediate, positive reinforcement so why not keep some sweet chocolate treats in the workplace for just such rewards? Workers like to snack during the day, and a quick word of thanks (or hand written note) with a special pick-me-up attached is sure to hit the spot. It’s a quick and easy way to improve mood and productivity
A great company culture can keep people productive and help you retain your best employees. If your bottom line needs a boost and you need to turn some frowns upside down then consider making giving a priority for your company culture. Using some of these outside-of-the-box methods, you can give your team a smile and give your company a productivity boost. 

Need help? Our UQ Power Pulse Check will help you find out how healthy your workplace culture is. 

What do you think? How do you improve employee happiness and productivity? Share in the comments below!

WHEN IDEAS HAVE SEX

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Inspiration is an incredible thing. It can provide the juice and stimulation that make life worthwhile, it can be the spark that lights the fire or provides a platform for our transformation. 

Marie Forleo, the Jersey girl who coined the term multi-passionate entrepreneur, was one of the many sources of inspiration for our own creation UQTV. We had been looking for a vehicle to spread the message that people's unique strengths are the key to unlocking their potential. We wanted to challenge managers to break with tradition and how they had always done things because rules stifle the originality and uniqueness that enable people to achieve their highest performance. 

We saw how Marie was providing a platform to inspire and uplift solopreneurs and online entrepreneurs to create a life and business that they loved and it dawned on us that there is a real gap in similar inspiration for workers and their managers in corporate land. Our ideas had sex and UQTV was born. Our main goal in creating UQTV was to help managers find new ways to lead and to create the architecture of their company culture so that their people are excited to volunteer their best work, every day.

And so this recent episode of Marie TV where Marie interviews idea D.J., speaker and host of National Geographic's hit show, Brain Games, Jason Silva blew our minds. His thoughts on philosophy, creativity, technology and human potential opened us to new possibilities and ways of seeing our world and our co-creation of company cultures. 

What inspires you? Is it your work, art, movies, children or science? We'd love to know - share your inspirations below.

PS: If you don’t know Jason Silva, watch his video below before diving into Marie's interview with him. 

Brendan Burchard Masterclass demonstrates How to Identify, Package, Market and Drive Your Expertise

Alexandria Joy - Sunday, June 08, 2014

My favourite nuggets of wisdom from the day

Last week I attended the event How to Identify, Package, Market and Drive Your Expertise Master Class in Sydney at Luna Park in the Big Top and after posting this photo on Facebook:

I had several friends and clients send me messages asking how it was, who the speakers were and what did I learn.

Always keen for an opportunity to sharpen the saw, and I had attended this event in particular to see Brendan Burchard in person after observing his internet success. I came away from the event with my wallet intact (no I didn’t fall for any of the limited number of seats act now sales pitches) but my notebook full. Surprisingly for a pitch-fest style event (we all gotta eat) I found that I did have some really great takeaways and nuggets of wisdom in my notepad from the day.

Below I've included a quick takeaway from each of the speakers on the day. (For my full seven pages of notes leave your name and email below and I'll happily send you a full copy of my notes.)

Speaker 1 – Scott Harris from Australia - Developing the Psychology behind Your Success

Scott suggested you need to:

1 - Become an expert in your life - really understand yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, habits and beliefs
2 - Invite some experts into your life - surround yourself with smart people who have been there before so you don't have to recreate the wheel and can replicate their systems.

Speaker 2 - KERWIN RAE from Australia  - The 5 Pillars of a fast growth Expert empire
Keys to Getting the Basics Down
  • Simplify
  • Streamline (know the things that don’t matter)
  • Automate
  • Immerse

Speaker 3 - ANDY HARRINGTON [UK] - Promoting Yourself as the Authority in Your Subject

Five Areas to be an extraordinary speaker:
  • IMPACT – break people’s pattern en masse.
  • INFORM – a message that informs people without overwhelming them.  
  • INSPIRE – more people emotionally by changing their state.
  • INFLUENCE – move them into action.
  • INCOME – too many poor coaches and consultants and authors.

Speaker 4 - BRENDON BURCHARD [USA] - Positioning yourself as an Expert on any topic area
  • “Experts are always students first.” Brendan Burchard.  If you’re waiting for someone to tell you, you’re a divine being, well here it is “you’re good to go.”.
  • You don’t have energy or confidence, you generate it.
  • It’s about adult learning – you just have to apply the science to it.
  • You can teach any topic to anyone whenever you decide to.
  • You just need to believe and decide to start.
Thanks to a post a US friend Jennifer Bourn shared recently from the Copyblogger’s Authority Intensive 2014 that I found really interesting, I figured I would get my fabulous assistant Claire to type up my notes of the best bits, the quotables, and the action items — so you can benefit from the most notable content shared too.
To access my full simply click on this link and leave your full name and email. Enjoy! 

I hope this post and my full notes helped you provide you with some of the best bits without the pitch fest parts in between!

How about you? Did you attend the event in the Big Top? What did you think? Did one of the nuggets of wisdom listed above speak to you or catch your attention? Or did you think it was all just too much hype and sell, sell, sell at the back of the room? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


Business Innovation on a Shoestring Budget

Alexandria Joy - Friday, May 09, 2014

It's true – innovation is a huge buzzword and we are all aware. Craig Lambert describes it as being "...bandied around a bit like a Miss Universe contestant talking about world peace." While the idea of innovation is tossed around and misused, it doesn't mean businesses can't or shouldn't be innovative, but rather the opposite: businesses need to embrace creativity and exciting new ways to connect with customers.

It is important to know the two relevant types of innovation in order to start thinking outside of the box and reaching your business potential.

The two main types of innovation are:

1. Sustained: Innovation that maintains and evolves established markets.
2. Disruptive: Innovation that creates new markets and fresh values.

How Can Your Business Succeed With Innovation?

In order to be successful as a business, your business must have a clear and focused 'Power House.' Think of your business's house as having four rooms that are the key foundations of a successful business. These four rooms include:

1. Vision – a clear strategy.
2. IQ – a smart intellectual focus.
3. Body – a physical energy and presence.
4. EQ - its interpersonal connections.

These four rooms are critical to building a sustainable, commercially viable company – when they are all working together they provide a strong profit power loop. For example:
• If you have a clear vision and stick to it you should eventually reach your goals. Without clarity of vision of a phone that also played music and allowed you to surf the web, Apple would never have created the iPhone.
• Intellectual focus involve taking small but crucial improvements to your products or services that can win over customers and keep your company fresh. Dyson failed over 5,000 times before he and his vacuum cleaners reached huge success.
• The physical energy that your business creates in visual forms such as branding and marketing is essential to make a positive first impression. If you can win over eyes, you can win over customers.
• Finally without emotional intelligence and having the ability to connected with staff, customers and stakeholders on a personal level you will not enjoy repeat business and good will. You should want to connect to your customers and this is the biggest reason you are being innovative. Serve your customers and find success.

Innovation is About the Big Picture

Once you've got your house in order you can start building upon your solid foundation you can begin to focus on raising your roof to become more and more successful. Your focus is to find ways to improve your product or business practices in such a way that serves your customers and keeps them connected with you as a brand. Innovation isn’t about innovating for the sake of innovation, nor is it about throwing money at the latest trend, gadget or radio advertisement, rather innovating should always be focused on helping your end-customer and servicing their needs and wants. With the foundations in place you then have the clear air space to create some really unique and memorable experiences that will ensure your business is remembered, respected and referred.

Want to know more about how you can create a culture of innovation in your team or business? Contact us to ask about our affordable, fun workshops support@uqpower.com.au

Lessons in Vision from MLK

Alexandria Joy - Monday, January 20, 2014

This week is a celebration of MLK Day, a day to reflect upon the great work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who had a huge vision which he dedicated his life to and who challenged the rest of us to do the same. Not only did he champion equal rights but also equal access to economic opportunity for all Americans. A lesson we can all learn from MLK is the power of a clear and compelling vision, for our lives, our companies and our communities.

In in today's fast paced world of instant communication and gratification, it seems long term strategic plans and vision statements may have lost some relevance and have been overtaken by short term goals and agendas.

Yes it is absolutely important to have goals and ways to measure progress but there is something beyond goals that all successful people, businesses and communities have, and that’s a compelling vision. A vision for the future where they see things as they are and then they make sure they also see things better than they are. Research proves over and over again that the companies, communities and even governments that have greater sustainability and lasting success are those with a sense of deep mission and meaning in what they do.

What is a compelling vision?

One that you can visualise in your mind's eye, one that you can almost touch, taste and feel what it will feel like to achieve that vision. Luminaries past and present such as MLK have an ability to step into their vision and future self and communicate and work from that place with absolute clarity. Our UQ Powerhouse framework for all we teach at UQ Power has vision as the first of its four quadrants. We believe that vision underpins everything you do and you can’t move forward with a sense of urgency and purpose without it.

Employees today want more than just a pay check, they want more meaning in the workplace and that can come from being part of a team contributing to a compelling vision. At medical product company Medtronic when new employees join the company they go to a "Mission and Medallion" ceremony where they meet the CEO and hear about how the company has changed the lives of patients and employees. Each employee is given a medallion with a depiction of a sick person rising and are asked to accept the mission of Medtronic which is "to restore people to full life and health".

In his inspiring book Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl quotes Nietzsche saying "He who has a WHY can bear with almost any HOW." What's your why? Is it so clear you can almost touch it and feel it? Do those that need to be on board have clarity and ownership of their part of moving towards the vision?

Don't have a vision? Try this exercise with your team. Each person writes down in their own words what their own personal vision for the organisation, group or relationship is. They then pass their version to the person on their right. That person underlines the words that resonate with them and then passes the paper onto the next person until everyone has reviewed each others. At the end the most highly endorsed (underlined) common words can be written on a white board and discussed by the group writing them into a sentence that represent the groups’ view of a single shared vision.

Share your thoughts below on vision statements or having a vision. What's worked for you in the past?

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