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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").

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!

Short on training budget? Get me for free in May!

Alexandria Joy - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

As part of launching her new speaking topics our CEO Heidi Alexandra is offering just 20 speaking spots for corporates looking to Beta Test our new programs and material for FREE in the month of May 2016!

Heidi Alexandra has been running training and coaching programs for over 10 years and yet she's giving it away in May. Why? Well we have a brand new program of topics and workshops and she wants to road test them and make sure she's delivering content that answers your burning questions, inspires your people and gets tongues wagging in your workplace. 

PLUS Heidi Alexandra's key word for 2016 is "generosity" so you'll be helping her achieve her #365daysofgenerosity too!

Topics include:

  • Stealing Startups Culture: What Futurist Companies Do To Unleash Their Employees Hidden Super Powers
  • Corporate Culture Hacking: The simplest secret to transforming a toxic culture
  •  The 4.5 secrets you need to know to become a corporate superhero
  • Body Intelligence – how to have a powerful presence
  • Corporate Superhero – how to become a sought after thought leader

There are just 20 spots available in May in Australia and the USA. To apply to have her speak at your workplace, event or leadership meeting go here now - first in best dressed!

You can read more about her speaking here http://www.uqpower.com.au/speaking 

The Generosity Economy is Alive and Well

Alexandria Joy - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I have always said if you want to change the world, you have to #startwithU.

However like me, many people express that they feel helpless or uncertain of how they could begin to take steps to change the world. They ask what could I possibly do? What could I give? How could I be of service?

It got me thinking after speaking to a friend who had returned from Nepal: in a world that is materialistically rich, yet spiritually poor, is it possible for a generosity economy to emerge and to flourish?

It’s not a new concept, in fact, historically as a race we survived on the exchange of gifts, goods and services; there was no artificial paper notes or numbers on a page assigned to give something value.

Is it possible then for us to reverse our materialistic focus and revert to operating from a place where we are rewarded for our productivity, our generosity and our service?

Rather than the old paradigm of ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’, the new generosity economy creates more of a circle of goodwill where people give and share freely and where everyone benefits.

I am delighted to say that I put this question to the test and saw evidence of this new economy in spades on a recent overseas trip.

It began in San Francisco, I arrived after a long flight to be greeted in the hotel foyer by my roomie and friend chief Sista Code blogger, Melissa Histon. Mel had generously waited around for me for more than an hour so she’d be there to take me to the room and help me settle in.

After unpacking we took to the streets in search of a restaurant to eat, deciding to catch a cable car. As we waited in line, a beggar came up along the line asking everyone waiting if they had any money to spare.

Everyone looked away, ignored them or grumbled under their breath. But not Melissa, she said bright and cheerfully to him, ‘I have something for you’ and reached into her wallet and took out a five dollar note to give him.

He mumbled thanks and moved on.

Someone in the line ahead of us cursed her saying something about ‘great there’s always a sucker now we’ll all be bothered by him’. Mel didn’t respond to them but once we boarded the cable car she whispered to me, “you just never know what someone’s going through and how your kind gesture might help.” I had to agree with her.

Later that week, while in New York, we walked past a church and saw a robed man handing out food to homeless people sitting waiting on the steps of the church. His movements were slow and deliberate with an air of kindness and compassion.

I took a mental note of how this simple act of generosity appeared to not only raise the recipients’ spirits, but also mine too. I realised that just by witnessing this act of generosity my energy levels had been raised as well. I pointed out the interaction to Mel and together we smiled in joy at the simple act of loving kindness.

It seemed that everywhere I looked on the trip from then on I began witnessing and partaking in the generosity economy. Whether it be the policeman or soldier in the street I randomly asked to pose with me for a photo wearing my cape who agreed generously and played along with the fun. To meeting a group of people protesting about the lack of abortion clinics for women in the USA who we gave a donation to and who shared their stories, stickers, ideals and hopes with us openly and enthusiastically.

The next leg of our journey was sure to be yet another extension of the generosity economy as it came about through the kind generosity of an amazing business woman Emma Isaacs, CEO of Business Chicks Australia and USA.

Emma had herself experienced a trip such as this a few years prior and rather than hoarding it or wanting it to remain exclusively hers she came home asking,“how can I share this experience with other women in our business chicks community?”

And this was just the tip of the iceberg, for the following week we travelled to the British Virgin Isles in the Caribbean to attend a Leadership Gathering on Necker Island I experienced even more pure, non-judging, generous behaviour.

Everything about Sir Richard Branson’s private island was done with a sense of service and generosity. Whether it be the generous free flowing drinks, the warm smiles and welcoming hugs of his fabulous staff to the new friends we made who joined us on the trip.

Richard himself was generous with his time, his energy, his laughter, his praise and his stories. I witnessed the conservation work being done on the island from flamingos to tortoises to lemurs, his generosity went beyond man and was extended to the environment and fellow animals, not for kudos or image but from a genuine, loving place. 

Read the rest of this article about my experience and see all the photos here http://thesistacode.com/want-to-be-uplifted-join-the-generosity-economy/#comment-858 

Balanced Leaders Create Healthy Cultures

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Most people today could share a story about someone they've worked for who was highly intelligent, highly skilled and got promoted to a position of leadership only to drive their workers around the bend and leave them running for the hills.

This common story told the world over suggests that identifying individuals with the right goods to be a great leader is not an exact science or exercise in who has the best resume. After all, evidence shows that the personal styles of the best leaders vary greatly as seen from my recent list of the 50 leaders I most want to interview.

Some leaders are quiet, conscientious and analytical, others are bold and boisterous preaching their vision and values to the biggest audience they can find. Regardless of their external personality traits however, we have found through our work at UQ Power that the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they create healthy workplace cultures where their workers feel safe and valued.

In the course of the past year, my colleagues and I have focused on how leaders and managers can create the most physically, emotionally and psychologically healthy workplace cultures. Using our proprietary UQ Powerhouse Blueprint we have worked with numerous public and private organisations and examined the relationship between IQ - innovation and intellectual safety, EQ - emotional intelligence and psychological safety, BODY - cultural presence and physical safety and VISION - clarity of purpose and financial safety, especially in leaders. And we have observed how each of these four dimensions, the quadruple bottom line, shows themselves on the job.

Which is why most people today could share a story about someone they've worked for who had high IQ but low EQ and drove them around the bend. When we study organizational psychology, culture and well being we begin to see that one area connects to another, and another in such a way that it is hard to isolate one without considering the other. Organizations therefore could more appropriately be seen as a complex living organisms rather than simply as an organization.

Identifying what makes an organisation healthy is not a straightforward science as one needs to appreciate the UQ (uniqueness quotient) of each individual employee - basically every worker has different motivators and or stressors and each group or team has its own dynamic which in turn ultimately creates the organisation’s culture.

What we have found through our work is that just like any other living organism, an organisation needs to be nourished, maintained, and experience growth in order to sustain it over the longer term. It also needs some essential nutrients to ensure it maintains peak health including:

Nutrient 1 - Free Flowing Communication: Communication is always a two-way street and requires contextual listening (listening beyond words to what is being said, not said and felt). So many companies are built on top-down communication from management leaving employees feeling there is no point in saying how they feel as they have no direct channel and don't feel they'll have an impact. Effective leaders and managers are those who create an atmosphere that fosters trust and open, two-way communication. Communication can be critical especially during difficult times such as those recently experienced as a result of the economic downturn (Read this article to find out more about leading during a downturn).

Nutrient 2 - People emPOWERment: By understanding and appreciating the UQ (uniqueness) in each and every employee and leveraging their individual talents, a leader will build confidence and trust and empower individuals to self-manage. By empowering employees to be victors rather than victims, to celebrate their uniqueness rather than punishing their imperfections, by owning their responsibilities, a healthy empowered environment is created. Through an empowered workplace you will not only have the benefits of enhanced productivity but you can grow your reputation among your customers and stakeholders.

Nutrient 3 - Spreading PositivityIn The Happiness Advantage, former Harvard professor Shawn Achor argues that people who start off happy are more likely to succeed and using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how organisations can gain a competitive advantage by shifting employees to become more positive too. Similarly Professor Richard Boyatzis' Intentional Change Theory states that intense positive emotions will have a contagion effect on others. Likewise we must be conscious of the negative emotions one emits as well, Boyatzis suggesting that for every negative thought three positive thoughts are needed to counter the affect.

Nutrient 4 - Cool Collaboration: In short, teams that play together, stay together. A leader's job is to ensure everyone in the organization must work in solving problems while adapting change together. Cohesive organizations build unity toward improving and resolving issues as a team and not as isolated units. Simon Sinek frequently cites the Marine Corps for having found a way to build a culture in which men and women are willing to risk their lives, because they know others would do the same for them. It’s not brainwashing; it’s actually based on the biology of how and when people are naturally at their best. If businesses could adopt this supportive mentality, employees would be more motivated to take bigger risks, because they’d know their colleagues and company would back them up, no matter what.

The best company cultures are vibrant, healthy ones where the well being of individuals and the sustainability of the organization go hand in hand. It is ultimately a place where individuals are inspired to work, trust, and value the uniqueness in one another, while reinforcing the mission of the organization.

What interventions, improvement programs or cultural reviews have proven to work well for you and your organization?

What other nutrients do you believe support a healthy organizational culture, not listed in the list above? 

Feel free to share a comment or two about your experiences below, I'd love to know.

References
Achor, Shawn The Happiness Advantage
Adelson, S. and LaRoche, G . (n.d) The Power of Positive Emotional Attractors. Boyatzis, R. E., Soler, C. (2012). Vision, leadership and emotional intelligence transforming family business, Journal of Family Business Management.
Sinek, Simon (2014) Leaders Eat Last
Topping, Peter, (2002), Managerial Leadership. McGraw-Hill.

50 Leaders I Most Want To Interview

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The world around us is changing and what we need are a new era of leaders – expander leaders who are breakaways, disruptors and renegades. People who challenge the status quo and are of service, who value people over profits.

This year I’ve compiled a list of 50 thought leaders I’d most like to interview through UQTV to inspire you to grow flourish and make the shift to lead in this new world of work.

Check out my list of people and let me know if there’s anyone else you’d add to the list or if you can make a connection and introduction for me.

  1. Sir Richard Branson
    Founder of Virgin Group www.virgin.com/richard-branson  
  2. Simon Sinek
    Visionary, author www.startwithwhy.com/
  3. Ken Blanchard
    Chief Spiritual Officer at Ken Blanchard Companies www.kenblanchard.com  
  4. Brené Brown 
    Professor at the University of Houston www.brenebrown.com  
  5. Bono
    Lead Singer, U2 www.u2.com
  6. Daniel Pink
    Author www.danpink.com
  7. Lolly Daskal
    President and founder of Lead From Within www.lollydaskal.com
  8. Benjamin Zander
    Conductor, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra www.benjaminzander.com
  9. Jane Wurwand
    Founder Dermalogica www.dermalogica.com
  10. 10. Lisa Messenger
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief The Messenger Group www.collectivehub.com
  11. 11. Liz Wiseman            
    Founder of The Wiseman Group www.thewisemangroup.com  
  12. 12. Traci Fenton
    Founder, CEO WorldBlu www.worldblu.com/
  13. 13. Marshall Goldsmith
    Founder of Marshall Goldsmith Group www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com
  14. Amy Cuddy
    Body language expert, founder of Power Posing https://www.ted.com/speakers/amy_cuddy
  15. Tony Hsieh
    CEO at Zappos.com www.deliveringhappiness.com
  16. Vishen Lakhiani
    CEO Mindvalley www.mindvalley.com
  17. Chip Conley
    CEO Joi du Voie www.chipconley.com
  18. Daniel and Justine Flynn
    Co-Founders Thank You Water www.thankyou.co
  19. Todd Nielsen 
    The Execution Expert www.toddnielsen.com/
  20. Gary Zukav
    Co-Founder, Seat of the Soul Institute www.seatofthesoul.com
  21. S. Chris Edmonds
    Founder Purposeful Culture Group www.drivingresultsthroughculture.com
  22. Tim Elmore
    Founder of Growing Leaders www.growingleaders.com  
  23. Nina Godiwalla
    CEO at Mindworks www.mindworkscorp.com
  24. Michael Hyatt
    CEO at Intentional Leadership www.michaelhyatt.com  
  25. John Kotter
    Founder of Kotter International www.kotterinternational.com
  26. Jim Kouzes
    Author www.leadershipchallenge.com
  27. John C. Maxwell
    Founder of The John Maxwell Company www.johnmaxwell.com
  28. Sheryl Sandberg
    COO Facebook www.facebook.com
  29. Herb Kelleher
    Co-founder, Chairman Emeritus Southwest Airlines www.southwest.com/
  30. Tom Peters
    Professional agitator at Tom Peters Company www.tompeters.com  
  31. Michael E. Porter
    Professor at Harvard Business School www.isc.hbs.edu/pages/default.aspx
  32. Emma Isaacs
    Founder, CEO, Business Chicks www.businesschicks.com.au
  33. Jane Huxley
    Managing Director Pandora Australia www.pandora.com
  34. Ricardo Semler
    Chief Executive, Semco www.semco.com.br/pt/
  35. Wendy Kopp
    CEO and Co-founder Teach for All www.teachforall.org/en
  36. Jesse Lyn Stoner
    Director Berrett-Koehler Foundation www.seapointcentre.com
  37. Gail Kelly
    CEO Westpac www.westpac.com.au
  38. Anne McKevitt
    Founder Million Dollar Plus Club www.annemckevitt.com
  39. Mala Yousafzai
    Advocate for education rights
  40. Charlotte Tharuup-Owen
    Clinical Mindfulness Expert www.creativetransformations.com.au
  41. Aung San Suu Kyi
    Chair National League for Democracy
  42. Gen. Joe Dunford
    Commander US Forces Afghanistan
  43. Jeff Bezos
    CEO Amazon www.amazon.com
  44. Jack Ma
    Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group www.alibaba.com
  45. Jane Cay
    Entrepreneur and Founder of Birdnest Clothing Online www.birdsnest.com.au 
  46. Nancy Lublin
    CEO Do Something www.dosomething.org  
  47. Pinky McKay
    Author and Mothers’ Advocate www.pinkymckay.com
  48. Susan Wojcicki
    CEO YouTube www.youtube.com
  49. Robin Sharma
    Founder of Sharma Leadership International www.robinsharma.com
  50. Mark Miller
    Author www.greatleadersserve.com



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.


6 WAYS TO BUILD TRUST AT WORK

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Trust - it's a term bandied around all the time when it comes to leadership and organisational culture and with good reason. Nothing builds a solid culture better than growing a cushion of trust and nothing harms an organization more than a lack of trust in those leading it.

For such a simple, small five letter word, trust can often be challenging to develop and maintain in any organisation. But it can be done! Trust must begin from the top to be developed throughout an organization. If top management is not trusted it gives the perception that it is everyone for themselves and opens up rationale for building a culture of mistrust.

In a recent episode of UQTV titled "The Leadership Relationship" I address the issue of trust and how critical it is in creating sustainable businesses.

Here are six steps to help you develop trust in your workplace:

1. TRUTH TELL

Leaders who are trusted tell the truth even when it is easier to lie or leave out facts. There is no such thing as ‘the’ truth. There is only ‘your’ truth so practice becoming a truth teller - the more you tell your truth up front, the less cleaning up you’ll need to do. 

If there is a values statement for the organisation that includes any words about honesty, trust or integrity event more so - you need to ensure you act, speak and live those values before expecting staff to.

2. DO GOOD

When a leader does the right thing for the benefit of the whole organisation rather than their own personal agenda they are held up as examples of integrity for others to follow. This strongly reinforces an expansive culture of trust.

When a leader does what is convenient or beneficial for them and not for all it sets up a mistrustful, counter productive culture where staff feel justified to look out for themselves rather than doing what is most beneficial for the whole company. 

3. BE CONSISTENT

A sure way to grow mistrust is when managers start saying one thing to the executive or board and giving a different message to their staff. This makes staff feel like they are being manipulated, treated like children and used to make their manager look good.

Build motivation and trust by allowing staff to feel to confident that you are sharing a consistent message regardless of the audience.

4. STOP WITHOLDING

Withholding is like taking a razor blade to a company culture and all the relationships within it. Withholding is a breeding ground for catastrophising as in the absence of accurate and timely information rumors spread. Often the rumors paint a worse picture of the situation than would exist if the truth were told. 

Withholding information gives staff the message that they are not to be trusted to know the truth and therefore sets up a culture of suspicion and mistrust that rumors will only feed and fuel. 

6. CELEBRATE UNIQUENESS

One of the most common complaints we hear in workplaces is favoritism and unfair treatment. Treating everyone fairly, consistently and giving credit to those who deserve can be a challenge as we all have our own biases and personality preferences.

One of the challenges of leadership is to see beyond personal preferences and clearly see the unique value or UQ (uniqueness quotient) that each person brings to the organization. Imagine the motivation, engagement and cushion of trust you could build in your organisation by recognising and celebrating the UQ in every individual employee.

Want to build trust at work? #StartwithU

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

Why You Need To Engage And Retain That “Un-Loyal” Generation

Alexandria Joy - Monday, February 03, 2014

The people who have fulfilled the world’s need for skilled workers over the past three decades are now moving into retirement. This shift in demographic has a huge impact on companies that want to remain relevant and strong in changing times

While the Baby Boomers are moving out, Generation Y has moved into the workforce pipeline. The Human Capital Institute estimates that by 2025, Generation Y will make up 75% of the workforce.

The key to creating a profitable, sustainable business is developing a strong leadership pipeline.

Unfortunately, many companies continue to use “old-school” management practices that were originally targeted at Baby Boomers. This means that these organisations are not equipped to attract, engage, and retain Generation Y employees.

During our time helping business to power up their people, we’ve seen reluctance to targeting this demographic. Gen Y has a reputation for their lack of corporate loyalty; they change their jobs as often as they change their hair style.

But, for companies that stop “blaming” and develop strategies to meet the needs of this group, Gen Y stops jumping from job to job because they feel engaged and satisfied in their position.

We are now right in the thick of a workforce demographic shift; it is now more important than ever to prepare your organisation to fulfil expected talent shortages as Baby Boomers step out of skilled roles.

How Do You Do This?

First, you need to be fully aware of the needs of Gen Y, how they operate, and what makes them tick. Second, you will need to implement marketing, recruitment, staff engagement, and corporate culture strategies to ensure you meet those needs.

Here Are Some Quick Tips:

Provide Transparency
The 15th Annual Global CEO Survey 2012 revealed that Gen Y prefers development and growth opportunities three times more than a cash bonus as a form of benefit. When you communicate the future direction of the company and develop a personalised plan of how a Gen Y employee can develop in line with that vision, they’re more likely to stick around because they can see a clear path forward for themselves.

Provide Flexible Working Conditions
Unlike Baby Boomers, Gen Y don’t chase the idea of work life balance because they actually have a healthier perception that two aren’t mutually exclusive. This generation has a reputation for slacking off at times, but this is in comparison to Baby Boomers who have a belief of “success=work your butt off 100% of the time”. Things like flexible hours, flexible working conditions, and flexible “procedures” will help Gen Y employees to maintain the perfect blend of work and life. Focus on the outcomes, results and achievements they make rather than the how and when. If they check their Facebook Page every hour, does it really matter, especially if they achieve all that’s expected?

Create A Culture Where They Can Question The Status Quo
As Gen Y have a burning desire for professional development, it’s important to create a culture where they are safe to challenge the status quo. This is will not only keep them engaged, it will also grow a corporate culture of innovation and creativity – giving your company a unique competitive edge!

Succession Planning

Finally, succession planning is a brilliant strategy to fulfil your workforce pipeline with skilled employees. Teaming your experienced Baby Boomers with upcoming Gen Y leaders has a three-way benefit. Your Baby Boomer feels valued because they are given an opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with others. Your Gen Y employee is engaged because she is being groomed for further development and is learning new skills. And your organisation continues to build a culture of learning, sharing, teaching, and growth.

Here at UQ Power, we believe creating the right culture is the number one strategy to building businesses with influential brands. If you want highly specialised support in powering up your people, UQ Power’s Culture Improvement Program will turn your employees into loyal company advocates.

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