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UQ Power Blog

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 Will it have been replaced by robots and artificial intelligence?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!

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 

Germanwings Crash Why Leaders Must Discuss Mental Health Issues

Alexandria Joy - Monday, April 06, 2015

In the wake of the recent tragic Germanwings crash, the working world is reminded of just how far we still have to go to identify, treat and manage employees living with mental illness and experiencing extreme stress or anxiety in the workplace, especially in high-risk, high-pressure professions.

The tragedy raises many questions for leaders and organisations today and not just should we allow pilots with a history of depression to fly passenger planes? Here are some questions you should consider as a leader:

  • Should we promote employees who have required psychiatric care?
  • Should we approach a workmate we suspect of experiencing depression or anxiety?
  • Should someone on medication for mental illness be allowed to drive vehicles or operate heavy machinery on job sites?
  • Should we permit a person with a mental illness to be promoted to a stressful job?
  • Should an employee ask a supervisor or upline RUOK?

This is a complex issue and has no simple answers. When faced with such complexity it is valuable to begin with the facts:

Fact: Smart workplaces provide support. If profitability and responsible business practices are part of your company’s vision, mental health should also be a priority. Your commitment to mental health should be communicated openly and frequently to all employees. For example as part of induction, displayed in tearooms on posters, as policies and procedures that everyone is aware of and visibly reinforced through the practices of management.

It's one thing to have a policy in place to to accommodate employees with mental health issues, but it is another to create a supportive environment where they don't feel inhibited to take advantage of them.

Fact: Healthy workplaces discuss Mental Health openly. Mental illness is a cloak and dagger affair in many organizations, mentally healthy organisations on the other hand start and continue the conversation. A good test of how supportive your organisation is is to ask yourself this question: “How safe is it in your company for an employee to let their manager know that they are on medication for depression and/or visits a therapist?”

Addressing the issue of mental illness in the workplace has to begin with an acknowledgement that it exists and needs to be discussed openly.

Fact: Healthy workplaces promote a culture of respect. Sometimes the greatest help to mentally ill employees comes not from some kind of official policy but from peers or line bosses who are willing to listen and offer genuine support. The fish rots from the head - organisational leaders and business owners need to make visible, long-term commitments to mental health in their workplaces as they are in the strongest position to positively influence the company culture.

Ensuring robust policies around bullying and harassment is also important, as well as encouraging employees to call out or report any inappropriate behaviour they witness or experience.

My heart goes out to the passengers, crew, families and all those affected by the Germanwings crash, especially the family of our two Australian passengers. The loss of life is heartbreaking and yet it may have opened a door to many employers to start having difficult, compassionate discussions about mental illness. As tragic as it has been, let us not waste this opportunity to create more awareness.

PWC research shows $2.30 is the average return on investment for every $1 invested in creating a mentally healthy workplace. Better productivity begins with a mentally healthy workplace

A positive workplace environment and good mental health go hand in hand. Let's honour those lost by beginning this conversation today.

If you are a leader in your organisation have you tackled any of these questions? How have you opened up dialogue? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you would like to read more about the benefits of creating a healthy workplace environment then you may also like the following articles and videos:

How Balanced Leaders Create Healthy Workplaces

How Workplaces Are Making Us Sick

How Toxic Workplaces Are Killing Us

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.

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!

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?

How to master any skill

Alexandria Joy - Sunday, December 29, 2013

When you want to learn a new skill, how do you usually go about it? Learn first and then practice?  If that’s your method for becoming a genius you’re on the right track, but you’re only half way to becoming a Legendary Master.

Psychologist, Dr Anders Ericsson did a study revealing that those who practiced a skill for at least 10,000 hours were more successful than those who didn’t. No surprises there as “practice makes perfect” right? Well… to a point.

Emotional Intelligence expert and Psychologist, Daniel Goleman explains the problem with this single method:

 “Ten thousand hours of practice may or may not bring you to the top of your game, and the reason is this: if you are a so-so golfer and you have a so-so golf stroke and you practice that golf stroke in a so-so way, in 10,000 hours you are still going to have the same poor golf stroke,” Daniel Goleman

Here at UQ Power, we believe that success is driven by four keys: Vision, Body, Intelligence Quotient (IQ), and Emotional Quotient (Emotional Intelligence or EQ). (We call this the UQ Power House). And when it comes to powering up your IQ muscle, it takes more than repetition to build strength.

Focus is key to boosting your IQ

As we’ve become more digitally connected, we’ve also become more distracted. We suffer from multi-tasking and undertake it with a matter of pride. Even when we’re performing just a single action, our brain remains in multi-task mode; distracted by other thoughts, sensations, and mental to-do lists. 

Continual multi-tasking has led our brains to reconfigure its neurons (the “hardwiring that sends messages”) to cope with only that sort of thinking. So when it comes time to focus… well… we simply can’t.

To become a true master of any skill, you need to focus when you practise. No distractions, no mental checks of what you need to do afterwards – full, present focus.

“Learning how to improve any skill also requires top-down focus. Neuroplasticity, the strengthening of old brain circuits and building of new ones for a skill we are practicing, requires our paying attention. When practice occurs while we are focusing elsewhere, the brain does not rewire the relevant circuitry for that particular routine.

Daydreaming defeats practice; those of us who browse TV while working out will never reach the top ranks. Paying full attention seems to boost the mind’s processing speed, strengthen synaptic connections, and expand or create neural networks for what we are practicing,” Dr Goleman.

Feedback makes perfect

When your golf swing is consistently causing the ball to veer left, it’s time to get expert feedback. A skilled golfing coach can tell you that you’re stance is affecting your swing and that you need to practice standing with your shoulders in alignment to your feet.

While you may learn a new skill quickly and easily, it’s likely that you’ll plateau. To get past it and to continually improve, you need feedback to help you see where your opportunities are and how you can strengthen your game.

In business, a team that performs well consistently still needs feedback. Progression and continual improvement will only happen if the team has an objective view of opportunities and strengths from which they can leverage.

How is your game? Is it time for you to get some feedback and guidance?

Here’s a story of how UQ Power helped McCulloch Robertson lift their game, increasing their cash flow by half a million dollars within a month.

 

Ridding your vocabulary of the "F" bomb

Alexandria Joy - Thursday, December 26, 2013

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!).

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