At the start of the year I compiled a list of 50 leaders that I wanted to meet, interview and bring to you to share their insight, wisdom and energy.
Of course being an entrepreneur myself the #1 person on my list was none other than Sir Richard Branson. In early 2015 I was delighted to discover myself and my great friend Melissa Histon, Founder of The Sista Code, had been successful in being accepted to attend a Virgin Unite Leadership Gathering called "When bold minds and big thinkers come together" hosted by Business Chicks on Sir Richard's private island Necker.
Virgin Unite is the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group, uniting people and ideas to create opportunities for a better world to shine a spotlight on unacceptable issues; to incubate disruptive collaborations and to empower entrepreneurs to change business by giving access to skills, support and capital.
Headed up by the super smart Emma Isaacs, Business Chicks was created to bring like-minded souls together – to give us a chance to swap ideas, share stories, and spark inspiration. They're a tribe of explorers and a band of big thinkers and I couldn't think of a better group of people to travel to a leadership conference in the British Virgin Isles with!
From the moment I arrived on Necker until today I have felt a definite surge in energy, an expanded reality about what's possible and a new way to view workplace environments. In the spirit of service and sharing I bring you my learnings and insights from meeting and talking to none other than Sir Richard Branson.
If you're on the hunt for a new position or you want to become an indispensable employee who shines, then you want to understand the key traits that managers and CEOs look for in star employees.
Some of the key traits they might be looking for are these three H's:
Happy: No one wants to work with an unhappy person. Energy drainers can bring down their team with their drama, mood and poor attitude and it's no way to earn brownie points. Do a quick self assessment - do you find yourself smiling at work, relaxed and conversing with open body language or are you closed, frowning and frantic all the time?
Hungry: No I don't mean you are in the kitchen snacking all the time! As the old adage goes, time is money. Leaders want people who are driven and hungry, who chase the sale, make the deal and get the job done efficiently and effectively. Do you make the most of every second? Do you hustle in your job duties?
Honest:As an employee, you will be entrusted with inside information that's going to move the company forward. A leader doesn't want to have to second guess if you are going to deliver the work they're paying for and that you're not playing hooky or entertaining the competition. In short don't lie on your resume. Don't lie in your interview. Don't lie after you're hired. Companies don't run well and culture get toxic and poisonous when they don't have honest, decent employees in them.
So how do you go to the next level and get known as a batteries included, star employee? Follow these three tips in this week's episode of UQTV.
At UQ Power our team coach many intelligent, articulate, experienced professionals on the art of a great job interview. And while many of the people we work with have skills for the jobs they are applying for, most of them had come for coaching because they felt they lacked confidence, finesse or experience in delivering a great interview.
One way to ensure you impress at interview is to be prepared for the questions - theirs and your own. There are a multiplicity of questions interviewers often ask, such as:
What is the greatest value you can bring to us?
Why do you want to leave your present position?
What is the most stressful situation you have experienced at work within the past year, and how did you handle it?
Critically then, you must prepare to ask your own questions of the panel or interviewer for example:
What is the most important thing I can do to help within the first 30 days of my employment?
What main factors do you attribute to your growth?
What makes you better than your nearest competitor?
That's a few ideas, want more? Then check out this weeks episode of UQTV where I share a few more that will really make you stand out at interview.
Whether you're a job seeker, consultant or entrepreneur, LinkedIn can be a great resource and asset for your career. You can connect to over 43 million professionals in over 200 countries around the world.
LinkedIn doesn't just provide you with a space to house your virtual resume, it can also act as a cover letter, references document, database of your contacts throughout your life and a place where you can learn, share and interact in a professional manner.
It's important to remember that first impressions count so you want your LinkedIn profile to be a standout. This means you can't afford to have any spelling or grammatical errors and it should be completely filled out, leaving no experience or details out. Think of your profile as an asset and as a portrait of you as a professional who someone would want to possibly hire for a newly available job.
Another tip is to make sure you have a custom URL: that is your LinkedIn URL should appear as "http://linkedin.com/in/yourfullname." If it doesn't, you're missing a vital opportunity to have your profile rank higher in Google and to make it easier for people to find you. To do this, go to your profile and click “edit” and then next to where it says “public profile,” click “edit” again. At the top, you’ll want to click “edit” one more time next to “your public profile URL,” and then type in your full name, without spacing, and click “set address.” If the unique URL is taken, then try using a period between your first and last name or use your middle initial.
In the summary section make sure you include a brief paragraph summarizing your work experience, especially work experience that is relevant for the job you want.Make sure you boost your UQ Factor by sharing your unique abilities and differentiators, such as industry awards and honors. Then share your future career aspirations.
Want more tips to build a powerful personal brand on LinkedIn so that you attract the best network contacts and opportunities? Watch this week's video where I share 3 more tips to boost your brand online.
When it comes to the positivity or negativity of relationships at work, at home and at school, multiple studies have shown that mood is literally contagious. It’s not simply that happy people gravitate to each other and unhappy people congregate in the corner —the people adjacent to you can actually move your mood up or down.
This makes managing morale and protecting a positive company culture extremely important because one unhappy person can infect an entire team. On the flip side, a few satisfied, engaged, high-performance people placed strategically throughout an organization can spread happiness and produce even better results. As a leader or manager, investing in the architecture of your team or businesses social, communication and functional networks is critical to ensure optimum happiness and effectiveness.
Scott Crabtree understands this only too well. After spending 24 years climbing the ladder in the gaming and software industries, eventually leading a team at Intel, Scott observed that the happiest people were also the most productive. The difference was so striking to him that he retired and rebooted his career, founding Happy Brain Science to surface and share the scientific underpinnings of what makes people happy and how that makes them more effective at their jobs and in their lives.
"Happier people are more successful, more creative, energetic, resilient," says Crabtree. "They work better together. They absorb more information. They have more tools in their tool belt to help them handle whatever life throws them. They are healthier, they live longer—and they show up at work more often."
What science has proven and we also see played out time after time through our work at UQ Power is that happiness is not part of a person's genetic makeup, nor a product of circumstance. It’s a choice. We believe business is 100% a people game and that your experience of work begins with you.
Want to overcome adversity, change how you feel about going to work and create a happy virus in your workplace? Then watch this week's video to find out how.
Happiness is an elusive goal; everyone seems to want it, but by all the "shelf help" books out there my guess is that we are still searching for it.
Sure it’s not easy to be happy most of the time and many of the solutions suggested in popular culture take a fair bit of effort and TIME, the one thing we all seem to be short of in modern society.
For example a commonly cited one is to do more exercise. A study cited in the book: “The Happiness Advantage” also confirmed the importance of exercise on our happiness level. Basically, this study looks into three groups of depressed patients found that exercise had the biggest effect in reducing depression.
Others suggest all you need to do is get more sleep. True we spend roughly one third of our lives sleeping, so you cannot underestimate the importance of sleep, in particular nanna naps. An interesting study in 2011 from BPS Research Digest showed how sleep affected our happiness, in particular that people who take an afternoon nap are desensitized to negative emotions and more responsive to positive ones. But who has time for a nanna nap and unless you work at Google is that acceptable behaviour in your workplace?
So what can you do if you're feeling a bit blue and you're time poor? Well you could ask Siri on your iPhone to tell you a knock knock joke (go on try it). Or you could just watch this 4 min video for my two happiness hacks that will have you faking it until you make it and get happy again in an instant:
I love nothing more than working on the human side of business by helping ambitious leaders and business owners to manage their most important resource – their people.
But what do you do when you’re an employee and your boss is driving you nuts with their micro managing and tight leash and they don’t seem to ever let up and just let you get on with the job? If you’re suffering under a container manager then I have good news for you. Today’s how to episode was created especially for you.
At UQ Power we believe it all starts with U, so how you negotiate, provide feedback and manage upwards is your responsibility. If you're at a loss and you just want to sack your boss then you'll love today's video where I share three ways to tell them that they suck...
I bear no responsibility should you choose to use the letter and it doesn’t go as hoped but perhaps just reading it will help you gain clarity on what it is they are doing that gets you fired up so much.
Now it’s your turn. What kind of managers that you have worked for drive you nuts? What are the things they do that frustrate you and leave you uninspired and demotivated? Share your thoughts with our community in the comments below.
Keep on building a life, business or career that plays to your unique strengths – the best thing you can do to change the world is to #startwithu.
When it comes to positive workplace cultures and exemplary customer service, few it seems could rival the happiness seen in Las Vegas based company Zappos. It all started in 1999 when their founder Nick Swinmurn found himself walking around a mall in San Francisco looking for a pair of shoes to no avail and then searching online only to turn up nothing. So Nick decided to quit his day job and start an online shoe retailer... and Zappos.com was born!
At Zappos they believe that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase plays a very important role in how that customer thinks about shopping online again in the future, so at Zappos.com, they have put a lot of focus on making sure the items get delivered to customers as quickly as possible. In order to do that, they warehouse everything they sell, and unlike most other online retailers, they don't make an item available for sale unless it is physically present in their warehouse.
In 2001 Zappos brought in $8.6 million.
In 2003 they reached $70 million in gross sales.
In 2004, they achieved $184 million in gross sales.
In 2008, they hit $1 billion in annual sales, two years earlier than expected.
In 2009, just a decade after their launch the company announced its plans to join the Amazon.com, Inc. family with a buy out worth around $940 million in stock and cash.
In this episode of UQTV we take a look under the hood at Zappos "work hard, play hard" culture to find out how their rituals have delivered happiness and profits.
When it comes to the four lettered 'L' word most people believe it doesn't have a place in the workplace. However recently my team and I had the opportunity and privilege to work with an amazing team at a local aged care facility and we were blown away by their l.o.v.e. Love for their clients, their staff, their suppliers and community.
In a world dominated by endless automated phone prompts and sadly soul-less customer care, when a company gets it right, like these guys have, it gets us excited!
What we discovered was that it is possible not only to talk about love but act from a place of loving kindness in all you do at work.
Heidi Alexandra has been the source of much information strategy and innovation that has seen me push the boundaries on social media internally and improved my local and national profile and that of my firm tremendously. Jeremy Kennedy, Director, Australian Business Lawyers and Associates
I would recommend UQ Power to anyone that is seeking support, guidance and growth in their business. Catherine Miller, Human Resources Manager, Allightsykes