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Lessons from Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson

Alexandria Joy - Monday, November 02, 2015
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. 



Who inspires you? Who would you like to most meet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Be bold, think big, serve the world

Love 

Heidi Alexandra Joy

Happiness Hacks to Help You Love Your Work

Alexandria Joy - Monday, April 27, 2015

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:


What's your #1 tip for getting happy at work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Don't worry, be happy.
Big smile
Heidi Alexandra 


Do You Have The Leadership BLT Factor

Alexandria Joy - Monday, March 02, 2015
The virtue of a man ought to be measured, not by his extraordinary exertions, but by his everyday conduct. Blaise Pascal

Business leaders and entrepreneurs with the BLT Factor have a distinct competitive edge over others. And as the quote above suggests, it's not that they are necessarily superior, nor achieve extraordinary things, but  that they instill great trust through the little things, and their every day actions and behaviours. 

You can have a compelling vision, focused strategy, excellent communication skills and a talented team, but if you don't have these three things that make up the BLT Factor yyou will always fall short of the results you want. 

What are the 3 key skills that make up the Leadership BLT Factor? Watch this four minute video to find out what they are and how you can apply them to your leadership toolkit:


Have you ever worked for a boss that lacked the BLT factor? How did this leave you feeling and what were the challenges it created in your workplace? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Four Steps To Leading During A Downturn

Alexandria Joy - Monday, December 08, 2014

At UQ Power we imagine a world where people wake up every day inspired to go to work and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled and as though they have had an opportunity to use their unique strengths. 

Sadly this is often not the case. During turbulent times and economic challenges, many organisations and their leaders hunker down and resort to container style management - restriction, rigid policies and procedures, cost cutting and endless accountability trails. 

I recently wrote an article about the ill effects of poor leadership that struck a nerve receiving around 55,000 views and 500 comments about how the quality of your manager is more important to your health than the quality of your doctor. In fact studies from Europe and the US are showing that when people say “my boss is killing me”, quite literally this could be the case. 

The challenge during these tough economic times, particularly here in Australia where businesses who are heavily reliant on the mining, manufacturing and industrial sector are feeling the pinch, is not to fall into this trap and instead continue to inspire and engage people to create a healthy, productive workforce.

So what is the opportunity inherent in the current crushing economic climate and mining downturn? One thing we are discovering through our work at UQ Power is more and more people committed to finding new ways to clarify what matters most, to respect people and their individuality and to experiment with new ways to do things. This change in focus creates what we call a four way win: improved performance at work, at home, in the community and for the self. 

Could the current downturn make it easier to experiment with new attitudes and serve as a catalyst for your own reinvention as a leader? Watch this week's episode of UQTV for four ways you can continue to lead during a downturn. 

 


Now it’s your turn. What opportunities or silver linings have you found during your toughest economic times? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


HOW TO TELL YOUR MANAGER THEY SUCK

Alexandria Joy - Monday, August 04, 2014
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...


Download the entire letter to the Container Manager visit www.uqpower.com.au/sack-your-boss
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.

Heidi Alexandra 
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DELIVERING HAPPINESS DELIVERS PROFITS

Alexandria Joy - Monday, May 26, 2014

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.

Tweet this: @Zappos say that customer service isn’t just a department @UQPower
Now it's your turn. 
1. Have you WOWed at least one person today?
2. What can you do to make it more fun in your workplace? 
3. How do you get your workers and co-workers to grow?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Be Unique
Heidi Alexandra

Whats Love Got To Do With It

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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.

 

Tweet This: "For long term business success, start with your culture." @UQPower #StartWithU

Now, I’d love to hear from you. In the comments section below tell me which one of these strategies:

  1. choose love not fear
  2. be a servant leader
  3. live your values

have you seen in action before and why it worked?

What else could you do to incorporate these principles in your business?

PS: Find out more about fabulous Maroba here http://www.maroba.com.au

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Heidi Alexandra

 

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