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STAY IN THE ZONE OF YOUR DREAMS Welcome to the February/

achieving the result you want. Stay in the zone

March issue of GLOSS packed

of your dreams and actions. Do something,

full of articles, insight and

create a ripple of momentum and focus on the

learnings to take in to your

right things to turn that ripple in to a wave.

own endeavors.

In this issue of GLOSS we hear from Australia’s

It’s been an absolute joy to

youngest CEO, Holly Ransom. Her story to

pull together this SUCCESS

success is inspiring and I particularly love

issue. Success is one of those

her drive, her focused WHY and her active

unique words, banded about

engagement with a circle of influence to drive

in all its glory every single day. Equally, with

her success and growth. Matt Levy AO and

the 24/7 social media coverage of everyone’s

Paralympic Gold Medalist shares his heroes

lives, it can often feel as if everyone out there is

journey to Rio. We can all learn something from

achieving record goals and successes. But as we

his words “I think to achieve something, first you

all know, and many may have experienced, there

need to believe you can do it.” And Mykel Dixon

are always the highs and lows of business and

shares his thoughts on artisan thinking and a

life; the amazing high fives of success and the

renaissance approach to innovation.

sometimes hand braking impact of things not quite going to plan. Success means different things to different people – and that’s ok. Success is multi dimensional – and that’s ok. Success is everything and nothing – and that’s ok.

Enjoy this issue of GLOSS and remember that there is no doubt that each and every one of us can create success on our own terms. Continue to… Connect ~ Inspire ~ Succeed

Whatever your measure of success, make sure to own it and take whatever action you can towards







Janine Garner


Andrea Welsh


Margot Andersen Dr Jenny Brockis Melissa Browne Nikki Fogden-Moore Renata Cooper


Jane Andersen Emma Bannister Mykel Dixon Matt Levy Debbie O’Connor Trenna Probets Holly Ransom Angela Smith Fiona Tuck Lee Ussher Julia Van Graas



© LBDG 2016 All content in this newsletter is protected under Australian and International copyright laws. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of LBDGroup is strictly forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this online magazine at time of going to press, and we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. All rights reserved.

CONTENTS Holly Lot Of Heart........................................................................................................................................ 6

The Heroes Journey And The Elixir Of Gold ....................................................................................10 Get Your Bowie On....................................................................................................................................16 How Startups Are Redefining Success...............................................................................................20 The Quest For Impact..............................................................................................................................24 Your Team Is Your Biggest Brand Asset..............................................................................................28 Artisan Thinking - A Renaissance Approach To Innovation.......................................................30 Your Linkedin Business Growth Plan For 2016...............................................................................34 What Are You Magnifying?.....................................................................................................................38 Brand With Personality............................................................................................................................42 Business Vitality..........................................................................................................................................48 Why Influence Is The Key To Business Success................................................................................52 Being Healthy, Wealthy And Wise........................................................................................................58 Rewiring Your Brain For Success!.........................................................................................................62 Eating For Success.....................................................................................................................................66 LBD’s Out and About ..............................................................................................................................68 Exclusive Book Extract By Georgia Murch........................................................................................72



Holly Lot Of Heart An exclusive interview with Holly Ransom

by Janine Garner

Holly Ransom is the CEO of Emergent, a company that works with leaders, organisations and Governments globally who want to set the benchmark and be frontiers of change and innovation. She is a woman on the move and it’s clear from the very start of our conversation that the work she does is not just so she can reach a societal set career pinnacle. What drives Holly is the fact she knows, at only 26 we can do stimulating, important and change-making work that is heart centred and uses our passions. Holly has surrounded herself with the best and the brightest- the leaders, the game changers, the thought leaders and shifters including the likes of Simon Sinek, President Obama and Janine Allis, because she knows her power as an influential and valuable entrepreneur and change-maker comes from the support team she surrounds herself. You don’t just get to be the youngest person to be named in Australia’s ‘100 Most Influential Women’ by chance. You get there by allowing yourself to be supported by the right people. It is this that Holly has found to take her from where she was, to where she is, and will inevitably take her to where she wants to be. The ‘Why’ as a Reminder When I meet people like Holly, successful, influential, intelligent and kind, I am often drawn to try to understand the everyday essence of them - do they struggle with the same things everyone else seems to - like staying focused and getting out of bed when we are feeling less ‘on’ than normal. Holly refers to a favourite Mark Twain quote of “the two most important days of your life are the day that you are born and the day you work out why.” Her ‘why’ being something, which, it would appear, Holly has worked out, much earlier than most.


Re imaging The Status Quo As a ten year old child Holly recalls being struck by the “why do I have so much when others have so little” question after meeting a homeless man in a shopping centre. She speaks of how this random event lit a fire within her, which would take a few years for her to make sense of. All she did know, at that age, was that it wasn’t right. She didn’t know how to fix it but she wanted to know why. It may have been this moment, and it was likely solidified with many other moments, but this was the beginning of Holly’s passion for “The Why.” A passionate lover of problem solving along with her commitment to questioning the ‘why’ in any situation has helped Ransom to re-imagine new ways to drive social and economic impact. Holly sees her role as a thought leader as including a large commitment to capacity building. She is passionate about developing the next generation with her heart in capacity building. She is dedicated to ensuring that those she leads feel part of the

change and can shake the world up for the better, rather than leading apathetic, disconnected lives. Leading into the Future “One of the best bits of advice I got is - it’s more important who you work with and for, than it is the work that you’re doing.” Holly says that in her experience, “Good leadership must be built on the bedrock of a strong set of values, which infiltrates every aspect of how an individual leads.” This includes the ability to effectively communicate in order to inspire and bring others along on the journey. Waiting on concrete stability, Ransom believes is dangerous and why she believes future proofing, by that means, does not take into account the way the world has been working for the past two decades. Instead she attests to keeping your finger on the pulse and to be aware of what’s happening with this new platform over here that’s fundamentally changing the nature of commerce and consumer interaction with companies, because if that takes off and goes wild for fire, that will take your business out from under you. Holly’s natural proactivity is evident by the way she leads and is supported by her belief that it is important that organisations are making a choice as to how they engage, rather than just sit on the outside not taking risks. She shows, at every opportunity she is one of the brave ones who gets in and meets any challenge. The Challenges of Young Leadership Having grown up much faster than she had expected, Holly speaks of one of the most pivotal moments of her young career being when she made the decision to take the leap from the corporate life. With a split camp of mentors, Ransom had to rely solely on what she had learnt over the past few years of forging a successful career and life for herself. Since making the decision, she sees that is was clear all along that this was the best path for her to take, but she does concede that it has so far been a solid six months of learning and growth, and the shift phase is challenging in ways she had not considered.

Holly does not shy away from admitting that this was one time, where having a broad and diverse range of mentors was both a blessing and a curse. She had been surrounding herself with leaders and not necessarily builders. Designing Support Teams Holly knows the power of ‘me to we’ and adamantly believes that mentoring has played a very large role in getting her to where she is. In her words she is “its single greatest beneficiary”. Having been taken under the wings of many successful Australian’s Holly jokes that if “it takes a village to raise a child it takes a whole army to raise a young woman”. I heard this great quote when I was 19, it changed my life - “How long does it take to learn from someone’s lifetime of experience Lunch.” I was like, “Hold the phone. I can do lunch. I can do a lot of lunches. I can do a stack of coffees.” She is especially thankful for her mentors because unlike many successful young people, her family were not overly interested or engaged with what she was doing or had planned for her life. As a result Ransom looked to her community, growing up in Western Australia, for opportunities to connect and learn from others. Getting from there to here, to where? There is no doubt that Ransom values connection and not just networking for the sake of it. She understands the deep level transformation that can occur when we surround ourselves with the right people in honest, authentic relationships. In her own words Holly says “people are just the be all and end all for me, and one of my four points in my definition of success is that the people I love and care about know that I love and care about them, and I’m doing everything that I can to support their growth, and development, and journey too. So the notion of that ever being transactional just makes me feel ill.” Since her profile has started to rise, Holly has seen first hand how people begin to appear out of the woodwork to ride your coat tails for all the wrong reason. This simply gives her further reason to value authentic connections and her intuition on what motivates others and what their values are.


The things that scare us More recently Holly has set herself challenges with a friend to do things that scare them every day. It’s clear she has no plans to slow down, is in a constant sate of stretching her comfort zone and putting her hand up for opportunities she would normally find too challenging. It’s hard to believe a girl who completed an Iron Man could be scared of anything! Holly again quotes Mark Twain – “It’s actually that courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the mastery of it, and that’s this journey I’m trying to go on. I’m never going to run out of fear, because if I do, it means I’m not pushing myself.” Looking very forward to the horizon Holly sees a legacy on the horizon and it is a view that is clear in feeling but not in vision. Not wishing to avoid committing to a definite plan, Holly is fast to explain that keeping her plans loose is so as to shift with the ever-changing pace of the world on a whole. Whilst she knows the direction, Ransom also has strong faith in the emergence of a path to take her where she needs to be. Holly reminds me, that at any time, to get anywhere, we only really do need to be able to see a metre in front of ourselves to make it, wherever we want to go. This also allows us to move and adapt our direction as the environment changes. Ransom is sure of one thing, she wants to influence, and create what emerges, and play a core role in that. Whatever that means she will be working to engage others in the good journey and making a sustainable strategic impact in the process. Doing it for the We We wind up our conversation with Holly telling me a story of the 85km mark of the ride leg of the Iron Man event she competed in. Feeling ready to give in, facing a 35km headwind, she spotted a mother and two girls in the sidelines. She heard one, at about 12 years of age call out “mum, mum, look! It’s a girl just like me!” Without knowing it, that young girl’s words got Ransom over the line. Just as that young girl said, there’s always someone who is “just like me” showing us, leading by example, inspiring us, and holding us accountable, so that we too can achieve greatness. In the end, the only thing that stands between us and everything we want to achieve might be a 35km headwind. This ends up being insignificant when we have the strength of en entire tribe behind us.


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GLOSS FEB - MARCH 2016 | 9


The Heroes Journey And The Elixir Of Gold An exclusive interview with Matt Levy, Athlete and OAM

10 | GLOSS FEB - MARCH 2016

by Blythe Chidgey

The Ordinary World Most families have that one space kept sacred for the moments in time when a child, parent or sometimes even a pet, makes everyone proud and achieves their version of greatness. It might just be a tiny tin cup, a ribbon they proudly pin to their chest or a big crystal bowl. It doesn’t matter because it’s the significance and the memory of triumph that truly counts. This space might be like the Kerrigan’s “Pool Room”, or an altar of wood and marble so dad can reminisce about his prowess on the football field. Or maybe it’s there so the youngest can feel pride that she won the bravery award at camp. Or perhaps it holds the feeling of jubilation from when someone’s Under 12 tennis team snagged glory from the jaws of defeat one unusually hot summer. Families, much like teams, have shared memories of how they supported each other to glory. Even if it was that one-time mum got really into grooming the family pet and got an encouragement award for her time and effort. More often than not, it’s the story behind the trophy that carries the most significance. When Paralympic Gold Medalist Matt Levy OAM was born, one January, in the late 80s both his mum and he should have been awarded the most valuable trophy of all for their bravery and triumph. They endured a complicated birth, which saw Matt born 15 weeks premature and with a number of disabilities, including legal blindness and Cerebral Palsy, but the challenge did not end there. If the Heroes Journey is one where we must slay multiple dragons to find ourselves holding the treasure, then Matt had overcome more rocky roads on the path to Gold within his first few months of life than most people do in a lifetime. After a profoundly challenging beginning, sheer survival seemed momentous enough to warrant hanging up all expectations for ribbons trophies or medals in later life, but he didn’t. The Call To Adventure With 52 operations under his belt, right from the

very beginning, Matt was aware that life was going to be a challenge. However, with the support of his family and countless medical professionals he was able to live a life without limitations. Matt’s call to adventure was clear from any early age when he was drawn to the water and revealed himself to be a talented swimmer at the age of 12. By the time he was 13, Matt was representing Australia in Paralympic swimming and during the Sydney 2000 Olympics Matt truly saw a vision of his dream. Seeing people with far worse disabilities than his own made him realize that he too could achieve Paralympic greatness, and he set about training. By age 17 Levy was competing in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. The Approach In Matt’s words, “I think to achieve something first you need to believe you can do it. The training is easy compared to getting your mind to think you can do it. That is what makes a good athlete, a great athlete!” The mere fact that Matt can use the word ‘easy’ when referring to his training regime is proof that he is both committed and courageous. His weekly commitment to success in Rio 2016 consists of seven two-hour sessions in the pool, two hours in the gym, one hour of Yoga, one hour of Pilates and regular attendance with a physiotherapist. Add to all of this working as a Change Analyst at the Westpac bank four days per week and you have yourself a person who clearly lives their life with a “no excuses” policy. The Reward As in any Heroes Journey, there is a moment when the hero earns the reward if they should be so brave and resilient. For Matt, this has happened on many occasions since his first Paralympics in 2004. In Beijing in 2008 Matt won his first Gold Medal, and then he repeated the triumph in 2012 in London when he won five medals, one Gold, one Silver and three Bronze. To top everything off in January 2014 he received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his efforts in the 2012 London Paralympic Games. What makes Levy an even bigger hero is that his comments rarely focus on the medals, but more


on the people who have surrounded him on his journey. It is clear that goals reached and personal accomplishments rarely compare to the shared experience of achieving as a collective. As Matt says, when speaking of his experience racing and winning Gold in the 4x 100 Medley Relay, “There are not many times in swimming when you get to complete as a team, to race for three other people and know they have got your back is amazing!” There is no doubt that we can all clearly imagine, that for a lifetime any team can then move on to recall, “Remember that time when we won an Olympic gold medal.” Each member can then relive the moment they stood, as a collective on the podium, or flash to that room in their home, where the medal takes pride of place. In any collective what we achieve as part of a team becomes a shared memory; an invisible line joining ‘Me to We’ and it feels undeniably good to have a tribe with whom to reminisce. For athletes like Matt the memories won’t just be of the moment of glory either. But of the early morning meet ups in the pool car park, the support when injury strikes, or that voice in the night, or message that lights up the phone, “You got this, we got this.” The Road Back Matt’s story is proof that when we refuse to place limitations on ourselves, or others, based on what has happened in the past, or where others have met their limits previously, we can reach an entirely new level of success. When we push past what is expected and into brand new territory, we see a frontier we never would have known existed if we had stuck to our comfort zone. Now, the trophy cabinet at the Levy house buckles under the weight of unprecedented achievement, and not just in the sporting arena. The next leg of Matt’s journey is a focus on the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will come with sacrifice and at a price to him and his family. Not only has there been considerable costs to work towards Matt’s dream of being a Paralympian, but in the lead up to Rio expenses are high. If you would like to consider yourself part of Matt’s team on the road to Rio 2016 you can support him


by becoming a sponsor via Go Fund Me https:// The Return with the Elixir Matt has returned with the sweetest and most powerful Elixir for us all. He proves that regardless of how we start out, or the trials we face, our gift is in sharing the treasure that has the power to transform the world. A message that when we choose not to focus on our limitations and surround ourselves with those who want to see us slay our dragons and reap the rewards, anything is possible. It is clear the journey for Matt is not over, and in Rio we will see the gift of the hero in action, and regardless of the outcome, there will be another memorable achievement to send straight to the Pool Room.

Ask yourself if what you are doing TODAY is getting you closer to where you want to be TOMORROW GLOSS FEBRUARY- MARCH 2016 | 13

s s e n r e h t e g o T , s e o d d n a , n a c e h t e t a e r c m u t n e m o m of ! e g n a h C 14 | GLOSS DEC - JAN 2016

noun 1. a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade. 2. commercial activity.





Get Your Bowie On. Revolutionary. Transcendent. Ageless. Success is the propaganda of rule-makers determined to hold anarchy at bay. And it seems they have most of the Western world in their wily grip as we struggle to attain each of the medals they dangle: education, love, marriage, jobs, titles and money. Humanity puts rules around everything in the hope of bringing control to chaos. The power-hungry love rules which smother individuality and perpetuate their position. Frameworks of expectation and limitations on selfdetermination are the tools of their trade. Indeed, these are the incendiary waters which have fuelled generations of both quiet and dramatic rebellion and revolution. To be clear, I am far too fond of the perks of civilisation to embrace anarchy! However, I do find it incredibly difficult to follow rules that don’t make sense or which limit my ability to genuinely succeed on my own terms. Worse still however, I am incapable of pretending to be something, or feel something that I do not. Daily I wage my own quiet revolution against mediocrity and expectations which don’t make sense. Unfortunately apart from a devotion to colour and glitter, that is where my comparison to the muse of this story, David Bowie, ends. Unlike Bowie, often I still relinquish my self-worth to the assessment of others. Even whilst I fight their rules, I regularly succumb to their limitations by judging my success through their eyes. David Bowie is my hero, the poster child for self-determination.


Bowie’s frenetic, unique dance was a lifelong mission to explore and live outside the parameters of accepted norms. Many dismissed his early years as insane rantings and posturing fuelled by a drug addiction. Certainly these were dangerous, erratic and bewildering times for the man. Over time however he took control back from the drugs and lived an extraordinary, productive and creative life. Every moment was on his terms: “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.” Tony Visconti, Producer News of Bowie’s death touched a nerve deep inside me. I was not alone. Generations mourned his passing. Every tangential, tender, adventurous and, dare I say it, odd fibre of our beings vibrated in sympathy and mourning with his passing. He was a salve to societal wounds. Ironically, history will forever reference the rule book of fame and deem him a ‘success’. But if Bowie taught us anything, success is subjective. So I can only wonder what he is thinking right now. A line from a grand ballad from his last album Blackstar, which was released just three days before his death, gives us some clues:

“I’m dying to push their backs against the grain and fool them all again and again.” From ‘Dollar Days’, David Bowie.

These last words summon a picture of the man, a living god of his times but still just a man, pushing and fighting back against what is expected. Imagining beyond the borders of what is known. That’s what I like to imagine as it ignites my passion to do the same. It is just as likely, however, that congruent with his lifelong method, he is really just keeping us guessing.

Will you indulge me a moment as I chase after him and go star-gazing? The Bowie Effect For more than forty years Bowie was always evolving, changing, and pushing the boundaries of expectation. There are so few artists, or businesses for that matter, which have lasted decades let alone continued pushing forward, innovating and evolving. Even fewer have managed to remain relevant, maintain our attention, fire our imaginations and win our love. Bowie was one of the rarest of that breed. He was a brilliant artist, musician, writer, actor and producer. Effortlessly he created a movement which spread across the globe in a wave of passion and generated loyalty which lasted a lifetime. In the face of all adversity he continued on. Above all, Bowie was a visionary. This is a trait that all great entrepreneurs share. So what is the magic that created the Bowie Effect and how can we sprinkle it on our own lives? * Commitment to a constant journey of curiosity, exploration, innovation and creation. * Walk your own path boldly with courage and unwavering determination. * Embrace your difference as the secret to your personal power. * Accept that things change and you need to be ready to adapt and evolve. * Experimentation is not negotiable. * Ultimately, your personal success can be judged only by you. * Self-belief is the cornerstone to a happy, successful life. Get your Bowie on.



On 10 January 2016, a legend died who was a warrior for difference and self-determination. I believe he is a hero who can live on in our hearts and minds and show us a better way. Let us make this the year of potential and be a bit more like Bowie. Let us tread our own path and define our own version of success. Let’s also be tolerant and supportive of the difference that surrounds us, embracing the uncomfortable and unknown. Bowie famously used the “cut-up method” to coax phrases he’d written into ideas which were stranger, more provocative and ultimately more beautiful. Their difference made us notice, connect and remember. In the spirit of Bowie, R.I.P., I challenge you this year to cut up the rule book. Cut up the old records in your head to create something just a little bit wilder. This year create your own soundtrack. It is easy to allow others to define your success. But real success is shaking off the shackles of expectation and giving yourself the freedom to shine in your own special way. You don’t need approval from anyone else. So don’t let them box you in! Push hard, without apology, to create success on your own terms. Make like Bowie and this year your heart will sing.

Trenna Probert Serial entrepreneur. Creator. Hustler. Aspiring writer. Wife and business partner. Loving mother and step-mother of four gorgeous children. Loyal and loving yet often distracted friend. Champion of people’s right to succeed on their own terms. Passionate advocate of embracing happiness, risk and living freely. Not afraid to fail. Bad with rules. Powerful with freedom and flexibility. Up with the sun full of optimism.


py d co k e n g boo a si ive ’s new en” e c m al Re ouise Wo i of L orthy inanc “W your F ssion. e with ategy s r t S

BUSINESS by Renata Cooper

HOW STARTUPS ARE REDEFINING SUCCESS. If there is one thing almost everyone in the world desires, it is success. Big or small goals, people want to succeed in doing what they set out to do – run a marathon, make a million dollars or save enough money to buy a house. Success is as unique and individual as different personalities. While our desire and appetite for success has not diminished through the centuries, how we attain it, what success means to us and its accessibility to the masses has shifted dramatically since the onset of the digital age. In the 19th Century success was defined by studying and working hard, climbing up the corporate ladder, through new inventions or by being born into wealth that you could cultivate. In fact, MerriamWebster’s dictionary still qualifies success as “achieving wealth, respect or fame”. The Internet and startups evolved this model. Success can now be gained faster than ever and opportunities are more ubiquitous to a wider group of people. It has also resulted in people looking for more than conventional definitions of success and focusing on well-being and purposeful living. Most importantly, it has levelled the playing field between men and women. Success now can mean the same thing to both genders.


As technology and startups revolutionise the very fabric of our society, how we do business and live our lives, it is also redefining success. Here is how. Purpose-led success As the Harvard Business Review (HBR) notes, there are many ways to make a billion dollars: real estate, investing, gaming and entertainment, retail, technology, and good old-fashioned inheritance. But the most interesting (and most respected) businesses and personalities are also the ones with the strongest and most authentic purposes behind them. When I started investing in women-led technology startups, my purpose was to financially empower others to build on their innovative ideas. We all have the potential to be greater than we are or believe we can be. Self-belief is everything and it was my purpose to help unleash that potential. Technology has enabled more people with a sense of purpose to dream big and take action. As Barack Obama once said in his speech at the college Martin

Luther King Jr attended, “Sure, go get your MBA, or start that business. But ask yourselves what broader purpose your business might serve, in putting people to work, or transforming a neighbourhood. The most successful CEOs I know didn’t start out intent just on making money — rather, they had a vision of how their product or service would change things, and the money followed.” Collaborative success Fifty years ago, success was very much personal, individual and familial. Organisational hierarchies meant that success usually came in increments to those who worked hard and smart. The community could participate in this to some degree by investing in company shares.

The nature and structure of startups means more investment of time and money by people into its early stages – ensuring rewards (and losses) are distributed. With increased partnerships and brand engagements, the success of one company usually dovetails into that of others that have invested in the company or do business with them.

As technology and startups revolutionise the very fabric of our society, how we do business and live our lives, it is also redefining success

In stark contrast, when Facebook acquired mobile messaging platform WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, almost all 55 WhatsApp employees became overnight millionaires. Engineers that started with the company earlier and took higher risks would have gained a greater share of the pie. It is the same story with many angel investors who funded Google, PayPal and the likes. Success in the digital age is more collaborative.

Celebrating failure Three out of four startups fail. Which is why it is important we talk about it. The ability to openly talk about failure and laud people such as JK Rowling, Bill Gates and others who failed at first has enabled others to follow their passion and at least give it a shot.

99dresses founder Nikki Durkin is celebrated as much for talking about the failure of her Silicon Valley backed startup as she is for launching what was a unique idea. Silicon Valley made failure normal. HBR states that failure has become de rigueur, particularly in software startups that initially require little capital and small teams. You start with an initial venture concept, put together a team, and launch the venture. You develop minimally viable products, keep testing different market and product hypotheses, and pivot based on the market feedback GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 21

BUSINESS you get. You expect to fail repeatedly and hope to eventually get to a product-market fit. Successful nonconformists PayPal’s former executive vice president and one of its early employees, Keith Rabois said, “We were a bunch of misfits. We were farther removed from the core of Silicon Valley as you could be.”

ts, fi s i m the , the o t s nes ls, re’ o y “He ebe craz the ts, the r kers, a misfi oublem in the tr pegs . the the d n s.. rou the are hole things squ ho see ey’re w th ones ently -- les.... . r u diffe nd of r fo not

Decades ago, being a misfit was a luxury that only artists could afford. Successful people in business were expected to be conformists – rule followers who could work diligently. The digital age and startups have spun this idea around completely.

As Steve Jobs famously said – “Here’s to the misfits, the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they’re not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” As we aim to achieve more, emotional and physical success is becoming just as important as wealth and fame. As we get more power at our fingertips than armies had in the past, we think about the importance of leaving a meaningful legacy behind us. Success will continue to evolve with time and age. With as much opportunities as we have now, it has never been easier to build our stories of success. Dream big, think big, take action.

RENATA COOPER Renata Cooper is the founder of Forming Circles Global, a unique angel investment and mentoring organisation that predominantly invests in female-led technology startups. Committed to empowering women entrepreneurs, Renata has invested in over 100 national and global businesses, individuals and organisations since 2011. She is a member of Scale Investors and a muru-D mentor.



BUSINESS by Emma Bannister

THE QUEST FOR IMPACT From the day we are born our achievements are rewarded – it’s how we learn and it’s where we start in our quest for success: * First smiles… * First steps… * First words… Personally I love the satisfaction of achievement. For me it’s not about more money and more possessions – sure they can be wonderful, but they come at a price. The kind of cost that to me meant sacrificing my family, friends, health and happiness. To me, that’s not success at all.


I’ve run the gauntlet of sacrificing all of the above in the pursuit for more. But luckily, I get to enjoy small moments of success as much as large, and have been able to change my lifestyle to fit. I feel very privileged to have that choice “I cherish the feeling of success no matter how small” Success of course is only measurable in the context of the goal you set. I now deliberately write smaller lists to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction when I tick everything off and start a fresh page in my notebook. My definition of a successful day starts by setting small achievable goals (baby steps) and locking them into shorter productive bursts: * I list what I need to achieve throughout the day (ideally the night before) * This started at about 20 things - now I’m more realistic with 5-10 * I complete the hardest 2 first when I get into work around 7am * I work in small blocks of time and set a goal of leaving the office after lunch * I hit the gym on the way home to my girls, and get ready for their afternoon tea * Oh and meditating twice a day! Living in the world of presentations The same theory can be applied to the success of your presentations. If you set your first goal to be an overnight TEDx sensation that delivers your presentation to a rapturous applause and standing ovation, the likelihood is that you will fail. But, if we set smaller reachable goals that move us along one step at a time – our foundation will be stronger, more tangible and most importantly for you and your audience, the presentation will be more successful. As mentioned before, success looks different to each of us. So, I have put together what I believe makes

a successful presentation through the eyes of those involved. Speaker Success Know your why. What is the primary purpose of your presentation? Are you trying to educate, sell, share results or spread ideas? At presentation studio we define a successful presentation as one that achieves its objectives, something that is often overlooked by the speaker when writing their content. When you are clear on your purpose, you can be clear on whether you achieved it. You also need to be clear on your message. What is the one thing you want your audience to walk away with or do? Use personal stories to emphasise your message and relate with your audience. Ensure you understand and address the needs of your audience. Ken Haemer from AT&T said “Writing a presentation without an audience in mind is like writing a love letter addressed To Whom It May Concern!” You need to paint a picture of them, their biases, needs and concerns. Audience Success Time is precious, and in our time poor nation we need a good reason to leave the deadlines behind to attend presentations. The primary reason for being physically present is to find out more in person, otherwise you can look it up online or read the report. The speaker needs to bring something more, make it interesting and informative in a personal way. Some good measures for understanding if the presentation was a success and a good use of your time is to ask yourself these questions: * Why did I go? * What did I get out of it? * Was the speaker authentic? * Why should I believe them / what credentials does the speaker have?


BUSINESS * Was that a good use of my time? * Visual Success Do the hard work for your audience and display what your data is saying. Don’t display big spreadsheets on the screen, pull out the important message - think visually and use infographics and typography to make it easy to understand. With diagrams and models use animation to introduce the next steps - so the audience follows you - and don’t jump ahead. Visuals can also be used to influence information - different illustrations can make numbers appear larger or smaller. Below are three different illustrations that each demonstrate the same % increase but do so in a very different way.

These are my top tips for a successful presentation: * Always come in under time - allowing time for questions * Be clear in the objective of your presentation * Identify your call to action for your audience * Let your personality and passion shine, give the audience more than a report * Practise, practise and practise some more

Emma Bannister Emma Bannister is an award winning expert and knows everything you will ever need to know when it comes to designing and creating presentations that work. As the Founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, a multi-million dollar business she started as a sole trader almost 10 years ago, Emma is passionate about giving people the power to influence their audience through presentations.


GO and Do great things



by Angela Smith

Your Team is your biggest brand asset. What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘brand’? Many think brand begins and ends with a logo and a tagline. In reality, brand is so much more than your product, a tagline and a handful of visual identity elements, PMS colours or an ad campaign. To outsmart your competition, you need to embrace the real potential of brand – your people. It’s tempting for smaller businesses to think this is the domain of large corporates but nothing could be further from the truth. At the heart of any thriving business are its’ people – and you probably don’t need me telling you this is also the most challenging part. But, what I can tell you is there are ways to make it much easier, whilst also building in immense value to your business. 1. Vision Brand starts with a bold, single-minded articulation of what your business stands for – your purpose, your values, your goals – clearly articulated and clearly accessible to your team. And I’m not talking about a bunch of faux-spirational motherhood terms such as Respect, Trust, Equality or Passion. Instead, meaningful brand statements and their values should distinguish you from others. They should be ‘ownable’ and provide your team with a guide to create a unique way of operating – a DNA if you will.


Take your vision off the page and into daily work practice to find ways to live it each business day. Lead by example to create a brand vision that is credible and sustainable. Let’s say your value is ‘inclusion’, you can bring this to life with less rhetoric and more action: * Ensure your operations or processes are consultative across the business – regularly ask your team how you can improve things, and publically recognise initiatives and suggestions from your team * Share information openly and honestly – including business health * Give others meaningful and public opportunities to contribute to business outcomes * Negate a culture of exclusivity by creating opportunities for your team to work together in different ways – including your recruitment policy 2. Relevance A grand plan is great but you can still leave your individual team members wondering what their role in the bigger scheme of things is. The answer is a JD. No, not the drink, but a Job Description that sets out expectations and responsibilities, creating certainty and purpose for your team so they know why they’re there and how they’re part of your brand vision. Couple great JD’s with achievable KPIs (or personal goals for each team member) that give real

guidance on how to live your values and you’re setting up for brand success. You’ll increase your team’s chances of performing to expectations and provide a framework for consistency – the backbone of every great brand. The other huge benefit of putting paperwork at the heart of your brand plan is retention. The more clarity each employee has regarding their personal purpose within your organisation, the more likely they are to be happy. Happiness, of course, leads to great performance but also ongoing loyalty, and therefore retention. Finally, the less turnover you have, the more consistent your brand experience will be. And you don’t have to punctuate this process with dry documents and overly formal meetings – your process should be on brand too. If you want a ‘fun’ or ‘progressive’ brand culture, consider how to live this when you set up your documents and performance management process.

4. Patience Rome wasn’t built in a day. Brand is a bit like chess: the theory seems simple, but it can take a lifetime to master. Don’t try to do it all at once, and don’t expect perfection. You will make mistakes, and you will need to evolve every day. But if you start out small and build on your successes, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it much earlier. So how does this translate into a vibrant business? Having an in-synch team that embodies your brand means your customers can look forward to a genuinely differentiated experience each and every time. And in so many hyper-competitive categories, that may be the only meaningful reason they’ll keep choosing to come back to you.

3. Empowerment Probably the hardest part for most successful business owners is letting go. In order to leverage the power of your people, you need to allow them the freedom to express themselves – and your brand. Start small. How can they make their space ‘on brand’? Within our agency, we have a strong Brand is a bit knowledge creation and like chess: the sharing culture driven by our value of Curiosity. theory seems Take our weekly Think Tank simple, but for example. Sessions are it can take run by one of our most a lifetime to junior team members, where we share the master. latest ideas in tech and communications. Once upon a time I would’ve curated this myself, but instead, I’ve taken my hands off the reins and have been thrilled with what the team have created. The team named it, they theme it, and every week I turn up and am impressed by what is shared. The conversations are vibrant and sometimes rowdy, but it’s theirs and that’s what makes it work. The cool thing is that this is just one of more than a dozen initiatives that have started popping up since we launched our new brand internally this year. In my case, it took a lot of deconditioning, faith and – to be honest – a handbrake on my ego. You won’t always make the very same decisions yourself but if you have a solid brand foundation, it starts taking on a life of its own, yet still reflects your vision. So far I’ve been blown away by how our agency is organically creating a wonderful culture – owned and made by the people.

Angela Smith Armed with Law and Science degrees as well as Honours in Pharmacology, Angela stands as Affinity’s co-founder and guiding strategic light. Renowned as a brand-building expert, her nerdy fascination with people has strategically influenced household brands like Commonwealth Bank, J&J and Toshiba – not to mention building Affinity into the awardwinning success story it is today.


BUSINESS by Mykel Dixon

Artisan thinking -

A RENAISSANCE APPROACH TO INNOVATION. “As businesses become more dependent on knowledge to create value, work becomes more like art. In the future, managers who have an understanding of how artists work will have an advantage over those who don’t.” — Eric Schmidt, former CEO and now Executive Chairman at Google


We are currently living through an era of unprecedented change. The internet, in all her glory, is responsible for much of the disruption but it’s only the beginning. Every day we hear of a radical new breakthrough in robotics or artificial intelligence and automation is already taking sizeable bites out of the current job market. According to a report released in June 2015 by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, up to five million Australian jobs are likely to be automated by 2030. This sentiment is echoed in Martin Ford’s 2015 critically acclaimed book, ‘The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment’. In it he warns that a large number of university educated, white-collar workers will soon be threatened by new advances in technology. And that the service sectors of countries with advanced economies (eg Australia) are most at risk.

and informed by the diversity of their experience. Which requires them to be open, ready to learn and eternally engaged. Those with an aptitude for empathy will find greater success in business and life. To intimately know your customer, your competitor and your colleagues is a considerable advantage. To have an endless supply of ideas that are born from the needs of others is now imperative. How versed are you in observing, exploring, collecting, listening and sensing? How far will you go to learn from, absorb and integrate the information that surrounds you?

What is crucial to appreciate when speaking about digital disruption is that it’s indiscriminate in its’ application. If they can write an algorithm for it, they will. And they are. Soon, every one of us will need to rethink our strategy for relevance. We’ll need skills that reflect a landscape still undefined. Our success tomorrow depends entirely on our willingness to innovate today. But not just our products or our processes, we need to innovate ourselves. So where do we look for attitudes, behaviours and mindsets that will serve us in a world as complex as it is ambiguous? Who is already fluent, experienced and at ease with such uncertainty? The Artisans Some of us survived the industrialised ideology of last century with our creativity in tact. A courageous few remained close to their innate impulse for imagineering. And now we need them more than ever. These are the Artisans. They write, paint, dance, or play; build, mould, bake, or shape. As an answer to, in spite of and without regard for a world that placed little or no value on their work. Though their expression may show up in wildly different ways, Artisans share a particular set of attributes that are becoming increasingly valuable to all of us. They seek Artisans are by nature furiously curious beings. They are driven by a deep desire to know and feel the world around them. Their work is both inspired

They feel An Artisan is a master of self-awareness. They spend a great deal of time reflecting, deconstructing, reframing and contemplating. They make the time to examine themselves and their world from countless vantage points. In today’s supercharged workplace, it’s essential to know who we are and why. To make decisions that serve our professional goals while remaining true to our personal values is critical if we are to succeed in the long game. In a global study conducted by Korn Ferry in 2015, C-Suite leaders voted self awareness as the number GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 31

BUSINESS one attribute needed to lead effectively today. How attuned are you to the full spectrum of your dynamic self? What practices do you use to get and stay connected? They know An Artisan builds with conviction. It doesn’t matter what they make, what matters is that they make. They are resilient with their intent to create and as such are highly flexible toward change and robust in conflict and crisis.

Above all else, an Artisan is a maker. They learn through action by building, breaking, tweaking, testing and playing.

courageous enough to adopt some of its principles, the future is no longer unsettling. It is a canvas to paint on, a piano to play on, a pair of shoes to skip, strut, slide, shake and groove long after the music stops playing.

These days it’s near impossible to predict outcomes. No one really knows what product will sell, or what post will go viral. It’s often just a case of sticking it out longer than anyone else. This kind of persistence in the face of adversity can be seen throughout silicone valley and the startup world. We need leaders today who balance grit with gratitude. Who are committed to ship their vision and make a difference with the time they have. How resolved are you to do what it takes in the face of seemingly endless rejection? They make Above all else, an Artisan is a maker. They learn through action by building, breaking, tweaking, testing and playing. Often, the true essence of their expression may only become clear once they have completed it. Picasso famously said, ‘I don’t seek, I find’, meaning that he arrives at his masterpieces only through the process of creation. This takes an uncanny ability to surrender your agenda, to trust your talent and make art where others make excuses. Are you a consumer or a creator? A dreamer or a maker? Do you dive in before you’re ready or wait to find fault in the output of others? Success nowadays will be reserved for those willing to use their hands and build beautiful things to find new meaning. Where to now? Art is still a heavily loaded word in our contemporary workplace. The mere mention of it in a business context almost always incites an eye roll or two. But as an approach to navigate the murky swirl of our current economic climate, it’s a goldmine. For those astute enough to see its value and


Mykel Dixon Mykel Dixon is a speaker, author and advisor in the emerging fields of Artisan Thinking and Cultural Architecture. His latest book ‘Just do 5omething: A handbook for turning visionary dreamers into prolific makers’ is a powerful, elegant call to arms for business leaders looking to foster innovation. He works with leading edge individuals and organisations around Australia on innovation, creativity and culture



BUSINESS by Jane Anderson

Your LinkedIn Business Growth Plan for 2016


positioning stand out the most. A quick and efficient I recently met with an electrical way of humanising positioning is to leverage the engineering firm to help with personal brand of roles that have a significant its business growth plan. As influence on business growth, such as technical experts. most of the firm’s clients were manufacturers, its’ client base Until recently, the average person spent two hours per day watching television. According to the Ipsos had dropped significantly and we Open Thinking Exchange, the average person now needed to move fast. The number spends two hours a day on the internet. of clients coming through the IBM’s Global CEO Study found that CEOs believe firm’s website was lower than social media utilisation for customer usual and something had engagement will increase by 256% over five years to become the second-most to change quickly. s popular way to engage customers, after es n si u As a b We undertook a market research study face-to-face communication. owner, it is and quickly identified that the reason why clients stayed with the firm and The customer’s need for information to crucial to referred others to it was because of its’ aid decision making has changed. More gh u ro th t cu people. The firm wasn’t the cheapest than 10 pieces of content are consumed in the market, but it was the highest the noise. before a customer decides to work with quality: its’ staff gave the best advice and clients trusted them.

Previously, the firm’s sales process was about the business brand and product. A lot of cold calling was involved. The firm relied on networking events to arrange meetings with people and referrals. The firm had always valued the edge its’ employees brought to the business, but it hadn’t tapped into leveraging this for business growth – until now. In the age of disruption, where an increasing number of businesses are faced with commoditisation, the businesses that humanise their

you, and up to 90% of their decision is made before they get in touch with you. As we move into the age of information overload, the average person receives more than 200 emails per day. As a business owner, it is crucial to cut through the noise. Simply adding to it is only going to irritate people. One of the tools you can use to increase your business’ humanisation and connection is your LinkedIn profile. You can use your profile to cut through the noise and achieve business growth. There are four key activities involved here, and they are explained by the Connection Matrix.


BUSINESS Quadrant #3: “I know someone who can help me but I don’t know what I want.” In this case, your job is to educate. The person doesn’t know they have a problem or that they need help. By educating them, you’re validating an issue they have – one they may not have considered too deeply before. Ensure you’re putting thought-leading posts on your profile so people realise that they have a particular problem. If someone has a problem but they’re not aware it’s a problem, they’re not going to know unless you point it out. People buy your insights. You want them to read your content and think, “That’s exactly what I’m after. I hadn’t even thought about it that way!”

Quadrant #4: “I don’t know someone who can help me and I don’t know what I want.” In this case, your job is awareness. Your job is to make sure your social profile is clear about how you help people, but it doesn’t stop there. You also must reach out to new contacts who are not in your network. Clients don’t magically appear – you need to be proactive. Your potential client might not need your help right now, but down the track they may realise they have a problem that needs solving and will turn to you. You need to work on all quadrants of the Connection Matrix to cut through the noise and increase your connections with your LinkedIn profile. Yes, it’s easier to help people who already know you, but remember that someone out there is trying to find you and your business, even if they don’t know it yet.


Quadrant #2: “I know someone who can help me and I know what I want.” If this is the case, the customer is going to pick up the phone and call you or email you because they already know who you are. The challenge with direct contact is that you have to be front of mind. Your job is to ensure you remain visible to potential customers and to do this you need to be curating on LinkedIn daily. This only takes 10 seconds to two minutes and is well worth the time. A variety of automated curation tools are available to help you. Remember, just because someone knows you, it doesn’t mean they will remember you.

Quadrant #1: “I don’t know someone who can help me, but I know what I want.” If this is the case with a potential customer, they will ask for recommendations from the people they know. If they’re more extroverted, they are likely to go to their networks. If they’re more introverted, they will go online and do a Google search. If your business is being referred regularly, this means you have a good reputation and you are well-networked. If you have a good reputation, you’ve got good positioning. The problem with someone doing a Google search for businesses like yours is that they don’t know you, so you will be competing against others who have experience with search engine optimisation and Google AdWords. It also means that you will be like toothpaste on a supermarket shelf, looking the same as everybody else. You will compete on price, and that’s a very difficult space in which to sell. So the first lesson here is to ensure your profile has enough keywords to be findable. LinkedIn is first and foremost a search engine, so make it easy for customers to find you. The second lesson is to ensure you’re connected with people you already know. Make it easy for them to pass on your details or introduce you on LinkedIn by making your contact details clearly visible on your profile.

Jane Anderson Jane Anderson is a Personal Branding and LinkedIn Strategist. She works with Thought Leaders and Sales Teams to grow their businesses through LinkedIn. She has been featured in various national television and print media and the host of the #1 iTunes Podcast, the Brand You Show. She is the co-author of CONNECT: Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile for Business Growth and Lead Generation … in Less than 7 Minutes Per Day.


BUSINESS by Margot Anderson

What are you Magnifying?

“Amplifying what is great within you will accelerate your life faster than tying to fix what you think ’limits’ you.”

- Brendan Burchard


Have you ever noticed how when you are in the market for something new, you can’t help but see that particular item everywhere? If it is a black Mercedes, all you see on the road are black Mercedes. If it is a new watch, you can’t help but note what watch everyone is wearing. If it is a new opportunity, it seems everyone around you is taking things up a notch or is on the move (in) to something new and exciting. It’s like the universe has taken a great big magnifying glass and waved it over our immediate world so that everywhere we look those items or situations are there – magnified and screaming out for us to take note. Whilst magnifying glasses are often used to help Much has been written about how when we people see things more clearly focus on leading with our strengths, by enlarging the detail, the reality employee engagement and trust we ten is they don’t actually change the soars which in turn sees sharp All too of size of anything at all; they simply increases in both productivity and are consumed change our perspective so that profitability. Tom Rath & Barry g in try th wi things appear larger. Conchie, authors of the number one best seller, Strengths Based to fix our Interestingly our minds seem to Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams weaknesses – work a lot like a magnifying glass and why People Follow, drew upon – whatever we choose to focus or those of our the extensive work of 50 years of on, the more enlarged the detail s. Gallup Polls and studies of over er mb team me and situation seems to become in one million work teams to try and our mind. Herein lies the lesson on understand why people follow why it is so important to ensure that we the leaders they do. Fundamentally their findings focus our energy on magnifying the right things. revealed the following three habits of successful Dwelling on the wrong things can not only limit leaders: our success but also set our career (and life) on a very different path or trajectory to the one that is * Successful Leaders continually invest in possible if we choose to focus on the right things. their strengths: Rath & Conchie’s studies revealed that engagement increased As leaders of our own careers and those within eightfold when leaders focused on their our business or team, we need to ensure that we employee’s strengths as well as their are focused on leveraging individual strengths own– increasing from 9% to 73%. to drive success. All too often we are consumed with trying to fix our weaknesses – or those of * Successful Leaders surround themselves our team members - when really we should be with the right people and work to acknowledging them and working hard to find maximise their collective strengths: opportunities to collaborate with others whose No business or team’s success can natural attributes, skills and knowledge close the be attributed to one person or skillset. gap on these areas and compliment our strengths. We all need visionaries, influencers


BUSINESS and executors to produce exceptional results. Whilst the best leaders are not well rounded, the best teams are. * Successful Leaders understand the individual needs of their team members: When asked why people follow the leaders they do, they answered with absolute clarity: trust, compassion, stability and hope. Establishing strong connections with your team members that are grounded in transparency and the four attributes mentioned above build loyalty, passion and confidence. Take a moment to consider the success of Apple’s highly regarded co-founder Steve Jobs. Widely recognised for his incredible level of innovation, creativity and commitment to detail in delivering new levels of product excellence, he will always be remembered for his ability to leverage his strengths and not for trying to hide or cover his shortcomings (which were also well known). His ability to surround himself with others who complimented his capabilities ensured not only his personal success but also that of those who he worked with and the business he led. He was also able to take people on a journey and understood what he needed to give to ensure success. In short our strengths will always eclipse our shortcomings if we choose to play to them. This does not for a moment mean that we provide ourselves with a way to excuse poor behaviour. Negative behaviours will always impede our ability to maximise success so we need to ensure that along the way we do our best to minimise or eliminate them. So how strong are you at magnifying and leveraging your own skills and talents and those of your employees to create and produce extraordinary results? I would strongly encourage you to take the time to take an honest look at what your core strengths are and how you are using them. All too often I see people who are stuck in roles and responsibilities that are not playing to their core strengths because they have failed to identify what they are or be prepared to work with others who can help them achieve success. Consequently not only is productivity compromised so to is fulfilment. Learning to acknowledge what we are good at, to let go of what we are not and to collaborate with other highly skilled and like minded individuals is what will see us all achieve greater levels of success.


Margot Anderson Margot Andersen is the owner of talentinsight – a management consultancy specialising in the optimisation of careers, performance and business workforce planning solutions. Working with individuals and businesses alike she is passionate about seeing ‘the right people, in the right place at the right time’. Working to align careers with talents; and ambitions with opportunities she and her team provide coaching, training and talent advisory services.




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by Debbie O’Connor

Brand with Personality


Since humans could communicate, we have been telling stories. Stories that capture our attention, evoke emotion and connect us. Whether they are stories told around a campfire, passed down from father to son, fairytales or even passages from the Bible, stories are a big part of what makes us human. Having a good story makes the relaying of the message so much easier – just take a look at Rhonda and Ketut!

full of wisdom and always very professional. Oprah is what we call The Sage personality. Ellen on the other hand is playful and joyous. She takes things (and herself) lightly. She likes to create a little fun/ chaos, is impulsive, spontaneous and appears to live in the moment. Ellen is The Entertainer personality. Both are just as effective - different reasons, but they wouldn’t be as credible if they swapped personalities. Brand Personalities are incredibly useful when strategically developing and creating brands that have meaning. They relate better to individuals and target audiences. To start this process, we need to identify the primary Brand Archetype or Brand Personality. This is the inherent brand personality that people relate to when they look at a brand to assess if it is attractive to them.

When we look closer at these stories, there are Why does Apple have a far more loyal client base certain characters that keep popping up. Whether than IBM, yet their products are more expensive? it’s an innocent maiden, a knight in shining armour, a wise old man Humans are creatures of habit and or a magical fairy, somehow we Why does Apple tend to identify with things that they understand their personalities and are familiar with. The challenge is to have a far more identify with them. introduce/educate them on the product Our job as brand specialists is to create this same connection between customers and the business. So what exactly is Brand Personality?

loyal client base than IBM, yet their products are more expensive?

Based on the concept of 12 Personality Archetypes by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, we believe that in modern society these 12 Archetypes can be effectively utilised in branding a business, and give them attributes that can enhance, impact and give leverage to their message. These personalities are based on different motivations for the observer. Let’s take Oprah and Ellen for example. Both are talk show hosts. Both have a huge following, command attention and respect, but for different reasons. Oprah is positioned as a thinker and philosopher. She reflects on life, is an advisor to many, and due to her life experiences she is highly credible. Added to that, she projects the image of confidence, is

and brand, instilling in them knowledge about the brand and its attributes that are meaningful to them. To start this process, we need to identify the primary Brand Personality. These are the inherent attributes of the brand that people relate to when they look at something to assess if it is attractive to them.

With the daily bombardment of data from social media, mainstream media, emails, videos, SMS’s and so much more, it is harder than ever for brands to cut through the clutter and not only stand above the masses, but resonate with their target audience. Branding with personality is becoming more and more relevant and important. Brands need to appeal directly to their markets needs and desires. Like attracts like, and if your message connects with your clients, you will have a higher buy-in and better retention rate. Building a brand that reflects a personality is far more powerful than a cardboard cutout that simply has a pretty logo. GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 43

BUSINESS Disney has positioned themselves as ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’. When taking a closer look at their brand it becomes quite obvious that Disney is The Innocent brand. The attributes that they live and breathe by are that of happiness, optimism and wholesomeness. Everything about Disney – their theme parks, characters and movies are aimed at families, they are pure, honest and trustworthy. Families know that their children will not be exposed to foul language, bad ethics or unsavoury characters. Now, we are not all Disney and we don’t have the budget or history that they have, so how do smaller businesses go about defining their brand personality? The trick to ensuring that you get an accurate result is to keep in mind that you are not branding ‘what’ you do – you are branding ‘how’ you do it. If you run a restaurant, you are selling food – that is what all restaurants do, but how you do it is an entirely different thing. How you do it sets the scene, it crafts your personality and helps create an experience for the client. Your restaurant may offer a casual, family friendly, quick food service, perhaps it’s a more trendy, creative food establishment with quirky décor with live entertainment. Maybe you offer fine dining with silver service, white linen and petit fours to finish off your meal. All of these options are great and cater for a different target audience, however adding personality to your brand will not only set you apart from your competitors, it will attract the right people to your business. Knowing your brand personality is all about clarity. Clarity on what image to craft, colours to implement, how to talk to your clients and what language and tone to use. Being clear on ‘who’ you are as a brand is critical. If you aren’t sure on your brand, how can you expect others to be? How can you even begin to tell your powerful story? Understanding your brand personality is essential for your brand to have impact, purpose and ultimately a better bottom line. This clarity is important to direct the same message through your entire business, and will help your team understand how to tell a consistent brand story and become brand ambassadors. People love to be engaged and entertained. We all love a good story… after all, we have been telling stories since we could communicate.


Debbie O’Connor Debbie is a brand consultant, the creator of Brand Personalities and encaustics fanatic. She is the founder of multi-award winning creative studio White River Design (WRD). Her passion has always been in branding and packaging. With design experience that covers three continents, Debbie is renowned for her strategic thinking and is a sought after consultant to businesses needing assistance with their branding.

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MONEY by Melissa Brown

Business Vitality By now we’re over one month into the New Year and as Oprah famously says, ‘one thing I know for sure’ is that most New Year’s resolutions have been tried, tested and are already starting to fail (if they haven’t failed already.) That’s because the idea of resolutions, goals and what we’re going to achieve this year is intoxicating. Pre 1 January that is. We’re captivated by the concept of a clean slate, fresh possibilities and a year where we’re going to act differently damn it! However, one month into the New Year and we’re working out that the fireworks released at midnight weren’t magical and the same habits we had on 31 December are still with us. Which means our resolutions are starting to go gently into the night. Bummer, right. So is it too late? Like Cinderella, are our New Years resolutions destined to turn into pumpkins at midnight? Or can we somehow salvage the goals we made for 2016? The short answer is yes. And no. If we continue on as we have then no - of course


those goals won’t come true. That’s because there are no magical shoes, wands or fairy godmothers coming to save you. But the answer could be yes if we dared to ask ourselves a different question. Instead of what do I want to achieve, we might consider asking in its place, what am I prepared to suffer for? That’s because simply making New Year’s resolutions are easy. They might include I want to buy a new house, find a new job, start a business, lose weight, find a partner, go overseas, save more, retire, discover a magical pony with sparkly yellow wings that will sing sweetly to me each night as I go to sleep. OK so that last one might have been a tad ridiculous but really it’s all just a wish list at this stage so is it any more fanciful than the previous ones? Is it any wonder that on the 2 January most New Years wishes have already been discarded? But not everyone ditches their New Year goals on January 2. Some diligent folks will even sign up to gym classes, hire a personal trainer, make an appointment with a financial planner or accountant, sign up to RSVP or set up online bank accounts so they get serious about saving. Often taking the first step is easy and kind of exciting. It’s the second week of 6am starts to meet your personal trainer when you’re not on holidays where the suffering starts. Or dealing with sugar cravings at 4pm every day and trying desperately not to give in to the calling of a Tim

Tam. Or going out on two dates with total duds and feeling that it’s just hopeless so you cancel your RSVP subscription. Or saying no to a day or shopping with girlfriends because you know you’re willpower won’t hold out and sitting at home miserably wishing you were there.

you may not be prepared to suffer and sacrifice for it. The trick is to make sure the goals are what you really want and only then to ask if you’re prepared to suffer for them.

I think by sugar coating New Year’s resolutions we only harm ourselves when we end up berating That’s when we start to figure out whether ourselves for being quitters. Instead, the kinder the goals that we made are worth it or not. By approach is to ask ourselves honestly and upfront, whether we are prepared to suffer to reach them. what am I prepared to suffer for? Personally, I’d like Which is why I think that we may as well deal with to get fitter this year and maybe lose a few kilos the suffering head but I’m not prepared on when we’re to give up my daily making goals. To chocolate fix for it so “If it’s sending your kids to private school look suffering in the my suffering is going are you as a family prepared not to go eye, decide if the to involve exercising on an expensive holiday and to cut down goal is worth the every second day. Time extra curricular activities for the next pain and make a will tell whether I want few years? ” plan for what you’re it badly enough. going to do when What about you? What are you willing (and not it rears its ugly head. That’s why I think ‘what are willing) to suffer for in 2016? you prepared to suffer for this year’ is a much better question than, ‘what are your New Year’s Resolutions?’ So whether your 2016 goal is to purchase an investment property, share portfolio, contribute the maximum to super, donate more to charity, send your kids to private school or holiday overseas then your first question should be, what am I prepared to suffer for it? If it’s a holiday overseas are you prepared not to buy any new shoes this year? If it’s sending your kids to private school are you as a family prepared not to go on an expensive holiday and to cut down extra curricular activities for the next few years? If it’s buying an asset, are you prepared to suggest to friends that you get together for a BBQ rather than cocktails at the trendy new wine bar just opened? If the answer is no then either the goals are wrong and you didn’t really want them or you need to do some serious work on your willpower! That’s because if we want to achieve our goals it requires us to make sure they’re aligned with our values and not because they’re something we think we should want. If your partner wants you to lose 5kgs and you don’t then you’re probably never going to lose the weight (unless you were to lose the 80kgs that is your partner instead.) If you want to start a business this year, your suffering is probably going to include risk, sleepless nights and some 60-80 hour weeks. If you’re not interested in that then you might want to reconsider whether you really want to start a business. If you don’t value private school education but you feel obligated to send your kids to private school then

Melissa Brown Melissa Browne is CEO of A+TA (Accounting & Taxation Advantage), Director of Business at Thinkers.inq and author of More Money for Shoes and Fabulous but Broke. Find out more at www.

GLOSS DEC - JAN 2016 |



A master has failed more times than a beginner has tried 50 | GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016

noun the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproductions, functional activity and



continual change preceding death.


LIFE by Lee Ussher

Why Influence is the Key to Business Success Everyone of us creates influence - whether it’s locally or globally. Reputations and word of mouth business is built from influence. And with the evolution of most business activity readily searchable online this does have an impact on your business’ ongoing growth and success. You may not think you need to have a strong digital presence to increase business, and therefore have it at the bottom of your list of priorities to monitor. Sadly, a lot of businesses think that if it’s not a focus to spend money on digital marketing, then it’s not a priority to keep their website or social media profiles up to date to maintain a level of authority when people search them. But it is.


We live in an age where we instantly pull out of our pocket the one item that holds the answers to everything - our smart phone. Not to call a friend and say ‘do you know’, but to Google the solution. To find the business or person who meets our needs. Because of today’s fast paced, immediate solutions focused world of “I need it now”, Google determines your reputation. Google determines if you have influence - locally and globally. Therefore, Google is controlling to some extent the successful growth of your business. Now I’ll expand why: Google aims to deliver the most relevant search results based on your keywords AND your location. So when was the last time you checked your reputation on Google products such as Google Maps, Google Plus, Reviews and YouTube? When was the last time you searched your own services in your area to see how much influence you have in the search results?

Creating digital influence doesn’t need to be costly - it needs to be consistent. Consistent in the message and professional appearance of your website and social media profiles Look at your presence as a new customer and assess how confident you would be in using your business. It’s a great start to review and refresh your business position.

excellent way to build credibility and familiarity, which creates influence. Everyone wants to invest in the best, so it’s vital to focus on building a credible reputation and influential presence. This way, you easily set yourself apart from the industry competition when people search for solutions. If you don’t, then you are just one of the unmemorable many in the crowd.

Consistent in the timing of blog and social content that you deliver - once a day or once a week. If you are spasmodic it indicates you are unreliable, disorganised or worse still if you haven’t blogged or posted in 6 months - out of business. Consistent in the relevancy of information to your target audience There is a level of personal information people like to read about a business but keep it balanced and relevant. If you are a budding food photographer and your Instagram is full of #foodporn, then keep it relevant to your business meetings and events. It is also subtle marketing of who you are associating with, where your business is located etc. Consistent in the keywords in your blog and social posts We all understand the purpose of consistent use of relevant keyword phrases in pages, article titles, meta descriptions and categories of our website but it still surprises me how many businesses don’t consider extending this organic marketing strategy to include it in their social presence descriptions, posts and hashtags in order to strengthen their relevancy in social searches. Consistent in responding to people and delivering your service We are all familiar with the term ‘it’s not what we say about us, it’s what others say about us’. Word of mouth marketing has been proven to be the most cost effective way to attract and convert new clients. Focusing on delivering great experiences and encouraging customers to leave Google and Facebook reviews creates digital word of mouth that is on display and considered by potential customers as a source of credibility about you. Consistent in exposing your business via ads, PR, sponsorships, cause marketing etc.

Lee Ussher Lee Ussher is the leading social media strategist at Buzz Web Media, a digital management agency specialised in establishing brands and expanding customer reach online. As a speaker and media commentator, she is referred to for her thoughts on digital trends and presented alongside marketing directors of Telstra, Optus, St George, NAB, and ABC at national forums

Just like word of mouth marketing, developing brand associations by contributing to media, sponsoring relevant events or organisations is an GLOSS DEC - JAN 2016 |



Where were you born and where did you spend your childhood?

In Her Words

Julia van Graas

I was born in Merriwa, a small country town in the middle of the Hunter Valley, population 1000. I had an idyllic childhood running around barefoot on a farm with a pony, a stray cat, a pet calf, my little brother and my parents for entertainment. It was a rude shock to the system when we moved down to Sydney when I was age 5 to start primary school as I missed being on the farm. I quickly adapted to life in Sydney’s lower north shore when my family settled in Lane Cove and has remained since. Where did your professional dream begin? I remember from as young as 8 or 9 thinking about having a ‘career’. At various stages over the years I wanted to be an air hostess, hotel manager, farmer, detective, lawyer or a psychologist. Coming from a family of accountants and business professionals though, I always knew that accounting provided a great foundation for understanding how a business worked. Dinner time conversations included talking about how the financials worked, management, leadership issues, and once I’d studied economics in my HSC I was hooked. I won a scholarship to complete the Bachelor of Accounting at University of Technology in Sydney which enabled me to complete my studies whilst getting hands on experience working in corporates. From my first day “working” I knew that I would love working as a business consultant. Tell us more about what you do? I’ve just recently joined EY as a Partner in the Transaction Advisory Team, where I specialise in Business Resilience and Turnaround Services. I have over 14 years’ hands-on leadership experience working with management teams and boards to help them turnaround underperforming businesses. On a day to day basis, this means working with my clients to help them prepare achievable business plans, manage cash and liquidity issues, rebuild stakeholder support, implement operational restructuring and provide the leadership and governance to guide them


through what is often a difficult and stressful situation. What have you learnt about yourself during your career? That I love the thrill of a crisis and being thrown in the deep end! I work in situations that are stressful, time critical and have a lot at stake. But I love being able to help coach and guide the individuals through this difficult period by being cool, calm and collected. What 3 key gems of advice would you share? Getting it done is better than getting it perfect - we all have high standards but aiming for perfection can sometimes lead to procrastination and indecision. Get the facts you need, understand the situation, make a decision and back yourself.

Your favourite things: Destination: Paris (food), London (friends), Botswana (luxury safaris) Drink: Depending on the time of day - green smoothies, flat whites and Champagne App: WhatsApp – to stay in touch with my brothers who live in San Francisco and Abu Dhabi. If you were a hashtag what would it be?


You can’t always determine the outcome, but you can determine how you respond. How resilient and adaptive we are in difficult situations is what sets apart those who kick goals and those who sit on the bench. Nice girls can get the corner office – be assertive, authentic and back yourself What are some of the mistakes you made and learnings from them? Lots of mistakes all the time! Most recently… despite time constraints, the investment of time spent upfront thinking strategically about the bigger picture is so important before diving into the detail. And always keep a spare pair of stockings in my laptop bag… guaranteed to rip when you’re on your way to an important meeting! What keeps you going? Coffee and adrenalin at the moment! Between starting a new role, having a toddler, spending quality time with my hubby and seeing my family and friends, it feels like a bit of a circus some weeks. I think I need to get back into daily meditation! What’s next in the journey of BRAND YOU? Having recently joined EY to set up a new business, I’m excited about harnessing the collective energy and capabilities of our team to help our clients through difficult situations. On a personal basis, I’m really focussed on finding a way to continue doing what I love but bringing more flexibility to my weekly routine.

Julia van Graas Julia is an experienced turnaround and restructuring professional with over 14 years cross-border experience across Australia, United Kingdom, Western Europe and United Arab Emirates. Julia’s expertise focuses on working with and alongside company management and boards to plan and implement turnarounds and restructurings, delivering outstanding results in high pressure environments whether in a distressed situation or with a healthy company wanting to improve performance.




pronoun used to refer to the person or people that the speaker is addressing.




YOU by Nikki Fogdon Moore

Being Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Do you have lots of great ideas, wish lists, mood boards and todos... that never eventuate to anything? Is procrastination and day to day life getting in the way of really creating the life that you love? Ever wondered what everyone is going on about with their 90 day plans? Think this is just for corporate?

Think again. Welcome to the art of the 90 Day Planning. The 90 Day Plan is a simple, effective tool to make sure you’re staying focused and on point for reaching your real goals. This is not a new concept - in fact it’s used in almost all the coaching, business and development plans we know. It works. So are you using this? Total Vitality comes from living your life with all areas in consideration, not just work, or family or


fitness or creativity - but considering how you can bring balance into all those areas on a daily basis and create a game plan for each quarter that gives purpose to your passion and your dreams. There is nothing more powerful than the practical art of planning. The best way to create sustainable success is to deploy your 90 Day Plan. In this issue I’ll share: How to talk less about resolutions and more about creating action Working on FOCUS for what you really want to be achieving at the end of 90 days Understanding the segment in each 90 day plan Making sure that the goals you do write down are really relevant to you and resonate Groundhog Day If you keep putting the same goals down on paper every year and you don’t achieve them, are they really ones you want to achieve? Or are you just doing it out of habit? It’s time to start getting realistic and to avoid the storytelling in your head.

Be inspired by what people can achieve, but define goals that are relevant and special to you. Find your WHY. If you have a strong conviction for what you want to achieve, you won’t be taken off track.

What is a personal goal that you have? Do you have health, fitness and wellbeing goals? Do you have any financial goals? Don’t forget to declutter your finances!

Ask yourself, “Are these my goals? Is this important to me? Would I do anything possible to achieve them?” If you can answer yes to all those things, then you’re right on track.

Write out where you need to be in 30 days to be on the trajectory to accomplishing your quarterly goals Where should you be in 30 days to actually achieve and get you closer to those 90 day goals? What points and tasks and action steps do you need to take that will fulfil the 90 day goals, lead you to them, and actually be a part of that strategic step? Choose actual tasks that you can be clear on and check off your list. Take some time to write that down and make sure that you figure out those action points. What specific times or specific budgets do you need to have put aside to achieve your goals? Specificity is the key.

6 Steps to DO NOW for your 90 Day Plan:

Download and print the 90 day worksheet If you don’t have a printer, you can just draw up your own sheet. You can have this print out as many times as you like--it’s a key part of the Vitality Road Map program and part of the discipline is having it out in front of you not just in your head. Choose what core goals you would like to achieve in the next 90 days. After printing out the worksheet, you need to think about what you really want to achieve this year and divide into the quarters. Or just start with what do you want to achieve in the next 90 days. Be sure to think about all of your pillars of vitality: work, family and friends. Remember: this is not a work-in-progress sheet where you put everything on this list. This is about being focused and thinking about what the three most important things you would like to have achieved in the next 90 days. Whatever they are, these goal have to be YOURS. Where is your focus going to be? Where do you want to be within the next 90 days? What things do you want to look back on and cross off your list on that piece of paper? Who do you want to spend more time with? Do you have a goal to spend more time with yourself to bring harmony and balance back into your day?

Determine what specific actions you can take in the next 7 days to build momentum towards your goals. The third step is working backwards into the next week. Do you need to set a meeting with someone? Do you need to create a marketing plan? Do you need to set up an online sales landing page? Do you need to book in some time with your spouse or partner so you can have some time for yourself and get them to look after the kids? ROADBLOCKS Write out those negative thoughts that are preventing you from achieving your goal. What stories do you tell yourself that are standing in your way. Write them down, recognise them but do not be governed by them. Grab a sheet of paper and write down all the things your inner voice pops up and says to discourage you from achieving your goal or task. Inquire where that thought comes from. Is it really real? Is it true? Or is it just a manifestation of fear or of lack of self trust? You can recognize it for what it is--it’s just a thought--and you can easily get past that with dedication and conviction for what you do. There’s a really good podcast I did with Mike Duff (it’s a two-part video series on the Vitality Show as well) about the power within and how we create all these stories as we grow older, these internal dialogues that don’t really need to exist. We can overcome those by understanding they’re purely things that are intangible, and when you recognize what you truly want and what you’re truly capable GLOSS FEBRUARY- MARCH 2016 | 59

of, nothing can stand in the way. Precision, focus and purpose. Pick THREE things to you can do TODAY to set yourself up to reach your 90 day goal. As soon as you finish writing on your plan, what are the 3 most important things you need to do RIGHT NOW to work towards your goals? What three things are vital for you to start the trajectory to achieve your goals? Who do you need with you to help you? Have that conviction for what you want to do with your life, why you want to achieve it, and how you’re going to get there. Whether you’re running a business, a family, or you’re just getting some personal goals up underway I can’t wait to connect with you and see you shine.

And it’s my pleasure to be able to announce the Vitality Road Map official online program is LIVE! This includes all the videos, podcasts, worksheets, emails, and my official online program. For those of you that can’t come to my retreats or come to a workshop or coaching, this is your chance to really get some value for your money and have me as your coach online wherever you are in the world.

Find a buddy to be accountable to. Form a mini mastermind for you to plan every 90 days, to review it, to have that piece of paper front and centre. This is your year to design the life that you love, and I’m here to support you the whole way. If you have questions, you can hop onto the Facebook page Nikki Fogden-Moore The Vitality Coach @nfogdenmoore and send me a message or load up some comments.

Nikki Fodgen Moore Yours in Vitality

Coach Nikki

Nikki Fogden-Moore specialises in coaching high achievers to bring business and personal vitality to life. Engaging in next level thinking to create harmony and purpose. She runs tailored corporate vitality programs, writes regularly for several business magazines, is the head trainer for Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine and has been running leadership and private retreats for over a decade internationally.


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w w w. b r i n g h a p p y b a c k . c o m . a u GLOSS FEBRUARY- MARCH 2016 | 61

YOU by Jenny Brockis

Rewiring Your Brain for Success! “He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it; Who has left the world better than he found it, Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration; Whose memory a benediction.” Bessie Andersen Stanley


If your success were the title of a poem, what would yours be? Success can look like so many different things. It could be passing your driving test on the fifth attempt. It could be completing your first marathon, getting your cheese soufflé to rise or perhaps making a million dollars. Success is that wonderful sense of having achieved something worthwhile that rewards us and makes us feel good. Perhaps the best interpretation of success I have heard for a while was spoken by the recipient of one of this year’s Australia Day Awards. She said “I now understand why they these awards are called honours, because I feel so deeply honoured to be acknowledged in this way.” Humble, grateful and happy - achieving success in whatever coat it turns up in, the beauty of this is how this inspires us to move forward to even greater heights of success, not just in the field for which we have become known, but in others areas of our personal lives too. Success breeds success. Think of a successful person you know; Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Novak Djokovic. What do you notice about them? They may be known as the successful TV host, philanthropist or tennis player but they also enjoy success in their relationships (well not always!), in their academic or other business achievements and in their sense of wellbeing. This doesn’t occur due to chance. It reflects the way our brain has evolved to handle success or failure. Research has shown how what we consider as success - is associated with increased connectivity between certain brain areas when at rest. Having a strong set of positive personal qualities leads to a x3 stronger correlation with how different parts of our brain talk to each other. What does this mean? It’s about how well our mighty subconscious draws together associations of ideas, thoughts and memories that we can draw on when working

hard on solving a problem, creating a new program or experiencing an insight. Increased inter-neural chatter is vital to how we engage in our imagination, reasoning, decisionmaking, sociability and memory. Like a talent scout, our plastic brain is always on the look out for the next “big thing” in what will drive connectivity and ideas. Wired to succeed. Can we rewire our thoughts to help us achieve greater success? Absolutely - though naturally the disclaimer is this can’t be guaranteed! However the neuroscience has revealed how we can move us towards our goals using the power of conscious choice, to strengthen our positive memories and weaken those that could otherwise hold us back. Working with our neurobiology in this way takes time, effort and a dogged perseverance. But as we all know, overnight success has always been a myth.

Rewiring our memories for particular events (both good and bad) will influence our attitude and behaviour in the future. Just as writing an article or a book benefits from a little editing, our memories do too. Moreover because you are already the CEO of your own memory suite you have continuous and ready access to perform all the necessary editing required. Bringing memories to surface. While the premise has been to think of our longterm memories being stored as whole, complete items in handy folders in the filing cabinets of our mind, each memory is broken down into its significant components that are stored accordingly in the relevant parts of our brain. This means a visual component - the outfit we wore will be stored in the area associated with vision, a favourite song in our auditory region, the smell of fresh grass in our olfactory area. Each time we recall memory, its components have to be rapidly GLOSS FEBRUARY- MARCH 2016 | 63

YOU reassembled and brought back to our level of conscious awareness.

we understand rationally that no new venture is without risk.

As you might imagine this reconstruction period can be fraught with potential error, but is also the best time for purposeful editing, adding a little extra colour or sparkle.

You can choose to edit these negatives to reduce the amount of pain felt so that on further the pain isn’t quite so bad, the humiliation less intense. It might be possible to see the funny side of those times when things didn’t work out the way we had hoped such as the time you fell off the stage in front of all your peers, or threw up on the person you had picked out as being ‘The One’ you had hoped to spend the rest of your life with.

We’ve all heard about the size of the fish that got away that gets bigger with every telling of the story. Strengthening the good. Our memories remain fluid for a long time, in some instances up to ten years before becoming more fixed, so there is plenty of time to rewrite our novella of success. Emotions deepen our memories, so adding more positives to our memories takes them from good to great!

Revisiting old flames and memories can, when handled well, boost your propensity for achieving greater success in your life. So what are you waiting for? - You can book your ticket for the next showing of Rewired for Success right now.

This not only then makes that positive memory stronger, it’s even nicer to recall it. That extra surge of dopamine then motivating our desire to repeat those activities that courted success the first time. Imagine. You just won the tender for a major contract. It’s guaranteed to bring you and your company a substantial income for the next couple of years. Finally you have the chance to realistically consider paying off your mortgage, going on that long over due family holiday or just not to having to worry about being able to pay the bills at the end of each month. Does that feel good? You bet. Can you add to the positives of that memory? Oh yes. Do you believe that you can do so much more to add to this? Of course! Weakening the bad. Conversely, weakening those thoughts and memories that don’t make us feel good help in boosting success too. Not to create a Pollyanna brain but because while we like to think we can learn from our mistakes, which is what we tell ourselves we do, the reality is that an unpleasant memory makes us more risk adverse and unwilling to try that new activity again. For example what if you remember the bad feelings associated with losing a great client, or suffered a financial loss from partnering with the wrong person when starting up a new business? Those memories can hold us back, even though


Jenny Brockis Dr Jenny Brockis is the Brain Fitness Doctor and author of Future Brain: The 12 Keys To Create Your High Performance Brain (Wiley).

GLOSS DEC - JAN 2016 |


YOU by Fiona Tuck

Eating for Success When we think about success, really think about what it is you want to achieve this year and what it is that is really stopping you from getting there. Cleaning up your diet and ditching the processed food is a fabulous step towards personal success but to be really sure that those new habits become lifelong changes the first place to detox is our minds from any negative thinking. If we can free ourselves from limited beliefs, negative thinking and self-doubt we can achieve anything we set our minds and hearts to.

What you focus your energy on grows. If you focus on health you become healthier if you focus on your lack of money you feed the energy of lack and perpetuate a never ending cycle of never having enough. Focus on abundance and you will create more.

Clear away anything in your life that brings you down or influences those positive emotions into negative ones!

Be ready. Really ask yourself if you are ready to create the changes you need to create the life you have always dreamed of. If you are really ready to accept change step aside and get ready, your life is about to transform.

Refresh your attitude and catch yourself every time you speak negatively to yourself Put things into perspective. Focus on an attitude of gratitude and how grateful you are to have the simple things in life. Family, friends, health and a roof over your head are the most important things when you don’t have them. Be grateful for what you do have in your life rather than what you don’t have.


Set realistic goals for yourself and stop comparing yourself to others. We are all on our own separate journeys and comparison only creates self-doubt. Be proud of your achievements and congratulate yourself for every positive change you make no matter how small.

Try drinking a smoothie every day to re energise your system giving you the nutrient boost that your body needs to start 2016 off with a bang. Your body will thank you for it I promise.

Green Cleanse Digestion, system cleansing, anti-inflammatory, blood strengthening Serves 1 1 cup of chopped pineapple 1 small handful of spinach, chopped 1 heaped teaspoon of spirulina or greens powder 1 cup of water Ice cubes (optional) Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

Greener than Green System cleansing, liver detox, skin and nail support Serves 1 1 apple, chopped 1 celery stick, chopped 5 inch piece of cucumber, chopped

Fiona Tuck Fiona Tuck is a Skincare Expert, accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner and a member of the Australian Society of Traditional Medicine. Fiona’s indepth knowledge and insight into future trends within the health industry has made her sought after media expert. Fiona’s holistic approach to nutritional health is driven by her mantra -’Nutrition is the grass roots of good health’

1 tsp of chia seeds Fresh mint leaves to taste 1 cup of filtered water Ice cubes (optional)

For more nutrition information and healthy recipes visit or follow on Instagram for daily tips @fionatucknutrition.





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LBD is not a meet, greet and quickly swap cards and walk away business network. LBD is about community. It is about being able to sit down in a small and intimate environment and truly talk with other women who may already inspire you – or making new connections whom you yourself can assist in some way with your own expertise and creative thinking. It is a think tank, a place for debate, inspiration, ideas and driving change.

Based in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and now Perth, LBD Group has a simple message for women of worth.

INSPIRE others in their journey. CONNECT with those who share your vision. Take the opportunity to SUCCEED alongside them.



FEEDBACK IS BROKEN Feedback is broken — here’s how to fix it to create a highly engaged workplace with high performing leaders and employees Fixing Feedback is not just another management book — it’s a smart, refreshing, practical guide to feedback in the workplace. Everyone already knows how important feedback is, and we all know we should be giving it and receiving it regularly — yet we still do it poorly or avoid it entirely. This book shows you how to do it right. You’ll learn what exactly constitutes useful feedback, how to deliver it effectively, how to receive it gracefully and how to use it to strengthen yourself, your team and your business. You’ll learn critical communication skills that you can put into practice today, and get on track to building a “feedback culture” that results in highly engaged, highly productive employees. The way you communicate dictates how you build relationships and make decisions. It’s the difference between being remarkable and being a d!ck. Poor communication is a major force driving feedback into the ground, and it can be extremely costly for the company as a whole. This book shows you how to turn the ship around by making feedback a meaningful —and welcome— part of your everyday workflow and overall company culture. • Understand “remarkable feedback”, and how it changes people and workplaces • Self-assess your communication style and gauge the impact it has on others • Deliver meaningful feedback using a set of pragmatic tools and techniques • Confront the personal issues that prevent you from effectively receiving feedback

place where people want to work, want to achieve and want to be the best. It’s all about effective communication. Fixing Feedback provides nononsense guidance toward equipping your people to succeed.

Georgia Murch Georgia Murch is an expert in teaching individuals how to have the tough conversations and organisations how to create feedback cultures. She has over 20 years experience with private and public industry and is well known for helping ‘great places to work’ become even better. Georgia puts passion on the podium. A remarkable communicator in her own right, she is an inspiring speaker.

• Learn what organisations need to drive to create a ‘feedback culture’ When organisations fail to grasp the importance of investing in their people effectively, employees disengage. Building a meaningful feedback culture, on the other hand, makes your organisation a




FEEDBACK IS BROKEN Feedback is broken

Galactic would not be taking people to space.

In order to deal with people and issues at work we need to communicate. That means having conversations. You can’t do a remarkable job without having remarkable conversations. You can’t have remarkable relationships without having remarkable conversations.

Ideas don’t create themselves, nor do they implement themselves. Of course most projects have spokespeople and lead directors who drive the vision, marketing and ‘selling’ as they go, but they have a team behind them. Without that team, there’s nothing to market or sell.

New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss suggests that we can structure our lives to be successful and wealthy by only working four hours a week — it is all about spending your time wisely. Ferriss says that ‘a person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have’. I agree with Ferriss that pushing through your fears and doing the tough stuff is all about getting things done and moving forward. I don’t think it needs to be uncomfortable though. There is an easier way.

It’s easy to join the dots and say that making the most of your people should be a priority: focus on your people and the business will flourish. But employers can easily lose sight of their people, especially in times of economic stress.

It’s all about your people You may know them as high-performing organisations, the best places to work, or employers of choice. Whatever you want to call them, all top organisations are similar in that they each recognise the power of creating and sustaining great cultures, and the power of communicating and collaborating well. They know that their main competitive edge is not their products or services. It’s their people. The people behind what they deliver. It’s the people that design and make or break the next strategy. It’s the people that create motivation and drive within the organisation. It’s the people, people, people! Fail to acknowledge people and you’re deluding yourself (and doing them a disservice). Think of the commonalities shared by top organisations with enormous reach. Without an incredible team of innovators, Apple would not be able to launch the Apple Watch or the next iPhone. Facebook would not be able to create such a socially engaging and addictive platform. Without remarkable people behind the scenes Virgin


In the 1990s I joined an entrepreneurial, forwardthinking and fast-growing business, HR and recruitment firm Morgan and Banks. One of the largest firms of its kind in the world, Morgan and Banks led from the front It’s the people that design in terms of and make or break the next innovation and strategy. It’s the people that development. It was workplace create motivation and drive utopia. I was within the organisation. It’s in my early the people, people, people! twenties and had lots of enthusiasm but little experience. Little did I realise how lucky I was. Whenever I catch up with colleagues from that time we always look back nostalgically. We worked our butts off, we made good money, we loved what we did and we had a ball working with each other. It was like the gold rush days for the corporates. Geoff Morgan, one of the cofounders, was known for understanding and verbalising the fact that Morgan and Banks’s assets (its people) were going up and down the lifts all day. Andrew Banks, the other cofounder, constantly drummed into us Peter Drucker’s saying that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. These guys instinctively knew that the value of their business was their people and they invested in them heavily via fun and powerful inductions, pragmatic and engaging professional

development, mentoring programs and annual allof-business conferences. After the business was sold, the focus shifted from the people to the numbers. The conversations and strategy became about needing to improve, grow, cut back, double. We were not used to this. We were used to being asked how to build capability and motivation. Unsurprisingly, productivity decreased and maintaining profits became a challenge. It became difficult to retain the star performers, and people left.

YOUR people ARE YOUR BIGGEST ASSETS. FOCUS ON THEM AND THE BUSINESS WILL PROSPER. Too many companies still haven’t figured out that if they want the customer to come first they need to focus on cultivating a happy workplace: it’s your people who are dealing with the customers. Zappos, the largest online shoe retailer in the world, prides itself on its company culture, and it is well known for it. Does it come as any surprise that 75 per cent of purchases are from returning customers? That’s an amazing statistic and is part of the reason Zappos was able to grow so quickly. One of its core values is ‘deliver WOW through service’. Zappos expects every employee to wow their customers and it does this by giving employees the autonomy to handle situations in any way they see it. Another organisation that is gaining more and more attention and success globally right now is Atlassian. Atlassian is a rapidly growing ‘software loving’ business that has won Business Review Weekly’s ‘Best Place to Work’ twice, along with over 50 other awards (including top 20 Fortune Company, Deloitte Best Fast Growing IT and Hewitt’s Best Employer) since it started in 2002. Even Dan Pink, author of the New York Times bestseller Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us uses Atlassian as an example in one of his famous TED talks. He says that Atlassian is an ‘incredibly cool company’ that is focused on motivating its people by giving them autonomy. Pink says too many organisations are basing their decisions on outdated thinking. If we want highperformance cultures the solution is not to entice employees with a sweeter carrot or a bigger stick. With a dogged focus on values in everything it does with its employees, customers and brand, it’s no wonder Atlassian has highly engaged

people — and a very successful business with unprecedented growth in an arguably flat economy. It invests heavily in its people and sees the difference it makes. It’s Atlassian’s edge, and the results speak for themselves. If we don’t invest in our people and give them the feedback they need, we can’t expect to have a high-performing business. People won’t know what they need to replicate and what they need to improve.

People matter. A lot. The people noise is loud We need to get the best from our people so our businesses can thrive. So we get it, right?! Right! Then why is it that some of the biggest problems we have in organisations are our people? People, our greatest treasure, can also become our greatest liability. ‘People noise’ can become so loud sometimes that it makes it hard to implement anything. People noise is like white noise … it’s always on in the background until we turn it off. When I say ‘we’ I don’t mean us or them. I mean you. The leader, the manager, the colleague. If you see there is something to be done then you need to do it. We often wait for someone else to take the lead, have that conversation, or set the tone. No wonder it doesn’t happen. As Gandhi said, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’.

MANAGERS NEED TO manage. MANAGING IS MORE ABOUT THE people issues THAN ANYTHING ELSE. Peter Drucker tells us that most of what we call ‘management’ consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done. Managers either create the people noise themselves or they don’t turn it off when they need to. They don’t lead. The issues that demand most of our time are often the people ones. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You are trying to prepare your weekly report and John pops in to discuss an issue he has with the project leader’s style and how it is affecting the team. You are delivering a strategy that will improve the GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 75

productivity of the business but Tom does not want to work with Mary to deliver it. She’s just too difficult. You are leading Sam’s performance review and giving him feedback on his consistently late delivery. You go into a battle about who needs to take responsibility, as he says Jennifer keeps holding him back. You want to implement a new system that will provide a smoother approach when working with clients, but half of the team is divided because they will be more dependent on IT and they don’t enjoy working with that area of the business.

in the process through inappropriate or aggressive communication • Ignore them and hope they will go away. I call managers who do this ‘broken glass’ managers: they step over the broken glass in the middle of the room in the hope that someone else will clean up the mess. Don’t be a broken-glass manager. Get out the brush and shovel and deal with it. Most managers pick option three and end up sweeping the glass shards under the carpet. The next group takes option two and ‘attacks’ the issue or person and deals with it poorly, only to see that the approach is ineffectual and often makes things worse. That is the behaviour of a dick.

People noise is our constant whether we recognise it or not. The success of a great strategy and its implementation hinges on how well people Remarkable managers boldly tackle option one. work together. Harnessing this power as not just a They handle the complexities as they arise, with manager, but as a ‘doer’, and reducing the people candour and kindness, and end up getting things noise makes done. People want to work for them. the process of It’s Like a shortage of Time poverty — a growing working together income, lack of time is a easier and, dare phenomenon disadvantage for individuals I say, more Time poverty is not having enough time enjoyable. and organisations. to do all the things you want or need to The eighth do. Like a shortage of income, lack of time is a consecutive study on engagement conducted by disadvantage for individuals and organisations. research company Gallup tells us that the cost Societally, we have never been busier. There of disengaged employees is deemed critical to a is more to do, higher expectations that we company’s performance. The statistics are highly will deliver it perfectly, and greater distraction compelling. Some examples of a highly engaged from devices and social media than we’ve ever workforce where people enjoy coming to work and working with each other suggest that there is: encountered in the past. There is increased competition in all aspects of products and • 65 per cent less turnover services, ongoing family commitments, financial pressures in a challenged economy, and many • 37 per cent less absenteeism people are facing technology overload. No wonder we feel time-poor. • 48 per cent fewer safety incidents. It is clear that minimising the people issues and creating a highly engaged workforce makes a difference. We’re not talking about satisfaction for its own sake. We are talking about the cost implications of not investing in your people. More about this in chapter 2. There are three options for dealing with the people noise. • Deal with people noise as it arises. Nip it in the bud so the spot fires don’t become bushfires that end up being overwhelming or near impossible to address. • Deal with it poorly. Create even more issues by tackling the problems improperly or incompletely, damaging trust and respect


The past ten years have given us a plethora of functional, fun and powerful electronic tools at our disposal. Many of them started out claiming to make our personal and working lives easier. There are electronic scheduling systems, handheld devices, and we have the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Yet we still struggle to stay organised and focused. It’s most likely due to the fact that we have more information to wade through than ever before. It all adds up to more excuses to not address problems when they happen, because we are ‘busy’ wading through our technology.

We are not leveraging technology Productivity expert, thought leader and author of Smart Work Dermot Crowley says, ‘We need more

than just new technology to stay organised in the modern workplace. We need new mindsets, new systems and new skills’. Crowley tells us that a large part of the problem is that we are using twenty-first century technologies, but still using twentieth-century methodologies. He says the main reasons we are so time-poor in this modern era are: * We have too many meetings, especially at the senior manager level. It is not unusual for the modern manager to spend 80 per cent of their core hours in meetings. This leaves little time to read and respond to emails, solve issues, develop strategies and do the thinking to deliver the right outcomes. Weekends and late nights are often taken up getting to the other needs. We are not creating enough time to stop, think and plan. * We are drowning in emails. Six years ago the average senior executive would have 60 emails per day to deal with. Now we are looking at an average of more than 300 per day. This email noise has created an unprecedented communications focus. These emails are a combination of cc’s (copying people in), information only, marketing products and services, blogs, personal memos and event requests, just to name a few. No wonder important emails are sometimes hard to ind. * Our use of technology is disabling our productivity. While technology has made doing business and connecting with others easier it has also created a sense of urgency that is crippling the way we work. We can communicate with anyone at any time. This is generally seen as hugely advantageous, but it has also created a sense that everything is urgent and important. It is not the case: we just lack the tools and training to see what is urgent and what is important. * We procrastinate. We need to relearn the art of planning what to do and committing to action. We put things off in the hope that they will go away or sort themselves out. It’s no surprise they don’t and then become much bigger than initially planned, and much more time-intensive — especially things like giving feedback and tackling tough conversations. We need to learn to confront issues as soon as we see them. How many conversations with people

— friends, colleagues and family — become more serious than they need to be because you don’t ‘nip them in the bud’ in the early days? That is, when you first notice the issue or problem, or when something feels not quite right. The things we let go vary widely: being spoken to rudely, observing someone arrive late, missing a deadline, or your manager cancelling your weekly catch-up again. It can be anything that seems small, at the time. You might decide it’s not worth worrying about so you let it go because you ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’, or because it has only happened once or twice and you are too nervous to approach the person. Perhaps you deny it will become something bigger, or perhaps you would just prefer to avoid conflict. There are plenty of reasons why we don’t have the tough conversations but the point is, there is a downside to sticking your head in the proverbial sand. Ignoring these issues can be the difference between dealing with a spot ire and fighting a raging bushfire. The longer we leave it the greater the costs to the business and ourselves. When we see a spot ire we grab some water and put it out, right? We know that ire is dangerous and it could turn ugly pretty quickly. It’s the same when we don’t nip problems in the bud. In 2014 McKinsey put out a white paper called ‘Bad to Great: The path to scaling up excellence’, which states that the most important factor in leadership excellence is the ability to ‘nip it in the bud’. Leaders who are focused on improving behaviour improve organisational performance. Eliminating the negative is the first step in the process. Destructive behaviour — be it selfishness, nastiness, fear, laziness or dishonesty — packs a far bigger punch than constructive behaviour. Furthermore, it damages the bottom line.

Matrix structures add complexity As organisations grow so do their complexities. In most organisations this leads to matrix structures, with people working on multiple projects across business lines, often with more than two managers. About thirty years ago this structure became popular and organisations such as IBM, HP, Citibank, Nestle and Xerox led the way. Today it’s not just for big businesses; many small to medium businesses are embracing it, too. The purpose of these centralised and decentralised GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 77

structures is to optimise productivity and rise to the modern challenges of managing virtual teams working on multiple projects across crossfunctional and global platforms. These structures are also about responding to customers swiftly and efficiently.

facts and information to deliver the most accurate and constructive feedback about performance.

For these matrix structures to work they need to be supported by the right structures and systems, plus a different way of managing and leading. Jay Galbraith, expert in matrix management, says in Designing Matrix Organisations that Actually Work ‘that organisation structures do not fail, but management fails at implementing them successfully’. Communication and cooperation are critical to the success of matrix structures, but managers and employees are not often taught how to work well in this environment and aren’t equipped to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Performance reviews are not working

Think about it as being a bit like Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world. Processes and systems are essential but communication is considered an equal partner. Most of the academic research into the success of matrix structures is not around the design but about the skills and behaviours needed to lead in these environments. Most of the disadvantages come from the way people work together — not from the structure. Matrixes allow further internal complexities to develop across the silos. As we now have ‘information silos’ it can increase the layers of bureaucracy: more meetings and slower decisionmaking with too many stakeholders involved. This also creates more potential opportunities for internal conflict and results in too many cooks stirring the broth. Having multiple managers creates confusion. Without enough communication it becomes hard to know what your priorities are as everything appears to be important. Who is your direct supervisor? Which project is the priority? When managers and teams are being pushed and pulled it becomes a battle of the fittest, and sometimes the loudest. Getting control of your team is difficult, especially when you don’t have face-to-face or even established relationships. Managers need to learn how to build trust in these situations in order to get things done. It can be difficult to get an accurate picture of people’s real performance. With dual managers it becomes hard for one manager to gather all the


This last point leads well into the next problem. It’s one that organisations are aware of, but it is not often discussed or acknowledged.

‘Wow! I’m so excited about my performance review.’ Said no-one, ever. For most people, performance reviews are as enticing as a trip to the dentist. Why aren’t they the tool for performance and development we need them to be? There are several reasons, but these are the main ones that I have observed over the past 20 years of leading and consulting to businesses. * The feedback is stale or hidden. Most people want to avoid the tough conversations so they tend to store them up until the dreaded performance review. Many employers I’ve spoken to dislike performance reviews as much as their employees do. They become an excuse to avoid discussing things in the moment, as it happens. Or the feedback is delivered but it’s hidden in the ‘shit sandwich’ of good point, bad point, good point. Or, worse still, it’s mumbled haplessly in the hope that the full impact is uncovered from under the rock. * They are full of surprises, and not the good kind. People tend to avoid tough conversations. Most people are naturally conflict-averse. What this means is that the initial issue presenting as a small problem can become an elephant in the room by the time the review comes around, and it may come as a complete surprise to the recipient. This causes all sorts of lowon issues with trust and respect, as they were not told at the time, and this ends up having quite a negative impact overall. * There is little room for the ‘real truth’. The real truth is what one person knows coupled with what the other person knows. It is two perspectives that create the actual truth of a situation. The review process does not typically allow this to happen, as it is time-poor and ‘tell’ orientated. The numbers and results are typically decided prior to the review, so where is the ‘real truth’ in the process?

* They highlight our crap. While some organisations and managers have cottoned on to the power of building on strengths, unfortunately the majority still focus on an individual’s skills gap as the main conversation. We only need to look at the work of Martin Seligman, a world leader in positive psychology, to understand that focusing on our weaknesses creates little chance of development and change. They need to be discussed, but not in the spotlight. They should be dealt with during the year.

that the formal performance review process achieves this. In fact, most data suggests the contrary. Quality guru W. Edwards Deming was clearly against them, identifying ‘evaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual review’ as one of his Seven Deadly Diseases of Management. Adobe, which produces software including Photoshop, Acrobat, Creative Cloud and the Digital Marketing suite, calculated that annual reviews required 80 000 hours of managers’ time each year, the equivalent of 40 fulltime employees. And after all that effort, internal surveys revealed that employees felt less inspired and motivated, and staff turnover increased.

* They are too focused on scoring and boxticking. In larger organisations, managers In 2012 the company was bold enough to make typically need to grade you, sometimes a change and got rid of formal appraisals in on a scale of 1 to 5. We know that people favour of creating regular ‘pulse checks’. This will rarely get a 5, as this will mean an affected 11 000 employees. Since implementing increase in salary or a big bonus. So while an employee might be doing really well, we this change Adobe has reported a considerable shift in engagement, culture and productivity. don’t want a budget crisis — so the scores Other reputable organisations have agreed that don’t truly reflect performance. Don’t they performance reviews are not working. Accenture, say ‘comparison is the killer of joy’? Well, Microsoft, Deloitte and Expedia have all either here is a great moved away from the formal example. How Having multiple managers systems or made radical changes. do you compare creates confusion. Without Deloitte’s research and costing yourself to the next tells us that an annual appraisal for enough communication person? You can’t 65 000 staff took 2 million hours. and you shouldn’t. it becomes hard to know Expedia says it mostly wanted Individuals are what your priorities are as to ‘rehumanise’ the relationship unique and have everything appears to be between employees and bosses. their own talents, important. Who is your direct so a box-ticking The Corporate Leadership Council scale is pointless. supervisor? Which project is (CLC) produced well- recognised findings in the paper ‘Building the the priority. * They are way too High- Performance Workforce’. time-consuming. CLC research tells us that the impact of informal Most managers have many performance feedback — that is, feedback outside a formal reviews to prepare for and as a result it becomes about getting the job done rather process that is fair and accurate — is likely to improve individual performance by almost 40 per than delivering in the best way possible. cent. So if we give feedback on the job, near the It can also build a little resentment in moment, it will create a shift 40 per cent of the the process. There’s no reward for all the invested time and effort when an employee time. That’s pretty compelling. is even further deterred from delivering It’s time to move to the future good work. * They are stiff and boring. Do you remember the feeling of going to your first school dance? How awkward it was in your first formal outfit, seeing your date look as uncomfortable as you but trying to pretend you are all just fine? Our reviews can be similar when they are too formal for any real discussion to take place. The habit of having valuable conversations so people can be championed and supported to improve is a good thing. There is little evidence

Nelson Jackson was onto it when he said ‘I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow’. The concept of ‘performance management’ was introduced about sixty years ago as a means to determine the wages of an employee based on their performance. It was used to drive behaviours to generate specific outcomes. When employees were solely driven by financial rewards this tended to work well. GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 79

In the late 1980s not all employees felt rewarded or motivated by financial gain alone; many were driven by learning and the development of their skills. From here performance management started moving into more frequent monitoring and reviews with a focus on ‘regular feedback’ outside the formal review process. As organisations put more regular conversations into the mix there was a notable improvement in productivity and employee engagement, when the conversations were handled well. We are now seeing an emerging trend in highperforming organisations where all employees, not just the leaders, are being taught how to give great feedback and also how to receive feedback with equal candour and grace. Organisations that do this are in their ‘feedback low’, as shown in figure 1.1. Figure 1.1: the feedback low

* Organisations don’t muster the courage to invest in their people and culture. They are stuck in the 1940s and they just don’t get it. As a result, these are not high-performing companies. * Even for those that value and encourage feedback it is still not translating into action, or the actions are often damaging. The intent may be good, but intent is not seen or measured. We are still avoiding conversations or handling them poorly, no matter how much training we receive. * People think the change will be too hard and too disruptive. Creating a cultural shift requires effort, but taking out a layer of processes and systems that use considerable time for little or no result will free up time to focus on actual improvement. * We often blame the organisation and its leaders for failures in feedback and get stuck in what I call ‘the blame trap’. Getting stuck in the blame trap means we blame others, organisations and leaders and do not take any responsibility ourselves. It’s not a healthy space, nor does it allow anyone to move forward.

Remarkable leaders

* The concept of ‘low’ proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a well-known Hungarian psychology professor, is described as being a state in which motivation meets capability. In this space where you are driven to achieve (motivation) and your skills are at the right level (capability), you are in your low. This creates energy and alignment with the tasks you are doing. It’s where action and awareness meet. Flow is good. * Creating a feedback low is how highperforming organisations get things done and create happy, fully engaged employees and customers. It is where we reverse the push of giving feedback and add to it the pull of receiving it, and alter systems to create an even low. * So why don’t organisations and leaders implement this powerful culture of feedback? There are three main reasons holding them back:


Leaders are not just those with impressive titles. They are not just those who manage people or have lots of letters after their names. Yes, they may have people reporting to them. They may be in senior roles within an organisation, but they may not. Leadership is about social influence — being able to secure the support or assistance of other people in order to accomplish something. This description of leadership doesn’t make reference to ‘leading people’ or ‘being in a senior role’. Leadership is less about hierarchy and more about influencing others to get things done. A leader can be someone who works in Accounts Payable who decides who gets paid and who doesn’t and builds relationships with suppliers and internal colleagues in the process. A leader can be a product developer who deals with researchers, customers, IT, sales and other areas to come up with the best ideas and products to launch.


SOMEONE. EVERYONE communicates WITH SOMEONE. WE ARE ALL LEADERS. WE JUST DON’T ALWAYS SEE IT THAT WAY. When you think about the structure of an organisation, those that lead people are the minority. While they occupy the top of the triangle they represent, their segment is the smallest part of the organisation. So if we arm only the leaders with the tools and training to become remarkable then we are missing a very large component of the business (and arguably one that will drive the most change). Everyone within an organisation needs to take responsibility, no matter what role they play. Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, the authors of Crucial Conversations and the cofounders of VitalSmarts, conducted 25 years of research involving thousands of people and hundreds of organisations. The findings suggest that the most influential individuals are those who get things done are able to build good relationships and master the tough conversations. It is leaders (whether they manage people or not) who influence projects, thinking and the implementation of ideas. If you want to influence effectively, you need to become a leader. The research looked at both high- and lowperforming organisations. Typically, lowperforming organisations ignored poor performers and had a workforce where people didn’t hold each other accountable. Meanwhile, highperforming organisations tended to have a culture where managers dealt with issues as they arose and discussed problems before they flared up. You may have heard the adage ‘a fish rots from the head’. You can equate this to the leadership of a business. A business will rot if the leaders at the top are not inspiring, trustworthy, or strategic enough. So we do need to focus on them — but not in isolation. We need to focus on the other leaders in the business, too. Everyone who connects with someone is a potential leader. So unless you are in an isolated basement, working on something that requires

no interaction with anyone else, this is for you. Expecting others to change so that the culture can improve, without taking ownership yourself, is being a dick. Just because you become a parent doesn’t mean you are a good one. Just because you are a doctor and deal with people all day does not mean you have a great bedside manner. Just because you speak at functions does not mean you do it well. The same goes for leadership. Just because you lead people or projects does not mean you influence people well. We need to learn to develop the talent and skills of leading remarkably, and having the tough conversations, so things get done with ease and enjoyment. Gandhi knew this when he said: ‘I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people’. Bill Gates knows it too: ‘As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others’. Everyone needs to lead the charge when it comes to influencing outstanding cultures and change. You don’t fight a war with only the leaders equipped with armour and weapons, so why would you assume that only leaders need to be remarkable? It’s impossible to win the battle without everyone taking up arms.

Fixing feedback Fixing feedback is about creating a cultural cadence. It’s more than feedback training. It’s about creating a self-sustaining low that feeds itself and becomes effortless. The onus is on both parties: one to deliver the feedback, in real time, and the other to receive it well, in the moment. The outcomes of this will: • eliminate dependence on performance management systems • significantly improve productivity • create a culture of accountability and commitment • evolve authentic transparency and openness • allow individuals to own their own development. When we create a frequency of accountability that feeds itself, giving and receiving becomes an inevitable part of the way you do business. You and the organisation are in your flow. You and your people become remarkable and no-one can stop talking about it. GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 81

Your cheat sheet * You can’t do a remarkable job without having remarkable conversations. * All top organisations are similar in that they each recognise the power of creating and sustaining great cultures, and the power of communicating and collaborating well. * The success of a great strategy and its implementation hinges on how well people work together. * Remarkable managers deal with issues as they arise, and end up getting things done. * We need to learn to confront issues as soon as we see them. The longer we leave them the greater the costs to the business and ourselves. * Communication and cooperation are critical in complex structures, but people are often not equipped to communicate and collaborate effectively. * There is little evidence that formal performance reviews work. The habit of having regular and constructive conversations is key. * In many high-performing organisations all employees, not just the leaders, are being taught how to give great feedback and how to receive it. * Leadership is about influence. The most influential individuals are those who get things done are able to build good relationships and master the tough conversations








February - March 2016  
February - March 2016