APRIL - MAY 2016
Be Curious. Ask Why.
Innovate with confidence and Conviction Welcome to the April/May
In this issue of GLOSS, Dr Jason Fox (who by
INNOVATION issue of GLOSS
the way has just been awarded Speaker Of The
packed full of articles, insight
Year) shares the 3 hidden benefits of doubt
and learnings to take in to our
including how it makes us stronger! We hear
from LBDGroup members Fiona Craig and Tracey
The phenomenal speed of change that got us to the 21st century’s technological frenzy is not going to slow down any time soon. In fact, it is creating an uncertain future on a global business level that is naturally demanding change. The world in which we are
Mathers about their success journeys; Dr Emily Verstege and Kelly Slessor share their spin on innovation and technology, as always Renata Cooper challenges the mindset and skill set of successful entrepreneurs and Patrick Hollingworth shares an extract of his new book , ‘The Light And Fast Organisation’.
operating is volatile and uncertain, our clients,
As always a huge thank you to the team that
staff and suppliers are more demanding than ever
work tirelessly on pulling together these issues of
before, we are contactable 24/7 and we all have to
GLOSS and the incredible patience and talent of
operate on fewer resources than ever. Yet, we are
Andrea Welsh, our Art Director. Huge shout out
being challenged every day to invent and create,
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to develop and explore, and to be agile in our
continue to support this magazine and our ability
thinking and innovative in our solutioning. We are
to bring thought leadership and thinking to you,
having to evolve how we operate so that what we
do aligns with, and leads, the new paradigm. The ability to lead out with confidence and conviction, to influence decisions, behaviour and strategy and to develop new thinking and find new opportunities is critical to driving change.
Enjoy this issue of GLOSS and if you would like to write for us please feel free to drop me a line. Continue to… Connect ~ Inspire ~ Succeed
JANINE GARNER PUBLISHER / EDITOR
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Janine Garner HUFFINGTON POST COLUMNIST AND FOUNDER OF LBDGroup
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GLO S S GLOSS MAGAZINE Issue 29 PUBLISHER & EDITOR
Margot Andersen Dr Jenny Brockis Melissa Browne Nikki Fogden-Moore Renata Cooper
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Dr Jason Fox Phoebe Adams Pollyanna Lenkic Kelly Slessor Colin Ellis Patrick Hollingworth Louise Agnew Fiona Tuck Tracey Mathers Dr Emily Verstege
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CONTENTS The 3 Hidden Benefits of Doubt............................................................................................................ 8 A Me to We People Development in Retail .....................................................................................10 Adversity Breeds Innovations...............................................................................................................14 Building An Innovation Mindset..........................................................................................................18 Humans First...............................................................................................................................................20 Our Little Foxes - An Interview.............................................................................................................24 Shiny Stuff or Problem Solving, next up in Tech............................................................................26 Innovating a Reluctant Profession......................................................................................................30 Parallels Between Mountaineering and Business..........................................................................34 Innovation Starts with Safety First......................................................................................................38 Innovate Your Finances...........................................................................................................................44 Creating Ripples of Change for Everyone........................................................................................46 In her Words................................................................................................................................................52 Innovation Starts Within.........................................................................................................................60 Why You Need To Run Your Body Like Your Business...................................................................64 Getting Innovative with Your Health..................................................................................................68 Top 10 Insights ..........................................................................................................................................72 LBDâ€™s Out and About ..............................................................................................................................68 Exclusive Book Extract By Patrick Hollingworth.............................................................................74
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FEATURE ARTICLE DR Jason Fox
image source: Kim Lam
The 3 Hidden Benefits of Doubt why self-doubt makes you a better leader and innovator One of my most favourite books of 2014 was Oliver Burkeman’s The Antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking. In this book Burkeman challenges many of the conventional ‘positive thinking’ approaches to happiness, instead advocating what he calls ‘the negative path’ to happiness. Instead of trying to actively pursue happiness (while trying to avoid or run away from negative emotions), Burkeman suggests we instead go the other way: looking to negative experiences and
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embracing the learning inherent within them. A similar approach can be applied to the concepts of confidence, certainty and clarity. If you want these things, you could set forth a crystal clear
goal, make it rock solid, and temper it with unwavering persistence and conviction. But I’m not sure how well that will work out for you. It might be fine if you’re simply doing what has been done before. But if you’re actually innovating, and pioneering new progress, we need an alternative approach—we need to turn toward the hidden benefits of doubt.
we constantly compare ourselves to our talented peers. Or more specifically, we compare our own doubt-ridden internal perceptions with the confident facade that others project.
Let’s look at a few of these.
This sense of ‘impostorism’ is as a natural symptom of gaining experience. The more you progress in your work or career—the more likely you’ll encounter talented people to compare yourself negatively against. It actually gets worse as you get better.
Benefit #1 – Doubt makes ideas stronger Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said that “Doubt grows with knowledge.” Likewise, Bertrand Russell once quipped that“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid Want are cocksure while the intelligent wonder are full of doubt.”
We feel that there is a big discrepancy—but for all we know, they could be full of self-doubt too. In fact, if they’re any good, they probably are.
more in your life? Relinquish the need to be right, and instead embrace doubt and the opportunity to learn..
It’s quite apparent that doubt is fundamental to discovery. It’s an inherent element of the scientific method, and the precursor to all great questions and breakthroughs. Doubt births wisdom and is deeply linked to quality ideas. It’s uncomfortable, sure—but we know that all growth and development happens just outside our comfort zone.
The best business strategy sessions I’ve experienced are the ones that are full of angst and doubt. They’re not joyous or comfortable— they’re a hard and frustrating kind of fun. Quick fixes are resisted, and time is spent within the held tension of uncertainty. From this space, new ideas and pathways emerge that would not have been possible if we were simply ticking boxes and following a rushed agenda. Doubt makes us ask more questions—better questions—which makes us explore more pathways. This, in turn, can lead to more clarity, confidence and conviction. We see more, and through the pursuit of good questions; we know more. Benefit #2 – Doubt makes leaders better Have you ever felt that, sooner or later, your colleagues and everyone around you will realise that you’re not as smart as people think you are. That you are not really that qualified for the position you hold. And that one day people will point at you and shout impostor!—exposing you for the fraud that you are. I get that feeling nearly all the time. It’s called the impostor syndrome. It’s the scenario whereby
So, the good news: if you’re full of self doubt, you’re probably doing great!* * Maybe! Besides, it’s much better to feel like an impostor than to suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect—a scenario whereby people harbour inaccurate illusions of superiority. Unburdened by self doubt, they don’t realise how inept they are. The fools.
Now, there’s plenty of standard advice for managing the impostor syndrome (stop comparing yourself, accept that you’re successful, focus on providing value, yawn). Most of it is about reassuring yourself. But you could take a different tact, and embrace the doubt. Accept that the doubt is there, and use it to do more and be better. This is exactly the quality we want in leaders—the ability to question themselves, to think deeper and accept that no one and no thing is perfect, but we can learn. Much better than a leader unburdened by doubt. Benefit #3 – Doubt makes life more wonderful So often we think in binary mode, in terms of what’s right and what’s wrong. This places us in a near-constant state of judgement—of ourselves, and of others. To be right, someone must be wrong. Marshall Rosenberg, a pioneer in non-violent communication, argues that this type of thinking is the very thing that brings us closer to violence. Binary right/wrong thinking certainly doesn’t enable self-compassion, nor compassion or empathy for others. “Instead of playing the game ‘Making Life GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 7
Wonderful’, we often play the game called ‘Who’s Right’,” Marshall Rosenberg says. “Do you know that game? It’s a game where everybody loses.” We can play a different game—a game in which there is no clear right and wrong. Nothing is conclusive. A game in which there’s always room for wonder, and win-win scenarios that are wonderful. We see this in science: theories that were thought to be right and true, are dismantled in light of new evidence. Everything is always open to further questioning. Want more wonder in your life? Relinquish the need to be right, and instead embrace doubt and the opportunity to learn. Of course, it’s not always wonderful… It’s uncomfortable, remember? The thing we need to be careful of, is when we make conclusions.
processes, reducing cognitive burden and enabling us to get work done. Good businesses dance between these two types of thinking. They carve out time for slow thinking—be it as part of their ongoing leadership development, research or learning (or deliberate work culture rituals)—they ensure there’s always time for good thinking and questioning. And then, when it counts, they can make decisions with more confidence, clarity and conviction— because of the doubt. Such companies are less likely to be blindsided by disruption, and are more equipped to embrace emerging opportunities and change. So, ask more questions. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
“I can’t do this” is an unhelpful conclusion. “I’m not sure I can do this” is a bit better. Because there’s only one way to find out—do it. And then if that doesn’t work, you could fall back to the conclusion that you, in fact, can’t do said thing. Or maybe you can keep the doubt alive! Maybe it was an issue with your methodology, or some other factor. Avoid conclusions. The best kind of doubt ends in a question mark. “How can I do this?” Let’s find out. There’s a time and a place for doubt You choose the time, and you choose the place. What does this look like at work? It looks like leaders being comfortable enough to share their doubts and insecurities with each other during meetings and retreats, but to rally with conviction when it counts. It looks like time scheduled for deep, slow thinking—time spent in angst over the relevance of current business models in a changing world. It looks like time dedicated to real strategic development that searches for the best path (the hidden, clever path—not just the quick fix or the convenient default). And it looks like time spent on the frontier, playing in the intersection of trends and researching what may be. Then, of course, there’s the rest of our work The business as usual stuff, where the thinking needs to be fast. Where we default to systems and
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Dr Jason Fox Dr Jason Fox is modern day wizard-rogue, speaker, advisor, bestselling author of The Game Changer, and the author of the newly released book: How to Lead a Quest – a handbook for pioneering executives. With deep expertise in motivation design, Jason’s work unlocks pioneering leadership amongst high performing teams. His clients include the adventurous senior executives of Fortune 500 and ASX 200 companies drjasonfox.com
COLLABORATION is sharing the gift of yourself to inspire and lift others to be a
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FEATURE ARTICLE By Blythe Chidgey
Kit and Ace: A Me to W An exclusive interview By Blythe Chidgey
Vivienne Westwood is well known for having said “Buy less, choose well.” I found this quote none the truer than when I decided to be one of those weird people who wore active wear to be well… active. It didn’t take long before I was telling the difference between my budget gym gear and the “good stuff.” Multiple trips in and out of the washing machine left their tell tale signs on my cheap throw outs, while the gear I invested in continued to look good, workout after workout. It would be this discovery that would lead me to a love affair with the Lululemon Atheletica brand. So, with Lululemon love in my heart, Kit and Ace appeared on my radar and my first thought was “Holy Fashionista, my friends might get to see me wearing non-active wear!” Shannon Wilson, the ex-Lululemon Athletica designer has taken what we love so much about active wear and applied it to luxury, machine washable garments that are seamless, luxurious and save you time under the Kit and Ace name. Australian Dreamed Recently named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company for 2016, the Kit and Ace concept was born in Bondi, Sydney during the time Shannon Wilson and her family spent living there. The Wilson’s were inspired by the easy yet active Australian lifestyle and decided to put their industry experience and institutional knowledge into a new venture that reflected this effortless way of living. An entirely new category of clothing was created – technical street wear that functions for everyday wear for both men and women. Preparation makes it’s own luck Kit and Ace solves the preparation quandary perfectly with their range of clothing, which caters to the fastpaced world we live in. Designed so you can wear the same great outfit from early morning meetings to the office to dinner with friends without going home to change. Add to that, the next day you can skip the trip to the dry cleaner because all their fabrics are machine-washable so that they save you time. The designers have incorporated technical and functional details into each of their pieces so that they are easy to wear, easy to care for and retain their shape throughout the day. Every piece of Kit and Ace clothing offers the same performance you’d expect from technical athletic apparel, but is created
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u e o a T w t l C e
B b t
K q a m f
I w f M c i t p
T a h a e d c
S d c
T w i t b
K c c i F a a – f
We of People Development and Retail.
using luxurious proprietary fabrics. They’ve taken the elements they love about luxury fibres – the softness of cashmere and the cool-hand feel of silk – and added in technical materials like elastane and viscose. The result is fabrications that can stand up to all-day wear – and your washing machine. The Kit and Ace technical design extends to even the smallest details, like the seams of their machine washable Technical Cashmere™ t-shirts that are flat-locked for comfort and enhanced with stretch to move with you.
Beauty and style is now comfort like never before, and busy business people rejoice as a result of not having to pack five outfits to get through one day!
The Integral In store experience
Kit and Ace address the bricks and mortar versus online question perfectly by treating the in store experience as not just as a place to build the brand and test marketing as well as create a customer and community focused experience too.
It is clear they are proud of their shop design and the way in which they incorporate hyper-local elements from in-market designers into each of their shops. Moving forward collaborating with local designers will continue to be part of their strategy. Soon they will be introducing their first Technical Atelier – an in-shop tailor shop, offering complimentary tailoring to save people time.
The Technical Atelier is also a local design lab for upand-coming designers. Designers-in-residence are handpicked locally and work in the Technical Atelier for a 10-month period. The designers work with already existing Kit and Ace styles to conceptualize new designs and create regionally inspired styles using the company’s proprietary fabrics.
Shannon Wilson says, “Our technical fabrications and designs set us apart. We plan to lead by creating a new category of apparel, rather than compete.
The key is making sure that they work together. We’re working hard behind the scenes to build platforms that integrate the shopping experience on and offline so that the consumer has a consistent experience with the brand.”
From Me to We inside and outside
Kit and Ace incorporates “hyper-local” elements – custom quality pieces created by local artists and contractors – into its shops to reflect the community it operates in. Each shop has a Supper Club table and Feature Lights that are created by local designers, and an Iconic Photograph taken by a local photographer. Kit and Ace also has an in-shop gallery space – The Wall – at select locations where up-and-coming artists are featured quarterly. Artwork on The Wall is available for
sale, with proceeds going directly to the artist. The owners have worked hard to focus on the people aspect of the brand both externally and internally. They have hired some of the most talented people around the world to work at Kit and Ace, and Shannon is known to often say, “Kit and Ace is as much a people development company as it is about retail. Each of our team members is entrepreneurial in their own way, creating a community around our brand. We believe in our people, as well as the quality of our products. We’ve seen a positive reaction to what we’re doing and will continue to grow to meet demands.” Mindfulness is the new black Kit and Ace is committed to mindfulness as a crucial component of a full-contact life. The Wilsons came up with a concept for 60-second meditation and invested in Whil – a digital platform for training in mindfulness meditation, yoga and leadership – to bring that idea to life. At Kit and Ace, they use Whil to aid in their pursuit of audacious goals. It is their belief that in a fastpaced world, meditation and mindfulness are key to maintaining focus and balance. As Shannon says, “some of the most successful business people in the world practice meditation. It allows practitioners to remain efficient and keep the mind clutter-free by focusing on the moment and living with intention.” Kit and Ace extends its commitment to mindfulness beyond the workplace to engage with customers in shop locations across North America, Australia and the United Kingdom. The company offers complimentary 60-day Whil trial codes to customers on every payment receipt and plans to host experiential events throughout 2016 to increase awareness of mindfulness meditation. A comfortable but stylish future Kit and Ace provide us a fashionable gift where we no longer put on comfortable clothing after a long day but instead wear comfortable clothing for that long day, while looking good, too. Shannon Wilson says it best, “gym clothes should be left at the gym” and I am now completely okay with that because my Kit and Ace apparel is even more comfy than my active wear, and ten times more appropriate! Prepare to see Kit and Ace spreading their wings into a full lifestyle brand to include children’s wear and homewares with the same function meets innovation and style approach. Kit and Ace currently have six Australian stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. . GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 11
e v i r t S s s e r g o r p r o f T O N ! n o i t c e f r e p
a personâ€™s regular occupation, profession, or trade. 2. commercial activity.
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BUSINESS by Renata Cooper
Adversity Breeds innovation. The theme for a US TEDx event last year was resilience and its many faces. From nature’s fortitude to the human spirit’s triumph over trauma, adversity breeds innovation. It is human nature to overcome challenges. Walt Disney became bankrupt at the age of 22 after a failed cartoon series and headed to Los Angeles with $40 in cash to build one of the most recognised brands in the world. Do Wang Chang moved to the US and worked three jobs – as a janitor, a gas station attendant and in a coffee shop, before he opened his first clothing store. That store grew into the global empire Forever 21. Oprah Winfrey overcame personal adversity to triumph. From my own personal experience, I can talk about women such as Lauren Hall who came to Australia with almost no money or connections. She built events software company iVvy that launched many Australian-first’s and was recently picked as one of the 16 women in Asia Pacific for EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women program.
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By its very nature, starting a business is a challenging endeavor, and achieving entrepreneurial success under any circumstances is a great accomplishment. But some startup founders have more obstacles to overcome than sourcing funding or learning how to market a product. Many overcome this adversity and go on to succeed. Constraints leading to innovation In a Forbes article, an OmnicomMediaGroup executive notes that adding constraints increases innovation. “The more limited you are, the more creative you have to be. Time constraints eliminate second guesses. Constraint is a unifier.” This may explain why larger resource-rich organisations often struggle with revolutionary innovation. The article uses the example of how NASA team members came together during space shuttle Apollo 13’s crisis from the moment of “Houston we have a problem” to going beyond standard operating procedures and what its equipment was “designed to do” to exploring what it “could do.” How the team innovated was critical to getting the crew home safely. Entrepreneurs are constantly under extreme time constraints not just to deliver, but stay ahead of
the game. The successful ones are those who can take a step back from routine tasks to evaluate innovation strategically and think creatively. With the average lifespan of companies having fallen from over 60 years in 1958 to 18 years in 2011 and decreasing rapidly, the ability to respond to market forces with disruptive innovation is critical not just to the bottom line, but mere survival. Entrepreneur mindset wired to innovate Entrepreneurs constantly encounter new challenges. The most successful founders are equipped with mental agility that allows them to conquer constant adversity with ease. They do it by building teams who can support them, gaining knowledge and insights from networks and seeking out advice from mentors. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company but came back to build Apple and author J.K Rowling battled depression, suicidal tendencies and poverty to writing the Harry Potter series and becoming one of the most powerful women in the UK. This agility is what enables entrepreneurs to think creatively in the midst of what seems like chaos to others. When I came to Australia as a 19-year-old migrant with $20 and knowing no English, I had to tell myself that I control my fate and need to take responsibility for the life I wanted to create. Selfbelief and determination steered me through many different paths – an artist, equities trader and working in an office. As I set out to do something that was never done by a woman entrepreneur in Australia, the greatest adversity I faced was people who did not see the future as I did. Steve Jobs once said during a famous commencement speech, “You have to trust in something. Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.” Most entrepreneurs will hit a hard wall at some stage. Real innovation happens when you find new ways of doing things at the most challenging of times. Stand tall when faced with adversity and draw inspiration from those around you. Continue to dream big, think big and 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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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by Margot Anderson
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have…. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led and how much you get it” Steve Jobs
Building An innovation Mindset Whilst most business leaders openly acknowledge that innovation is a critical driver of growth and the demand for it has never been so high, so constant and so ‘now’, many are still challenged by how to best lead and manage it. Coupled with the fact that many people don’t actually believe they are capable of it, leaders can face a big challenge in building innovation mindsets in their people and businesses. As a result all too often the innovation process has been relegated to business units such as marketing and research development – where all those ‘creative types’ hang out! With studies suggesting that over 65% of today’s business leaders still lack the confidence and know how to stimulate innovative thinking in their teams and organisations we are limiting both our immediate results and our future potential. It is clear that a failure to deliver on innovation has the potential to not only hurt our business success but also our own individual career success and that of the people we lead. So how do we approach the building of innovation mindsets? Innovation so very rarely happens as a result of one or two genius’s that work away on a spark of an idea and reappear with a roadmap for a new direction, approach or way forward. In the Wall Street Journal article, titled Together We Innovate,
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the authors emphasise the importance of employee collaboration in an effort to generate new ideas and ways of operating. As they state, ‘most innovations are created through networks – groups of people working in concert’. There is no doubt that workplace culture is the linchpin. Whilst structures and processes are important they are not the key. People and culture are by far the most important drivers of innovation and therefore need to be our focus. By creating the right conditions we not only make better use of our often-untapped talent, we can also allow for dynamic innovation networks to emerge and flourish. The advantage of building innovation networks is in the shift in emphasis from individual creativity or intelligence to the leveraging of connections and collected experience and knowledge. Networked employees typically innovate at a different level and have an ability to make their ideas ‘catch on’ more quickly. Given that new ideas spur more new ideas, networks then have the capacity to generate a cycle of innovation. They key is to ensure that there is enough diversity of thinking, knowledge and experience to ensure the cross fertilisation of ideas. When they do, leaders are then able to capture more value from their existing resources without embarking on major change initiatives.
Innovation is also a discipline so it requires us to invest in prioritising time for it. 5. Link the process with the outcome: Innovation is not a popularity contest. It is not just a matter of the ‘winning’ idea getting up. To arrive at the ‘winning’ ideas invariably we have had to iterate many times and revisit, review, throw out or tweak and evolve many different thoughts. Individual contributions are all part of the road to the final outcome. As leaders, how we foster innovation matters. Moving it out of the domains of the one or two ‘creative types’ and into the domain of the broader business is critical. In doing so we not only unlock new opportunities for the organisation but also ourselves and the people we lead.
As leaders I would encourage you to consider the following five tips that you can do to foster an environment of innovation: 1. Create a culture of trust: Innovation requires us to step outside of the ‘everyday way’, to break down the old rules of thought and adopt new ones. It requires new levels of transparency and vulnerability and our people will only engage when they feel safe to do so. 2. Create opportunities for everyone to contribute: Innovation requires diversity of thought. Successful leaders know that in order to obtain that diversity we need input from a variety of sources – internally and externally. It is in this diversity of contribution that new ideas and pathways are explored and at a level that could not have been found if we were to attempt it alone. 3. Create belief in our abilities to innovate: Innovation requires curiosity of thought. It is through this exploration and the sharing of our thoughts in a safe environment that allows us to recognise how our contribution is valued. 4. Make innovation easy to ‘do’: Consider your physical environment, how you interact, what tools you need, what supporting frameworks you need and the space that brings people together.
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. email@example.com
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BUSINESS by Dr Emily Verstege
HUMANS FIRST: -
Putting the “I” in innovation.
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In his first address to the National Press Club, Australia’s Chief Scientist recounted the now (much studied) story of the building of the Vasa: a case study of innovation gone wrong. To begin with, the King of Sweden commissioned a modest, single-deck war ship, built from old growth oak. As the build progressed (and the monarch’s kingdom came under greater threat), the King decided that it would be better to build a much larger warship with two decks, each bearing 36 cannons. Being a pragmatic Scandinavian, the King decided it would be simplest to build the larger ship using the keel and emerging skeleton of the smaller ship. To the King’s very great surprise (and embarrassment) the ship sank within 20 minutes of its launch in the middle of the Port of Stockholm, with a sizeable crowd of the King’s subjects looking on. Some 400 years later, the Vasa’s sinking is still analysed by business students the world over. We’ve concluded that the Vasa is a case study for how not to do innovation. Everything about the approach screamed looming failure. Notably, * a client (the King, no less) with grand dreams of building something new to inspire his countrymen and impress his neighbours, but no clear idea of what he was procuring * inappropriate emphasis on impressive bells and whistles (the additional decks) with little to no relevant function * no clearly defined overall strategy or design architecture. It’s easy enough to poke fun at a long-dead Swedish king for failing to innovate. But there are an abundance of modern day examples in the both public sector (anyone for a broadband network that by 2025 will be 75% slower than the rest of
the world?) and the private sector (for example, Coca Cola’s new Coke) indicating that as a modern society, we’ve learnt nothing about innovation practice since the late 1620s. Recently, I was asked during an interview to name the biggest frustration I currently face in my work supporting organisations to become digital leaders. It was an easy question to answer: it’s the widespread imperative to be disruptive and innovative and the absolute tunnel vision that those (noble) pursuits create. In the last few months alone, I’ve encountered several organisations taking on innovation in the manner of the Swedish monarch. For the record, I am an advocate for innovation. I am particularly concerned by the slow bleed of innovation and creativity from small to mediumsized Australian enterprises, as measured by our declining rank on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. I passionately believe that, as our world speeds up, we need innovation even more. But, as Alan Finkel put forward in his address, innovation can be done with much more sensitivity, pragmatism and nuance. It doesn’t have to be all (ideas) boom or bust. To overcome the all or nothing thinking, I believe we need to build a shared understanding of what innovation actually is. Innovation is a type of renewal, which changes or creates more effective processes, products or ways of doing things. Disruption (oops, I said it) is a type of innovation, where an entirely new product or service creates a new market and value network that fundamentally changes the way things were previously done. So, Uber is an example of an innovative company. But it’s a particular class of innovator, which is incredibly rare. I find that this simple definitional shift actually releases the burden we feel to change everything about work, and fast, which frees up creative thinking. Another really great point Alan Finkel made, is that innovation is more than science. It’s the idea that the humanities— sociology and psychology— are the GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016| 21
perfect complement to technology and innovation. Finkel says: “In all of the complex challenges that technology will bring, the humanities, arts and social sciences are critical to our research endeavour and we neglect them at our cost. Combine these research elements and we will reap the benefits.”
People are at the heart of the changes we make..
In practice, achieving this balance comes down to remembering the ‘i’ in innovation (Actually there are two!) People are at the heart of the changes we make. Just remembering that we are not adapting or changing for innovation’s sake: we are innovating to make someone’s life better. It could be for ourselves, as business owners. But it’s more likely to be for our employees or for our customers: the people who help us create products or services, and the people who buy them. Thinking about innovation from a human perspective also challenges us to develop our own ‘soft’ skills: how we communicate, the questions we ask, how we make decisions and the creative processes we use. Industry-leading technology organisations now realise this connection. Riley Newman, head data scientist at AirBnB’s strategically hired social scientists instead of data scientists for his number-crunching team because he views AirBnB as a social business, with people at its heart. I firmly believe that without committed focus to people, innovation will flounder, just like an underengineered Swedish warship.
Emily Verstege Dr Emily Verstege is a digital expert, and author of the upcoming book ‘Digital Leadership: How to Build a Digital Evolution’. She works at the intersection of business and technology to help forward-thinking businesses fast track their journey to digital leadership. Her clients benefit from Emily’s diverse expertise - first as an internationally published public health researcher, then as public policy analyst and tech entrepreneur - and her ability to simplify complexity. firstname.lastname@example.org
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BUSINESS by Phoebe Adams
THE QUEST FOR IMPACT
INTERVIEW What kickstarted your idea for your business? What’s your WHY? When my daughter started school I was working full time in a corporate environment, and I felt a huge pressure to be available and present in both capacities. The pressure of being a mum took over though so I wanted to find a role where I could be flexible and be there when she needed me.
Meanwhile, I had always been interested in the subscription commerce space and subscribed to beauty subscriptions to see what they was all about. Every time my box would arrive, my daughter would be so excited and she’d immediately pilfer the eye shadows and lip glosses. She’s seven, by the way. It made me really think about a business opportunity that she would love and I came up with the Our Little Foxes idea! Tell us about where you have got to / what the business looks like now? Our Little Foxes is a creative activity subscription for kids aged 3-10. Every month we explore a different theme where children create creative projects that help them become a character, such as little magicians, little scientists and little travellers! My business has been operating for almost a year now and we have delivered over 5,000 boxes across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. We have a really vibrant community of parents who love the creative moments that we enable for them and their kids.
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We started in a Telstra backed accelerator called muru-D in February and are loving the exposure to mentors and investors. Our business has dramatically shifted forward as a result of this program! We have also announced a seed round of funding with Sydney Seed Fund. This investment will help us to really scale quickly! And what’s next? Where to from here? What’s the big vision? We are aiming to create a global community of creatively-intelligent children. Our mission is to create a platform and environment where we can encourage children to teach and inspire each other through creativity. It’s a really exciting space as currently technology isn’t really used in this way. We are however a business based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and keen to foster a community of like minded parents locally who we can engage with; so it will be a dual focus! How have you funded the business? We had early investors but were largely self-funded until recently. I sold my house prior to launching Our Little Foxes and while I miss owning property, I’m also happier with the legacy I’m building through the business.
What 3 key gems of advice would you share? 1. Don’t think too much about it, just say yes ... and then work out how. 2. It’s tough, so you need to love what you’re doing. If it’s not in your heart space, then it’s probably not the right business for you. 3. Your co-founders, investors and advisors will become like family so make sure they are all aligned with your values and work ethic. What are some of the mistakes you made and learnings from them? Initially I lacked confidence in my own entrepreneurial ability because I hadn’t had real exposure to the entrepreneurial universe. Quickly however I learned that I’m every bit as competent as someone who has had experience with their own business, so I’ve turned my mindset around and it’s really helped me grow personally and professionally. What are the biggest challenges you are facing right now? We are trying to really understand how to create the most magical customer experience for our subscribers. We want the experience to be so amazing that they will share it with their friends and our business will grow organically. We’ve come a long way but there is still a long way to go, so the entire business is focused on making this a reality. Any advice for people wanting to set off on their own entrepreneurial venture? Just do it! Be prepared for not making money for a while if you’re really focussed on growth, but the money will come if you can build something incredible.
Do you have a critical group of people that support you / your circle of excellence? And if so - what type of support do they give you? Definitely. My advisors and investors support me but also challenge me.
Phoebe Adams is the CEO and co-founder of Our Little Foxes, a market-leading creative kit subscription for children. Phoebe is an accomplished brand and digital marketer who has held senior strategic positions with major international corporations. Phoebe is passionate about helping parents enrich the quality time they spend with their children through fun, engaging and educational creative activities.
I have to answer tough questions regularly, which helps me and the business grow.
What keeps you going? My family, my team and my customers. Hearing customers tell me how happy they are and how happy their children are as a result of my business brings tears (happy tears!) to my eyes ... every time.
My friends are also incredibly supportive of my business and are constantly telling me how proud they are of my achievements - this makes me incredibly happy! I really love what I do.
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by by Kelly Kelly Slessor Slessor
Shiny stuff or problem solving, next up in tech
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Technology is evolving at an alarming rate and many of us are struggling to keep up with new and emerging platforms. The introduction of drones, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and 3D printing, are beginning to shape how customers behave and interact with brands. We are in one of the most innovative periods of all time, in fact Ray Kurzweil said “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The difficulty is not only in our ability to keep up with innovation but also to ensure we are investing in the right technology and not just the “shiny stuff”. I often question clients on whether they are developing technology to solve problems or creating problems for technology to solve. It’s important for us to understand the value of technology and how to harness that value for customers and/or employees. To step off autopilot, and to interact, learn, test and trial. So here are some of the technologies that are currently being trialled and developed and a look at their potential value: Drones A drone is an unmanned device that can fly autonomously, otherwise referred to as a UAV or ‘flying robot’. This ‘flying robot’ can fly unaided with softwarecontrolled flight plans and works in conjunction with a GPS.
Currently, consumer drones are most commonly used for video shooting, measurement, navigation, aerial photography and entertainment purposes. Recently, drones have also been used for humanitarian tasks such as rescue and food delivery to remote places. The response to this has been divided, between those who are concerned that these ‘flying robot’s will interfere with air traffic around airports, and invade our privacy contrasted with an excitement about the possibility of receiving parcels quickly and being able to send and receive physical goods without the need for human intervention. Artificial Intelligence (AI) It’s been around since the 1930’s, but AI is becoming as mainstream as Netflix. Use Siri on your iPhone? Well, that’s fundamentally Artificial Intelligence (AI) in action. The growth in computing processing power, and hyper-connectivity, has spawned a revival in a technology that was traditionally restricted to research labs with scientists surrounded by many, many, large, powerful computers. The global technology analyst firm Gartner describes AI as:
technology that appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, appearing to understand complex content and engaging in natural dialogs with people GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 27
There are some that believe that Artificial Intelligence will replace human beings in the future, but my personal belief is that if used in the right way it will aid us from vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, lawn mowers, security to education and learning, the possibilities are endless. AI is promising some significant benefits to retailers, Companies such as shoes.com and stitchfix.com are using intelligent virtual shoppers, they get to know you and make recommendations based on real data. Although I believe there are huge opportunities and applications for AI, computers cannot read or convey emotion and this is the reason we will always need the human factor. 3D Printing The days of limb replacement using donated spare parts from the deceased may soon be no more. We are definitely the closest we have ever been to the bio printing of human parts. 3D printing has come a long way in the past few years. There has been much hype around 3D printing, questionably – too much. But it’s not without reason, as it is certainly a fast growing market that is extending to a number of applications.
iBeacons In a nutshell, the true value of iBeacons lies in its ability to transmit personalised prompts or messages to the individual customer. They are a low-cost piece of hardware ($5 - $60) small enough to attach to a wall or countertop, and use battery-friendly, lowenergy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.
For retailers therefore their potential should be huge – and it’s for this reason that iBeacons are being touted as the next big innovation in retailing technology. But it is also here where the problem lies. iBeacons, like NFC, Bluetooth and in general proximity marketing are essentially only dumb platforms. What is important in these instances is not what the All of this technology can do but where it can d technology an offer real value to consumers and that the possibilities is where the retailers generally fall t u b ss le over. d en are
unless it truly solves a problem then it becomes shiny stuff.
3D printing is basically a process of making threedimensional solid objects from a digital file. The current usages range from practical objects for daily use, to commercial products and parts used in manufacturing. Even the most skeptical can acknowledge that 3D printing is capable of significant changes, globally. Not just on a manufacturing level, but more critically on the medical front. Earlier this year Mattel revealed a 3D printer that allows children to print their own toys (The Thing Maker), the next obvious development is a shoe
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The temptation for any sort of location marketing has been simply to push out offers and discounts rather than to have an intelligent, thought through, appropriate content strategy that drives sales rather than undermines them.
This is lazy marketing that will devalue the brand and makes investment in technology such as iBeacons a waste of resources. The real value will be in providing engaging content and enabling the consumer to make informed decisions in the purchasing process. Wearables Wearables are the latest up and coming trend in the wonderful world of technology. Wearable tech shipments are expected to jump from 85 million last year to 560 million by 2021. There are many applications on the market, from devices and applications that track your heart rate
and food intake to self-healing gadgets that will even monitor your mood – the ‘quantified self’ era is a living and breathing reality. Some have not only held their ground with confidence, but will continue to expand their footprint well into the next generation. The two key players in this market are the Fitbit and the Apple Watch. The latest wearable innovations for 2016 are anchored in the healthcare and education markets. Additional metrics that will be integrated into Fitbit technology include monitoring blood pressure and stress relating to athletic performance. Later this year, Fitbit will also be forging relationships with fashion brands, showcasing a new direction yet to be seen in retail. Virtual Reality A technology that’s quickly being extended beyond gaming, to visualise information as living, immersive experiences. Why confine your experiences to a confined area (say, a screen or projector) when you can view information in rich new ways, in true 3D? Marketing leaders are using Virtual Reality to drive new types of experiences that encourage customers to engage with their brand in exciting and immersive ways. Perhaps you want to simulate what a customer’s new kitchen will look like in their environment? In the VR world, you can quickly determine if an alternate paint shade or tabletop material is better suited to match with all other components of the design brief. Taryn Williams, co-founder and CEO of THERIGHTFIT, said “Innovation means not accepting the status quo. But always looking to find better, more effective and more efficient ways”. All of this technology and the possibilities are endless but unless it truly solves a problem, fulfills a customer need or provides a better, more effective way of doing things then it becomes shiny stuff that is effectively redundant.
Kelly Siessor Kelly Slessor is a Digital Strategist specialising in mobile. With 17 years’ experience, Kelly began her career with British Telecom, the UK’s largest telecommunications provider, and is now the founder and managing director of BanterMob.Kelly has spent her career understanding consumer behaviour, simplifying technology and designing the future based on insights and research.Working with major clients including Westfield, Gluestore, Woolworths, Big W, Suncorp and LendLease right through to SMEs; email@example.com
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by Colin Ellis
Innovating a reluctant profession 30 | GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016
Innovation is something that great organisations strive for. It demonstrates their commitment not to make the same mistakes twice. It demonstrates their desire to embrace new thinking. It demonstrates their commitment to creativity and to ensure that they don’t get left behind in our ever changing world. So imagine working in a profession that has been reluctant to innovate itself for 20 years. Welcome to my world. Welcome to project management.
kinds of projects. However, it’s already being used by some organisations as a shortcut, rather than a mindset. At a conference in 2014, Alistair Cockburn (a signatory of the Agile Manifesto in 2001), said that ‘the notion that Agile doesn’t need good project management is a stinking myth. If you take away the project manager, a project becomes invisible.’ re
Some quick statistics. In 2004, the Standish Group, a collection of experts based in the US who undertake reviews on the success of IT projects estimated that only We need mo 29% of the projects it reviewed were considered successful against time, people to get cost and customer expectation angry about measures. In 2015, that figure was exactly the same. To be clear, in 11 years, there has been no improvement.
the lack of new thinking in project management..
Imagine if only 29% of surgeries were successful. Imagine if 29% of buildings collapsed. Imagine if 29% of new cars didn’t start when they left the showroom? You’d be annoyed, right? You’d want public accountability and you’d want things to change. You’d want new thinking, new blood and a commitment to embracing the new. However, in the world of project management, we continue to accept mediocrity as the norm.
This article, however, is not a negative poke at the profession I love; it’s an honest observation about the lack of innovation in our thinking and a call to arms. If we’re to fix our project problem (the biggest elephant in the room right now), then we have, to be honest about where we are, so we can be committed to fixing it.
Every year over $1bn is spent on development of project managers and yet we don’t develop the very things that will make a difference. Leadership and culture. The best projects your organisation will ever run are down to the person that leads it or the environment they create.
Think of five projects that you know of that have failed. Now think of five projects that you know of that were successful. Unfortunately, it’s a fact the former will easily outweigh the latter.
However, we throw much of the $1bn at methods and processes and not soft skill development. Almost every business book you need will tell you of the importance of great leadership for success. Not so in the project management books.
The only new idea that we’ve added in the last 11 years is that of the Agile approach. A different method for delivering software that project managers can embrace and now utilise across all
Noted project management researcher Dr Lyn Crawford said in a paper that ‘once a project manager had achieved an entry level of project
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BUSINESS management knowledge, then more knowledge doesn’t make them more competent. It’s their personality and leadership style that does.’ We need to give our people the skills, feedback and inspiration to innovate themselves and their workplaces so that they can deliver the transformation initiatives our organisations need to continue to flourish. I’m currently running three year-long project leadership development programs committed to providing project managers and sponsors with the knowledge and techniques to transform the way they deliver. So there are signs that our attitude towards continued poor project performance is changing. We need more people to get angry about the lack of new thinking in project management. We need more heart; we need more courage and we need to evolve our delivery cultures into something we can be proud of. Conscious project leaders give you this. They invest in people, relationships and in fixing - through their projects – the things that are holding your organisation back. They run meetings well. They collaborate effectively. They take accountability. They make work fun. They create something unique that employees across the business want to be part of. You’ve seen these vibrant project cultures. You’ve worked in them. You can hear them and feel them. This doesn’t happen by chance. Remember, the best projects are down to the person that leads it or the environment they create. For project management to be successful, we need to innovate the people. We need to remind them that projects are about different kinds of people and give them the knowledge to find better and smarter ways to motivate those people to do great things. Innovating a profession is not my sole responsibility, however, I’m not going to stop until organisations get the results from their projects that they expect. .CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO
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Colin Ellis Colin Ellis talks, writes and works with organisations to put conscious leaders and great cultures back at the heart of getting things done. He applies the same principles at home, which makes him really popular with his wife and two children. You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or by following him on Twitter (@ colindellis). firstname.lastname@example.org
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by Patrick Hollingworth
Parallels between Mountaineering and Business?
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You’ve no doubt seen it before, at a business conference or perhaps a leadership offsite retreat. The ‘motivational’ speaker who has conquered their fears and climbed a mountain and thinks that their success is relevant to yours. They are rolled out and tell you inspirational stories about the difficulties they overcame to reach their summit. They exhort superficial colloquialisms about setting goals, never giving up and overcoming all odds. Inspirational? Perhaps. But relevant to your own workplace? Not so much. Despite the worlds of business and mountaineering sharing a number of parallels (managing resources, decision making, managing risk and collaboration, to name but a few), they have never before been meaningfully explored in the business. The problem with this is that such simple messages and lessons are no longer relevant in today’s increasingly uncertain and complex business landscape. So what is relevant then? A remarkable parallel It just so happens that there is a remarkable parallel between the way that most mountaineers climb mountains and the way that most business leaders run their businesses today, and it has a name—it’s called expedition style. Expedition style has its roots in the Himalayas, the highest mountain range on earth. The inherent difficulties associated with incredibly low levels of oxygen and the extreme cold make it nearly impossible for climbers to stay alive up there. To mitigate these difficulties, expedition style is an approach which uses considerable equipment and manpower. A reliance upon fixed infrastucture and massive manpower Much of the equipment used is fixed infrastructure—things like fixed ropes and stocked camps which are left in-situ on the mountain for the duration of the climb, which is sometimes up to two months. Expedition style also relies significantly upon people power—and lots of
it. Typical Everest expeditions these days are comprised of an expedition leader, three or four western guides, up to 40 Sherpas (an indigenous ethnic group, widely regarded for the climbing skills, who do most of the hard work by carrying all of the equipment up the mountain), and at least that number again of climbers. Climbing expedition style can be quite a powerful way to climb a mountain, but it’s also very expensive, very inefficient and not particularly good at adapting to changing circumstances (such as the weather). Nor is it very aesthetic (think of long queues of climbers waiting to reach the summit). Furthermore, whilst expedition style is quite robust, it tends to break apart when unexpected events happen. For example, in 2014 an avalanche which killed 16 Sherpas resulted in the Mount Everest being closed to climbers, and it was closed again the following year when an earthquake struck Nepal and triggered a massive avalanche at base camp, killing 20 people. Many organisations are expedition style It’s the same way in which most organisations operate. Reliance upon (and preferably ownership of) fixed infrastructure is seen as advantageous (it enables the organisation to dominate their market), and a linear, hierarchical structure which features centralised and top-down leadership. Just like on the mountain, organisations which operate in this manner can be quite robust, but tend to suffer from chronic inefficiencies, over-bureaucratisation, slow response times to change, and a tendency to fail when significant unexpected events occur (think of any number of organisations which failed during the GFC, or which are starting to fail now through disruption and disintermediation). GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 35
BUSINESS So, what’s the alternative? The solution: it’s called alpine style It’s called alpine style (colloquially it’s known as light and fast). Practiced by a relatively small subset of highly-skilled mountaineers, the solution is to move quickly through the mountain environment, carrying as little equipment as possible—only the bare essentials needed for the climb.
That’s what alpine style, or light and fast, provides. It’s both an ethos, and a methodology. It’s a new way for business to deal with this increasingly uncertain and complex business landscape.
By restricting their reliance upon equipment, two things happen for alpine-style mountaineers: firstly, they are much lighter, and therefore faster and more able to respond to sudden change; and secondly, they become self-reliant. Rather than depending upon infrastructure to assist them in reaching their goals, they only have themselves and their immediate climbing partners to rely on. And so the more an alpine-style climber climbs, the better they become. Light and fast is the future When climbing alpine style in a small team (usually only two or three climbers on one rope, or perhaps four climbers climbing in roped pairs), there is no structural hierarchy and no central leader; rather there is shared decision making responsibility as the team members collaborate across a networklike structure. Each climber brings a skill set which compliments their fellow team members, ensuring that as a whole, the team is able to respond to the vagaries of the terrain. The high levels of skills then mean that each alpine-style team can operate autonomously, and does not require guidance from a central leader and decision maker. It is this ability for autonomy which enables the network structure (as opposed to the traditional linear, hierarchical structure of expedition style). If you’re a leader of an organisation and you’re looking to thrive in this current period of market ‘disruption’, you’re no doubt finding it to be both an exciting and frightening time to be doing your work. We all know that business competition and instability has increased, whilst barriers to entry have fallen, chronic employee disengagement is on the rise, and the global economic recovery is incredibly fragile. All of this makes doing business in today’s world incredibly challenging. We are often being told that the solution to this seemingly chaotic landscape is to be agile and innovative. But few can actually articulate what that looks like in an organisational context.
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Patrick Hollingworth Patrick Hollingworth works with people, teams and organisations to help them deal with a world, which is becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous by the day. He’s summited multiple 8000 metre peaks, including Mount Everest. He is based in Australia and travels internationally to deliver keynote presentations, workshops, mentoring and consulting to a range of organisations. Find out more at patrickhollingworth.com
WORK HARD STAY HUMBLE DREAM BIG
BUSINESS by Jenny Brockis
Innovation starts with safety first! 38 | GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind the faithful servant” Albert Einstein.
The problem according to Ian McGilchrist author of “The Master and his Emissary” is that we have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. Business has long worshipped at the altar of logic, analysis and reasoning, overlooking the need for curiosity, intuition and insight for greater problem solving and better decisionmaking. The quest for innovation has taken a new and urgent turn as businesses and companies jostle for position to stay one step ahead of the pack. It’s also a quest for survival because staying with the status quo is now tantamount to running backwards as the volume and velocity of change and new technologies forge ahead unabated. The challenge lies in creating the right environment to promote innovation. We have to feel safe to speak up to share our great new idea. But with continuing cutbacks, job losses and heavier workloads we start to feel less safe, choosing instead to stay quiet, lie low and hope no one comes looking for your head in the next round of job cuts. Leading innovation starts with creating a brain safe work environment. Being highly social and hardwired to connect with others, stimulating creativity begins by recognising what threatens our sense of safety so we can learn how to mitigate that threat in others and ourselves. Start by identifying what motivates you to feel inspired and creative at work. While having a nice outlook, comfy desk and access to good coffee helps, what also counts is feeling valued, respected and included. Just as living in a big city can be associated with intense loneliness, working in an environment where your boss or manager doesn’t know who you are, never takes any interest in you
as a person and has no idea of your name leads to a lack of relatedness. Why bother making a suggestion if no one is listening anyway? There are six TRAICE elements that contribute to our sense of safety. Some overlap and complement each other. Some will be more relevant to your circumstances than others, but all of them contribute in some shape or form to every interpersonal relationship we have. Our brain’s primary function is to keep us safe. It is continually scanning our environment on the look out of anything new or different and because it’s “safety first,” the default setting is to assume this is always potential danger. This means we have to work hard to double check the information because our first assumptions and judgments are heavily influenced by our belief systems and bias and can often be completely wrong! Leading ourselves to greater insight means choosing to uncouple from our heavy overlay of focus to give the brain the room it needs to tap into our mighty subconscious and look for those hitherto unseen or unrecognised associated thoughts. It requires the freedom of thought – a little mind wandering helps, which is why scheduling 15 minutes of time out every day is so important to promote deeper thought and reflection. Your Brilliant Idea depends on your social intelligence. Social intelligence is what builds connection, relatedness and collaboration. Until developed, tested and formulated with the help of others, your brilliant idea is unlikely to become realised. Avoiding social pain keeps the brain in a more relaxed state and open to new idea and ways of thinking. Problem solving needs the best of both worlds: conscious awareness of the problem being worked on and unfettered imagination and insight. The Six TRAICE elements for workplace safety. It all starts (and ends) with trust. Trusting others not to break a confidence and share what we hold dear begins with trusting ourselves. If we don’t trust ourselves to stay true to our values and beliefs, why should anyone else? Demonstrating our trustworthiness comes from consistency, transparency and authenticity. We build trust slowly in tiny increments. It is GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 39
BUSINESS normal for trust to wax and wane because we are imperfect and fallible. It takes continual work to maintain because it can be lost in moment through a careless throwaway comment or omission of support. Office gossip is a form of bullying that breaks trust and shuts down innovation and creativity. Respect yourself and others. Where we sit in the pecking order of life at any given time is linked to our sense of identity. That’s why feeling disrespected matters because it is linked to humiliation, shame and loss of selfesteem. Our brain perceives a threat to our status like the sound of unfamiliar footsteps behind us as we walk down a dark alley.
Empathy. It’s sad when empathy packs its bags and leaves the building, because it leaves a void of human connection and understanding. Empathy draws us together. It enables us to recognise what someone else is going feeling and our own experience of that. Fear, stress and exhaustion all contribute to a lack of empathy and contribute to the formation of a silo mentality. The joy of innovation and creativity is piqued by our sense of curiosity and comes from a place of safety. Building your brain safe environment starts with the TRAICE elements and connecting at the human level.
Acknowledging others with a smile and “hello” goes a long way to maintaining mutual respect. Autonomy prevails. One of the top reasons given for why people choose to leave their job is lack of opportunity or challenge. Micromanagement is rife in many workplaces. It may reflect insecurity on the part of the manager rather than the capability of an employee. Having someone constantly look over your shoulder, correcting your work is highly demotivating. What is far more rewarding is having the support of a manager or boss who not only recognises your capabilities but openly encourages you to step up to new and untested challenges. Even the perception of self-direction such as being included in conversations around proposed organisational change can help to diminish the threat of loss of autonomy. Impartiality. There’s nothing that gets up our nose more than feeling as if we have been treated unfairly. Favouritism, others being given credit for your hard work and inequality makes us feel disgusted. It lights up an area of the brain called the insula and the feeling is often intense. Playing fair is more than looking for legal loopholes; it is about consistency and looking out for the welfare and wellbeing of everyone at work. Clarity. If we’re not entirely sure of someone’s expectations of us, it’s hard to know we are on the right track. Communicating clearly, unambiguously and fully goes a long way to reduce uncertainty, which is often associated with fear and anxiety. Worry stops innovation in its tracks. We seek clarity to stay feeling safe.
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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). email@example.com drjennybrockis.com
Create your ownfinancial fairytale
Connections are important
Relationships are important
Sharing all you know makes the difference
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noun a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes; coins and banknotes collectively.
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MONEY by Melissa Browne
INNOVATE YOUR FINANCES Every year I decide (on at least three different occasions, including New Years) to work on my fitness. Many years ago I used to play state league netball so my fitness was kind of taken care of with an activity I really enjoyed. Unfortunately age, my general klutziness and an ankle reconstruction wiped out any further netballing and I’ve been struggling with my fitness ever since. Over the years I’ve tried many different methods when it comes to exercising regularly. I’ve tried rewards based outcomes, DVDs and classes, gym memberships, hashtags, buying outfits I want to wear to make it more fun, trying to con other people to work out with me and so much more. I’ve also tried working out for a short time every day, working out three times a week, four times a week and so many more varieties on the same theme. The problem for me is I simply don’t enjoy exercising and I will find any and every excuse known to get out of it.
are thinking I should just suck it up and do it. It’s OK, I think that too. The thing is, this year I have finally stumbled upon something that seems to have worked. I’m hesitant to write that but it’s a month in and I’ve been consistent for the entire month without feeling like it’s hard. Now it’s a revolutionary idea and I’m tempted to create a seven step system and sell it online but I’m going to let you in on my secret here. I work out every second day for 30 minutes or more.
I also work really hard and don’t have many weekends when I’m not working at least some of the time. So I act like my very own best friend by giving myself heaps of time off when it comes to working out. Because I’m worth it.
Again, I’m sure many of you are shaking your head believing I’m ridiculous (it’s OK, I am). But the point I’m making is after probably a good five years or starts, false starts and many, many months of doing nothing I’ve finally stumbled upon something that really works for me. Maybe it’s because I can stop after thirty minutes or maybe it’s because every second day I can choose not to work out and feel absolutely no guilt about it whatsoever. Or maybe it’s because it’s not a system I can cheat because of its simplicity. Regardless of the reason, I’ve finally found a method that works for me.
Now I’m sure many of you are nodding along because you do exactly the same thing. I’m also sure there are others who are super organised that
The reason I’m writing about this is because this has taken me at least five years and many failures and restarts during that half a decade to stumble
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upon something that works. It would have been really easy at any point during those five years to give up. To work out, that fitness and I are not a natural fit and to put my energy into reality TV or something equally enjoyable instead. However I knew that ultimately, in order to really enjoy life in the terms I wanted to, I needed to sort myself out, get off the couch and move intentionally and frequently.
finances. That’s OK and perhaps it’s time for you to admit that. Instead of trying to find the silver bullet, try focussing on finding the solution that will create great habits for you and give you the freedom and options to choose what you want to do with your life.
As we head into the second quarter of this year, or if you’re in Australia towards the end of the financial year, it’s yet another opportunity to have I know it’s the same for many of you when it a new beginning. Maybe it will only be your fourth comes to money. go at finally sorting You’ve tried many your money out or different types of maybe like my battle “This has taken me at least five years budgets over the with fitness, maybe it’s and many failures and restarts during years and they all been half a decade of that half a decade to stumble upon gradually fizzled trying and this will be something that works. ” out, along with the habit that sticks. your enthusiasm, The thing is, you won’t after a brief period of time. You’ve also tried know until you start. Here’s to trying again and different investment plans, different advisors, again and again and creating amazing gradual dabbled in the stock market, property and tried to improvements and habits that stick. understand your superannuation. You also may have consolidated credit cards, cut up cards and vowed to have a zero balance every month. But when you look at your finances today, nothing’s improved. In fact, if it’s anything like my fitness, you’re probably in a worse position than when you started. The problem is, as I realised with my fitness, if you do nothing and choose failure then the only one that will really suffer is you. Instead, why not take a deep breath and decide to try again. Maybe speak to a different advisor, read another book, sign up to a different course, try a different budgeting app or take your credit cards out of your wallet (again). At least make the decision that money may not be something which comes naturally to you or you’ll ever really enjoy dealing with (kind of like fitness with me) but it’s simply a tool you need to figure out how to use in a way that will give you financial options. I think in life, too often we’re hunting for the silver bullet. For the incredibly innovative thing that will pull us out of our financial pit. I don’t think this mindset is limited to money, finances and the numbers but it’s something I see a lot in this space. I think sometimes innovation is trying, failing, trying something new, failing, improving it, failing, tweaking it again, failing and randomly, by chance stumbling upon the thing that works for you (or your customers). Rather than discovering the silver bullet.
Melissa Browne 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.
Some things simply don’t come naturally or easily to us and for some of you that’s money and GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 45
Louise Agnew is a of ‘Worthy Women LYFE Group is also
Janine Garner, our managing ed up with Louise to discuss all thin business growth plans and Louis her business.
JG: Where did your passion fo your own business come from LA: As an adviser coming from m environments -banking, boutiqu corporate - I saw there was a re more financial education in our particular for those working wo access to more money but less on how to optimize it. I believe wealth is within all of our reach skills and strategies to allow us t correctly.
Creating Ripples Of Change For Everyone
JG: What is the big WHY for Ly LA: What we should have been school was very clearly left out and life skills. Our ‘why’? Comin underprivileged country where much need, it seemed ludicrous financial literacy rates in Austral developing countries and to wit financial institutions “exploiting” so freely. We are passionate abo clients are in a position to make financial choices and become a for their own money. Equally th too will have the freedom of cho social enterprise decisions like s a grant program for orphaned g Africa to acquire life skills once t school.
JG: LyfeGroup consists of 4 ke of focus – can you explain how together? LA: LyfeAcademy is the starting many of our clients. This is a lea space where we raise awarenes many different options available Essentially the key here is for ou learn about the options availabl of where to place their money a vehicle will best suit their needs
LyfePlanning is there to assist w advice on where best to place c and how best to structure their while still continuing to ensure maintain the right levels of asse
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Director of LYFE Group, speaker, financial strategist and author n – stories to inspire financial confidence and success in your life’. o our newest supporting partner, here at GLOSS.
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with financial clients money investments, clients need to et protection.
Growing wealth requires access to positive debt through leverage, so having a protection strategy in place is essential. LyfeProperty - As most Australians understand and love property, LyfeProperty offer property investment strategies to our clients. Property is only recommended if required as an investment vehicle and if it’s right for the client, as a means to diversify, leverage and grow over time. This is not the ONLY strategy we use for our clients. As most advisers only offer information or guidance on property investment very few actually recommend this as an investment vehicle … this baffles us as an organisation but the truth is that there is little remuneration for advisers to promote this vehicle as another option for clients. Many property groups sell a property first and then tack on financial planning to protect the property. We flip that around and create a plan from day one that incorporates a property investment strategy as one option in their total financial plan. LyfeGlobal is an immigration, repatriation and foreign investor service to help those who want to invest in Australia. LyfeGlobal was created off the back of our own experience as, arriving from South Africa, we found that there was a lack of information and assistance to newcomers or investors. Our LyfeGlobal arm assists newcomers to assimilate quicker. We work collaboratively with specialists in immigration, work transition, and settling services to provide a so-called “one-stop welcome shop”. JG: What problem are you really solving for your clients? LA: Our clients tend to have double income and children, they run incredibly busy lives and lack the time to implement their own investment objectives. Many, by late 40’s or 50’s, realise too late that they had some easy options 10 years prior to grow wealth while they had the chance. Our focus is to create an “early adopter mindset” in a trusting, helpful and family friendly environment that offers, at its core, total “peace of mind” for
future retirement planning. SMSF is a huge part of this bigger picture. JG: In your book “Worthy Women” you share your passion about women gaining financial education and independence – why is this so important right now? LA: The world is moving so fast, there are products and scams at every turn. The shiny, glossy wealth magicians are luring clients into schemes that are “too good to be true” people are being caught out all the time. Without access to good “wholesome” real financial basics and knowledge it’s hard to be able to disassemble the good, from the bad and plain ugly scams. The objective of the book was to raise awareness on getting the fundamentals right so that your visibility becomes significantly clearer when it comes to making investment choices. It assists women to make better financial decisions for their family’s future. JG: What are the 3 critical pieces of advice you would share? LA: • Never underestimate the power of compounding interest especially with regards to your super. This is the best place to invest money long term as it’s your money and with the tax effectiveness, it’s possible to build wealth more steadily paying only 15% tax on income. • Know when to leverage and to what age you are comfortable doing this up until. Have an end goal in mind for borrowing and make a plan and time to be able to pay off all debts in a consistent and wellstrategized way to minimize tax as you transition into your retirement years. • Always have an exit strategy and a backup plan when considering advice. The what if and “rainy day” fund is critical to ensuring long term wealth building JG: What are the biggest mistakes you see happening with women and finance? LA: Trusting the wrong people, and being lured by sales people. Doing research is never an issue for women but finding credible resources GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 47
to research (through online overwhelm) rather than believing “hear say” is very important. Invest in some good books and sign up to our weekly blogs and newsletters
better and what our strengths were. This year our approach is one of absolute support and leverage in terms of finding those that are good at what they do to support our weak spots.
JG: Collaboration is at the core of what we do at LBDGroup - how does this apply to your business and why do you think collaboration is a critical part of business in 2016 and beyond? LA: We collaborate a lot with external specialists - we use a number of mortgage brokers, risk insurers for our different client needs, as well as having a team of accountants to refer. We coordinate a plan with these teams to ultimately “project manage” your financial plan. Our latest partnering has been with digital outsourcing companies to run smoother internal operations.
JG: What is the big vision for LYFE Group? LA: Our challenge is to grow digitally and take a non-linear approach to growth by not hiring more staff but using technology to give our clients a smooth and superior customer experience. That way we can continue to give our best in the areas we succeed by partnering with teams that are delivering great digital automation processes.
JG: What are the biggest challenges you are facing right now as a business / industry? LA: We are very different to the mainstream advisers. Trying to be different is hard when the general view of financial advisory is not a great one from past industry errors. We are fee for service and work hard on client relationships to create a sustainable business. The industry by nature is conservative which doesn’t equal results. We have now found a progressive licensee who understands out vision and this has been a huge step forward in delivering what we believe real life stage advice should be. JG: Who inspires you? LA: I grew up in a household where my parents had a family business; they took risks to be different and didn’t always win. Today I understand this more than ever, I am inspired by the disruptors that go against the flow, that make a mark in their industry. I have come to learn that these people have failed many times before they have succeeded and yet have the stamina determination and drive because they are fueled by passion. People like Ariana Huffington, Lisa Messenger, Branson and the like… but honestly our everyday clients are the most inspiring. They come to us knowing little, trust us with a lot; they learn, grow and deliver every time. This is so rewarding to see and it’s the little every day things that inspires huge change for the future of financial literacy. JG: You recently took a 3-month sabbatical from your business? How was this and what did you learn about yourself? LA: Wow, it was busy, challenging and fun. I learned that I can’t sit still, that I love a challenge, I have energy that surpasses most and my sole passion and goal in life is to keep doing what I do well. We as a couple and business partnership learned how to let go of a lot in our business that was holding us back from growth, we learned how to communicate
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Our hope is to change the way people feel about money, to help people enjoy their money and lifestyles and to assist family’s to grow their wealth, and pass it on to their future generations to do the same. We are at the pinnacle of creating such ripples of change. It’s a very exciting time.
Louise Agnew Louise Agnew is a Director of LYFE Group, speaker, financial strategist and author of ‘Worthy Women – stories to inspire financial confidence and success in your life’. LYFE Group is also our newest supporting partner, here at GLOSS. firstname.lastname@example.org
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the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproductions, functional activity and continual change preceding death.
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In Her Words Tracey Mathers Where were you born and where did you spend your childhood? I was born in Brisbane, and grew up on acreage at Kenmore with my awesome parents, two sisters and a menagerie of animals. Where did your professional dream begin? As a third generation retailer from the Mathers Shoe family, I grew up knowing that I wanted to follow in the family foot steps. I remember sitting on my dad’s knee in his office in Mary Street Brisbane from a very young age, and saying I truly want to run this company. One day. That was not to be, but the dream, I never let go of. I worked for Mathers casually from the age of 14, and then started full time when I finished school, while studying Business Management at night. Mathers was a public company, Woolworth America bought them out in 1989, I stayed working for them but they closed the Imported more expensive part of their business in late 1990, which left a big gap in that market. Part of my job was to source new retail locations for their concept stores. Renowned Brisbane architect Robin Gibson, who was a family friend, was doing the whole renovation on the Tattersall’s Arcade in Brisbane City. I asked for a sneak peek at what he was creating, and just loved his vision for the Arcade. So that sealed my future, I decided to open my first store in the fabulous Tattersall’s Arcade in 1991 at the age of 24 Tell us more about what you do? So I guess I live a lot of girl’s dreams. I buy thousands of pairs of shoes every year to sell in my stores. I choose colours, designs and change looks to work for my clientele. I travel to Europe
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and America to see what is on offer and what colours and looks are going to be on trend for the season. I work very closely with my staff and have a great working relationship with them. They are the face of my business and represent my name when I am not there. So to me it is very important that they know me and know me well. They need to understand what I am trying to create so that they can work with me to make that happen in the stores. The thing I am most excited about is I have just started a mentoring business, spending time and working with clients who are looking to change their life for the better. People who are looking to change things that are not working for them, or to make things that are working just that bit more fabulous. Together we are really kicking goals and I love seeing people go from not sure, to super confident with great direction and new found energy and dedication. A big part of my mentoring is addressing the issues that need to be faced, coming up with the solutions together of how that can be achieved but importantly making sure that my clients are following through to make these changes happen. What have you learnt about yourself during your career? Wow so much and the great part is I still learn every day. I have a very open mind policy. I know I don’t know it all, I love hanging around smarter people than me, I love to listen to them and learn. The big thing I now know about myself though is, I really like myself. I like who I am, I like my compassion, my friendliness, my tough but fair attitude, my people skills and my ability to survive when things are not going according to plan. You
will never find me curled up in a corner, I might be licking my wounds momentarily but I will be back up and at it in no time at all. What 3 key gems of advice would you share? LISTEN…..if you don’t you will never have the success you want. Listen and take notes every day from those around you. Sometimes your greatest life lesson, that will be your key to success, will be delivered from someone you never thought. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SMART PEOPLE……a big key to success is knowing when to let go of people or situations that are doing you more harm than good. You need to hang with smart people who will build you up, people who don’t use the word “no” or “can’t” very often. These are the people that will bring growth and a great attitude to our lives.
Your favourite things: Destination: Las Vegas it is Disneyland for grown ups Drink: Oh now you will all know my uncouth side. I am a rum girl, probably because I own a boat, all pirates drink rum App: I apologise in advance for the basic answer with this, but it is Uber. I have always had a phobia about being stolen in a taxi, now my husband can watch where I am going and I somehow feel a little safer. If you were a hashtag what would it be?
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS……..if we don’t ask we don’t learn and we don’t grow and evolve. I have had people shake their head and say to me I can’t believe you asked that. I don’t care I am improving myself, if people see me improving myself as embarrassing that is their issue not mine. Sometimes I do need to put the brain in gear before I open my mouth though lol 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? I love life, I enjoy what I do, I love the people I meet and the conversations I have with them. I like nice things so I know I have to earn, to have that. I love seeing great results achieved and changes made that make people happier. I am very blessed to have an incredible, loving and supportive family. My husband and sisters are always there to help me through good and bad times. What’s next in the journey of BRAND YOU? I am writing a book this year which is very exciting. I want to launch myself on the speaking circuit and to continue to do great work with changing the lives of my clients.
Tracey Mathers With retail running through her veins, third generation shoe retailer Tracey Mathers opened her very first store back in 1991 at 24 years of age. Having had multiple stores has been both fabulous and challenging in forever changing times. Tracey now also has a mentoring business aimed at helping people find their “why”and ‘How’ in life, traceymathers.com develop the star within. email@example.com traceymathers.com.au
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In Her Words Fiona Craig
Where were you born and where did you spend your childhood? I was born in a small town in Central Scotland called Denny. I grew up there with 4 other brothers and left home at 18 to go to University in Aberdeen. My Mum and Dad had a family business and I went to the local school, which I loved! Where did your professional dream begin? I always loved writing and speaking during school. I had been singing on stage since the age of 8, and while all my friends shied away from public speaking, I revelled in it. I originally wanted to be a journalist but ended up studying law instead. While I don’t regret my decisions, I think the fact that it wasn’t the best career choice for me has driven me to help others understand their passions, talents and desires and follow a path that makes them come alive. Tell us more about what you do? I love helping organisations and individuals build brilliance through my speaking, training, coaching
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and connecting. I recently founded SmartWomen Connect to help women in professional services build better networks, profile and business. I also work with professional service firms to train and support professional staff to become effective business developers and leaders. Because for many people, it just doesn’t come naturally. And for most firms, they realise this too late - usually once the individual has already been promoted to a senior position. Firms with a competitive edge get that personal brand and profile building is crucial even from the earliest stage of a professional’s career. What have you learnt about yourself during your career I have learnt that I love ideas, variety and change and also that I am much more creative than I believed – the truth is we all are. I am also incredibly resilient and positive and this has served me, and my clients, well.
What 3 key gems of advice would you share? Do everything in your power to find out what makes you feel totally ALIVE and integrate it in your work and life. For me it is presenting and speaking. For you it may be something completely different, but there is always something – you just have to dig deep to uncover it and then be brave and embrace it. Take imperfect action – perfectionism holds us back from achieving our potential. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Your favourite things: Destination: Byron Bay Drink: Crisp Sauvignon Blanc App: Tinder because I’m dating again ;) (and technologically it’s genius!) If you were a hashtag what would it be?
Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and who have literally got your back. Your professional and personal connections are the common thread in your success and also in your personal happiness. What are some of the mistakes you made and learnings from them? I think the biggest mistakes I have made have all revolved around doing what I thought others wanted or expected to me do, rather than following my own path. I have learnt to be more selective in who I take advice from. I’m also prone to “shiny thing syndrome” which has led me down some paths that didn’t work, and that distracted me from my core purpose. I’m getting better at focussing on one or two projects and nailing those. What keeps you going? Many things! My son, my family and friends, the women I coach…I also have an iron rod which is certainty in myself and who I am and that runs through my core – it helps me be strong enough to pick myself up when I fall down. Having had breast cancer 2 years ago, I genuinely value and love life and I plan to make the most of every day I am here. What’s next in the journey of BRAND YOU? I’ve recently moved back to Sydney and my business is taking off! I’m launching SmartWomen Connect for women in professional services, and I’m writing my first book “The Visible Woman” which will be available in the next few months.
Fiona Craig Fiona Craig is passionate about uncovering and building brilliance in others. Through speaking, coaching and training she shows women how to find and embrace that brilliance. She is also the Founder of SmartWomen Connect, a new community to help women in professional services gain the skills, confidence and connections they need to create a career and life that makes their heart sing fionacraig.com.au
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Be Brave enough to start a conversation that matters 58 | GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016
pronoun used to refer to the person or people that the speaker is addressing.
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by Pollyanna Lenkic
Innovation starts within
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We often look towards others for inspiration and forget to look inwards, to notice our own internal inspiration, thereby losing the link between what inspires us and inspiring others. When it comes to innovation we can fall into the same trap missing the vital foundation that selfinnovation provides. The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of Innovation is ‘To innovate’ of which the definition is ‘Make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or product’ Interestingly there is no definition for SelfInnovation. A definition could include: ‘Make changes to established ideas/beliefs, ways of behaving and showing up /operating in the world’ A significant foundation for leading a successful and fulfilled life, both professionally and personally, is Self-Innovation. Like the well- used metaphor of putting the oxygen mask on ourselves before attempting to help others, exploring self- innovation enables us to contribute to others, our communities, the organisations we work with and for and the world we live in, in a more meaningful way - because, we have put ourselves in the picture! Self-Innovation ignites a hunger in us that propels us towards our compelling purpose. We are a product of our own creation, built on a foundation of beliefs (made up and inherited) made real by the behaviours we engage in (often unconsciously) that result in outcomes ranging in bandwidth from disaster to fabulous.
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YOU Self -innovation requires letting go of beliefs and behaviours that continue to keep you stuck and exhausted. Self- innovation leads to igniting innovation in others. * Self-Innovation is not a linear process it’s an evolving dance that connects in three components:
Fortunately we have our Champions who also live here, they are our unsung heroes. We just need to turn down the volume on the saboteur’s voice and hear the voice of our champions. They are already at the summit guiding us up, keeping our flow of ideas alive, inviting us to come and play, to have fun and see the world from a higher view. Here we connect themes, ideas and people. Here we are innovative!
* Self: What’s important to me, what holds me back and what moves me forward. It’s incredibly important to take time to focus on ‘Self’ to understand what we need and how we have those needs met. It’s where we uncover whether our needs are being met in a healthy or in an unhealthy way. * Other: From the perspective of Other we observe the impact on others, what do they want/need? How does the thing I want and need impact others? This is a place of deep curiosity that takes us out of self and our needs /interests and connects us to the needs /interests of others. Here we ignite our hunger to the hunger of others. It’s a place of a meeting of minds, passion and purpose .Sometimes it’s bumpy here as we take in diverse viewpoints and make sense of what this means from a higher perspective. When we look through this lens, we broaden our view * World: When we take in a world view, we look at culture, atmosphere and values. We look at what’s needed, how and where we need to unite and step up. It’s no longer a solitary game, we play big here, we don’t have the answers and we lean in together to create impact and change at an organisational and global level. Holly Ranson who was featured in the February / March issue of Gloss was deeply connected to her ‘Why’ her reason for being and acting, she was not put off by not knowing ‘the how’ We can shut down innovation by focusing too hard on the how, the history and the why not! Another killer of self-innovation are the saboteurs that can reign free in our minds, they starve innovation by their rules of who we are and who we are not, what is possible and what is not, stifling self-belief and self-confidence. We melt under their gaze forgetting to have fun and to back ourselves, instead, we find ourselves backed into a corner.
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Pollyanna Lenkic Pollyanna is passionate about supporting individuals and teams to thrive . At 24, she co-founded a specialist IT consultancy in London, which grew from humble beginnings to a permanent team of 18 with 100+ consultants and an annual turnover of £11 million. Today, Pollyanna’s focus is on building sustainable high performing teams and supporting women to thrive both personally and professionally. She is the author of Women & Success: Redefining What Matters Most At Home, At Work and At Play. firstname.lastname@example.org
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YOU by Nikki Fogdon Moore
WHY YOU NEED TO RUN YOUR
The key pillars of Ultimate Vitality - healthy, wea back into your busy weEK The best way to achieve wellness when you’re running your business full steam ahead, is to re-set your perspective on what a winning week, health and well being really looks like. My motto is to think like a FITPRENEUR - to be a true leader and achieve ultimate vitality we need to be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise. This means being prepared to think differently about your game plan for balancing work, home life, friends, family, me time and well-being. It needs to be seamlessly integrated - not compartmentalised. I’m going to show you how: Here are my top five wellness tips for super busy people:
1. Fresh Air
2. Fresh Food
Get outside. You don’t need a gym to look and feel your personal best - you just actually need to move and make fitness part of your daily routine no matter where you are. Lace up your shoes and head out the door of your hotel, home or office for at least 15 minutes. Combine cardio exercise with some bodyweight exercises on a daily basis. Don’t use old excuses of no time. Even a 15 minute fresh air session in the morning sets your day up. That’s just 1% of your day. Use nature as your gym while you’re travelling for work, during the weekends with your family and as a way to catch up with friends.
Go green – the darker the natural colour of fresh food the higher the level of nutritional value. Forget calorie counting and denial – just focus on adding quality food to your daily life. Stick to food as close as possible to it’s natural state. Pile up on salads and fresh foods when eating out and limit rich dressings, heavy meals and unnecessary carbs. No diets or fads just a straight-forward approach to fresh healthy ingredients that taste great and nourish your body. Ditch the packaged, processed and over-cooked foods. Fresh is best. It’s the easiest rule to stick to and you can’t go wrong. H2O on the go: If you’re stressed and tired avoid alcohol. Have fresh lime in soda water as your go-to drink at functions, ensure you have a fresh water on your desk at all times and while traveling keep hydrated.
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R BODY LIKE YOUR BUSINESS
althy and wise and 5 top tips to bring balance
3. Fresh Perspective
4. Plan your winning week
Throw out the old stories of needing an hour every day in the gym to workout and make a new plan for the life you have right now. Build your fitness around your travel, work and family life. Binge exercising is not sustainable and won’t create lasting results. Think of all activities as options on a hard drive you can choose from throughout the week that suit your schedule. On busier days just keep it simple, days with more time you can add longer walks, runs, swims and cycles for cardio health. Be adventurous too. Why not try something new such as biking, hiking, stand up paddle boarding or take up a team sport. Who knows what you’ll find but the most important element is to have fun and take a different approach to exercise.
Run your body like your business – plan health and fitness, time with friends, family and ME time into your weekly agenda like you would meetings or appointments. Schedule social catchups with an activity that combines a workout and spending time with family or friends. Consistency is key. Pack your workout gear for travel, ensure you have healthy snacks and good food choices on the road. Don’t leave it to chance. Book time in your agenda and make it visible to your team, your PA and your family. No dramatic statements about big goals, just regular moments in your week where you chip away at your fitness, plan time for your ME moments and perhaps have the other options in of attending a yoga class or going for a jog with friends. It’s time to make this a visible part of your leadership role.
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5. The 1% rule Commit to fitness and wellbeing 1% of your day every day. If you put 14.4 minutes into your day for health and exercise you will be 100% better off in 100 days! No excuses. Fedex is not sending you a new body tomorrow so best make your health and well being a part of your day. It’s about healthy habits as part of your life. Don’t wait. As you kickstart your personal journey into being your fit, healthy self – remember it’s about balance. Focus on what you can add to your life rather than what you have to give up. Integrate this as a lifestyle not just at home, but in the wider sense of your world. The impact will be amazing. It’s time to throw out the old rules of long workouts and strict diets, regimes you might have had in your twenties - and start a new type of fitness and health that fits in with your life and your goals as they are now. Just like 90 day planning for your business, you need to do 90 day planning for your body. It’s time to run your body like you do your business. Have Fun: Start doing regular exercise you enjoy and schedule your weekly fitness goals based around your schedule. Be realistic, be clear about what vitality means to you, looks and feels like and divide your goals up into bite size chunks. Whatever your age or fitness level, you can bring fitness and vitality back into your daily life.
Nikki Fodgen Moore 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.
Yours in Vitality
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YOU by Fiona Tuck
MAKING HEALTHIER FOOD SWAPS EASY FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
If you are keen to get the kids to eat more veggies or are just looking for some healthier meal alternatives for family dinner time it may be as simple as making some innovative food swaps to help you on your way. The best step we can take toward making positive changes in our diet is to cut back on processed and refined foods such as margarine spreads, refined rice and pasta and packaged foods like pizza and ice cream. We all know what we need to do but the secret is to have an alternative that you enjoy and even prefer eating so eventually you will stop craving the junk food. Increasing the nutrient content in the meals we prepare by subtly swapping traditional low nutrient foods such as bread and pasta to vitality boosting fruits and vegetables will help to keep us healthy and feeling full of vitality.
Try these healthy food swaps Margarine spread for avocado Margarine spreads go through an intense process called hydrogenation which turns them from a liquid oil to a solid. These spreads consist of hydrogenated fats which are difficult for the body to metabolize and as a result can contribute to disease. This is because hydrogenated or â€œtrans-â€?
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fats tend to become oxidized thereby creating cell damage and inflammation within the body. Trans fats have even been linked to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory conditions and some cancers. Swapping to avocado gives you the healthy fats that your body requires plus additional nutrients such as fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E and potassium plus it is super tasty. All the things we need for a healthy heart, nervous system and anti-ageing. White rice for cauliflower rice White rice is a refined carbohydrate which contains very few nutrients and contributes to blood sugar spikes as it pretty much turns to glucose in our bodies after eating. Try swapping to cauliflower rice by blending raw cauliflower in a food processor or blender until it resembles the texture of rice. It can be quickly stir fried with onions, herbs, garlic and mixed veggies to create a low carbohydrate rice rich in nutrients such as choline, manganese, phosphorous, biotin and magnesium essential for a healthy body and in particular our brain, bones, skin and hair.
Spaghetti pasta for zucchini spaghetti or zoodles Again white pasta is low in nutrients and has similar effects in the body to white rice. Swap the white pasta for wholemeal or spelt for more fibre and nutrients or go veggie for a lighter option by using spaghetti made from raw zucchini strips. The raw zucchini strips can be stirred through pasta sauces just at the end of cooking to gently soften and warm them making them the perfect healthy spaghetti alternative. This is a fabulous way to increase vegetables into your diet and the perfect pasta alternative to melt away unwanted belly fat. Tortilla wraps to lettuce cups White bread and corn tortillas can be quite heavy to digest, inflammatory and low in nutrients so for a fresher lighter option trying using lettuce cups. The lettuce complements dishes such as san chow bow and chilli as it gives a fresh crunchy texture making family meal times healthy yet fun. This is a great option for those that are gluten intolerant, or for those that suffer with digestive issues that find bread hard to digest. It is also a wonderful light meal option so good for those with diabetes or weight problems. Ice cream for pureed frozen fruit Ice cream can be high in trans fats, preservatives, artificial colours and the sugar content is through the roof making it a sickly sweet dessert with little health benefit. Try blending frozen fruits such as bananas and raspberries for a delicious, fresh and nutrient rich treat rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, magnesium and vitamin B. Frozen fruit “ice cream’ is a really easy way to get vitamins and minerals into children that don’t eat many fruits and veggies making it a wonderful immune system booster.
Tip – place the fruit puree in icy pole moulds and place in the freezer for a healthy and refreshing snack. As you can see making healthy choices can be achieved by making a few simple swaps to regular family meals that even the most die-hard junk food eater will be able to enjoy.
Fiona Tuck Fiona Tuck is a Skincare Expert, accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner and a member of the Australian Society of Traditional Medicine. Fiona’s in-depth 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’ firstname.lastname@example.org fionatuck.com
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LBDâ€™S OUT & ABOUT
at aces f r ne amilia with Bre f e Som Strong y Rising in Sydne n Brow
Many L BDGro up Mem attende bers d west p ac IWD Barang aroo at
tion a Ques g in r e deliv sion Janine rs ses e w s n and A
2016 LBD Leadership Retreat at th Byron at Byron
LBDGroup Members Only Dinne with spec r ial guest D r Jason F ox
Anastasia g ikKi and N , Brin e in n a J INSIGHTS E R U P at the ction ack Fun Happy B
All M embe r spec ial Gu Dinner in est D S r Jas ydney w ith on F ox
Look out Gold Coast LBDGroup is coming!
he Lee Usher at KISS FM
TOP 10 INSIGHTS
Embrace doubt – it makes you stronger page 8
Real innovation happens when you find new ways of doing things at the most challenging of times page 16
People are at the heart of the changes we make page 23
You are every bit as competent as anyone else out there giving it a go page 26
Become an Alpine mountaineer within your business – lighter, quicker and able to respond to sudden change insert page 36
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Keep trying something – the alternative of doing nothing means you are choosing failure page 46
Keep asking questions – if we don't ask we don't learn, we don't grow, we don't evolve page 54
Do everything in your power to find out what makes you feel totally ALIVE and integrate it into your work and life page 56
Listen to the voice of the Champions in your head page 62
To be a true leader and achieve ultimate vitality, we need to be healthy, wealthy and wise. page 66
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 â€“ 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.
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IT’S A NEW WAY OF DEALING WITH UNCERTAINTY The Light and Fast Organisation presents a blueprint for organisations looking to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. VUCA - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity - has become the dominant mode of modern business, and many of us are overwhelmed. Competition and instability has increased while barriers to entry have fallen, chronic employee disengagement is on the rise, and the global economic recovery is incredibly fragile; business leaders are uncomfortable, with threats to their business looming on all sides. This book proposes an alternative approach to the VUCA paradigm, one in which we learn to embrace uncertainty and get comfortable with the discomfort that uncertainty brings. Derived from a specialist subset of the mountaineering community, the solution is to move light and fast through the new business landscape, rescinding our reliance upon external and organisational structures, and instead relying upon our ourselves and our teammates. And whilst business and mountaineering share many parallels, they have never before been explored in the business context beyond superficial colloquialisms about ‘dreaming big’ and ‘never giving up’. But such simple interpretations and supposed ‘lessons’ will no longer cut it in today’s rapidly changing and complex world. In this book, Patrick Hollingworth introduces a refreshingly new and insightful perspective in which he examines the light and fast approach and arms you, and the organisation you work for, with the right mindset and skills to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.
Patrick Hollingworth Patrick Hollingworth works with people, teams and organisations to help them deal with a world, which is becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous by the day. He’s summited multiple 8000 metre peaks, including Mount Everest. He is based in Australia and travels internationally to deliver keynote presentations, workshops, mentoring and consulting to a range of organisations. Find out more at patrickhollingworth.com
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IT’S A NEW WAY OF DEALING WITH UNCERTAINTY How we got so organised In this chapter we’ll get into a central part of most people’s working world— the organisation — and discuss: • the linear organisation’s incompatibility with the VUCA landscape • the history of the organisation • the strategy- and goal-focussed approach of today’s organisations • the approach traditional organisations are taking to cope with the VUCA landscape • the management and leadership consultant industry as an inadequate response to these conditions. In the mid 1980s, the nascent mobile phone industry had a problem: phone coverage was too expensive to provide outside of urban areas. As a solution, an international consortium headed by Motorola developed an offshoot called Iridium, with a plan to launch 77 low-earth-orbit satellites to provide satellite phone coverage to any location on Earth. While Iridium deployed some very clever technology, the project cost a lot of money: nearly $6 billion. Handsets weren’t cheap either, coming at about at $3000 each, with call costs between $6 and $30 a minute. Iridium had designed their system in the mid 1980s, but with an incredibly long lead time they failed to appreciate that: • the cost of installing mobile phone towers was decreasing • network speeds were increasing exponentially. By the time the phone service was launched in 1998 (with American Vice President Al Gore making the first call), more than a decade after the idea was first conceived, Iridium was in dire financial straits. With a poor user experience, outsized fees and reports of organisational mismanagement, Iridium filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy only one year after the service began. Air and Space Magazine went as far as to describe Iridium as ‘the greatest dog ever launched into space’. It was an obscenely costly mistake and is an excellent
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example of long-term business strategy ignoring the evidence when it is incongruent with its objectives. In other words, an excellent example of how slow, methodical, single-minded pursuit of an unchanging goal doesn’t work in the VUCA world. Interestingly, and despite a net asset valuation of $6 billion, the company was subsequently purchased by a very savvy group of investors for $25 million. After a significant restructuring the new business was publicly listed on the Nasdaq and has since been highly profitable, thanks to its utility to the US military and smaller entities (including alpinists) conducting work in the remote parts of the globe. As confronting as it might sound, many of today’s large commercial organisations are just as exposed as Iridium was to the perfect storm of VUCA. For our organisations to survive, we need to understand why.
VUCA and the linear organisation As Ray Kurzweil says, ‘An invention needs to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it is started’. It’s an apt summation of the problem facing many large organisations today. Organisations are cumbersome in nature, a consequence of their hierarchical, linear structure. Many do not allow for the rapid deployment of products and services. In addition, a preference for quantitative metrics over qualitative results has led to some organisations forgetting their most important resource: people (both the employee and the customer). David S. Rose is an American technology entrepreneur and the CEO of Gust, a platform connecting early-stage start-ups with angel investors. In his book Angel Investing, he makes the following alarming statement: ‘Any company designed for success in the twentieth century is doomed to failure in the twenty-fi rst.’ If you disagree with this sentiment, then I think you have your head buried deeply in the sand. As we progress further into the twenty-first century, the evidence in support of this statement is both compelling and ever increasing. The list of once-great organisations that are either gone or shells of their former selves grows longer by the day: Kodak. Motorola. Nokia. BlackBerry. Dell. Yahoo. Sony. MySpace. Blockbuster. McDonalds. HMV. Borders. Angus & Robertson.
All of these organisations were highly linear in nature. They ignored the warning signs of the VUCA world. They all chose a traditional approach when it came to their thinking about the future. They all neglected to understand, perceive, or adapt to change.
Serious cause for alarm Babson College, one of the USA’s leading private business schools, in 2011 predicted that, by 2021, 40 per cent of existing Fortune 500 companies would no longer exist. Others have made similar alarming predictions. In 2011, global strategy and innovation company Innosight noted the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company had decreased from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years today. They predicted that at the current churn rate, 75 per cent of companies on the S&P 500 would be replaced by 2027. It’s not just big American companies either. On a 2014 business trip to Silicon Valley, David Thodey, former CEO of Australian communications giant Telstra (with a market cap of $7 billion) spoke of industry insiders telling him bluntly that his business model was ‘dead’. In a newspaper interview in 2015, Thodey noted he didn’t worry about the recent developments within the Australian telecoms sector (Telstra’s main competition is now TPG, an acquisitions-hungry business with a market cap of approximately $8 billion); rather he spent more time talking about smaller third-tier competition and new innovative start-ups.
Designed for yesterday The root of the problem for today’s traditional organisations is this: they were designed to operate in the old world order, where status quo was the norm. Structured in a hierarchical fashion and fit for a linear world, the organisations were designed to be robust and resilient to change, but not adaptable to change. Designed to strictly control people from the top down, to acquire and rely on physical assets and to profit from scarcity. The bottom line was king, irrespective of how it was reached. But as we now know, not only is technology within the new world order changing exponentially, but so too is everything else: the way that people live and work. So our organisations are in desperate need of an understanding of that change, and an ability to keep abreast with the pace and shock of the new. Before we identify what this change might look like, however, it’s important we understand just a little about the history of organisations; they have, after all, become an integral part of the status quo.
The Visible Hand During the 1850s, transportation in North America was revolutionised by a massive railway-building boom. Dramatically reducing travel times and costs across the continent, the boom opened up the territories of Dakota, Montana and beyond to those looking for gold and grazing land. Railroads replaced the horse and cart as the primary means of personal transport and the distribution of goods. Travel times from New York to New Orleans, for example, were reduced from approximately fi ve weeks in 1800 to two weeks in 1830—and just five days by 1857. For the distribution of goods, railroads proved to be three to five times more efficient than canals, which were previously the primary method of distribution. Alfred Chandler describes this transformation in his Pulitzer Prize– winning 1977 book The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. Chandler describes the large-scale coordination required to integrate many different regional railroads into a single national transportation system: no prior business or enterprise had ever required such control and coordination over such a diverse array of tasks and scheduling. This required such levels of coordination and standardising of procedures and technology that administrative forces were proved to be of greater strength and cost efficiency than market forces, thus making the organisation the primary means for productivity and economic growth. Chandler refers to the salaried executives and middle management who emerged within these organisations as the ‘visible hand’, which subsequently became the guiding force in global economics, and has continued to be so until this day. The multiunit enterprise, which is how Chandler refers to these new organisations, and multidivisional enterprises (multiunit enterprises —developed in the 1920s — nested underneath ‘parent’ companies that are themselves multiunit enterprises), became the two key organisational types on which the majority of organisational management thinking and consulting has been based. This means today’s traditional organisations are still using designs — and methods, in some cases—that are either 100 or 150 years old . The key point here isn’t that this organisational design is old; after all, we take wisdom from the philosophy of the Greeks and Romans (think of Heraclitus and his concept of the constancy of change). Rather, it’s the fact that, despite the designs being either 100 or 150 years old, they have hardly changed at all. There has been very little evolution.
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The majority of organisations today, those that ensure society continues to function on a daily basis, are operating with a static and outdated design and structure.
• has identified specific objectives
It’s no wonder we fear change!
• has numbered, incremental, prescriptive steps identified and committed to.
The birth of the management consultant Alongside the evolution of the organisation, and perhaps as an early indication that organisations were not inherently natural and efficient structures, there sprang an industry of consultants looking to ‘improve’ the way in which organisations did their work. They are formally called management consultants. (They do, informally, have several other monikers.) The industry tackled ‘improvements’, firstly from a strategy perspective, and more recently from a leadership perspective. This service industry has its origins in 1910 with Frederick Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ method, which ultimately led to the development of large international consultancy businesses, the two most recognised of course being McKinsey and Company and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In conjunction with the development of these large consultancies, management academics and thinkers such as Peter Drucker, Michael Porter and John Kotter were developing new concepts of strategy to improve organisational performance. Strategy models currently still in favour include McKinsey and Company’s 7S Framework (36 years old), Porter’s Five Forces Analysis (also 36 years old) and Kotter’s Eight Steps to Change (celebrating its twentieth birthday). Strategic, yes. Outdated? Just a bit.
The linear strategy In his insightful book Corpus Rios: The How and What of Business Strategy, consultant Christopher Tipler describes the current state of strategic planning: if God laughs at plans, ‘God must find business hilarious, because businesses make a lot of plans’. Tipler’s book is very much a critique of the current state of strategic planning in organisations, identifying a number of woes, including unnecessary complicatedness and unreliability, dysfunctional use of ‘stultifying language’ and protection of the status quo through silos and budgets, aversion to risk (and hence opportunity), and lack of imagination. The traditional approach to strategy and planning has consisted of the following minimum ingredients. It: • is undertaken by the organisation’s senior management or executive team
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• has identified timelines (e.g. a five-year plan, with a beginning and an end point)
The propensity for linear strategy has to a large extent guided most other things within today’s organisations. If the key guiding premise of an organisation is its strategy, and if that strategy is ordered, prescriptive, quantified and linear, it follows that everything else the organisation does will have the same linear characteristics. According to Dan Colussy, who masterminded the rescue and buyout of Iridium in 2000, the business plan was the main reason for Iridium’s disaster: The Iridium business plan was locked in place twelve years before the system became operational … the idea was that a businessman would carry this thing around the world in his briefcase and dial home … Of course by the time it got up, nobody needed it … In his book Light Footprint Management, consultant Charles-Édouard Bouée says, ‘Businesses need to adapt by dispensing with old ideas, such as the assumption that the task of management is to seek adaptation to equilibrium. There is no equilibrium’. An unhealthy obsession with goals To achieve an organisation’s strategic objective, a series of plans will be implemented. As you can see in figure 4.1 (overleaf), and are probably familiar with in your own organisation, this is a very linear process. Figure 4.1: typical strategic plan As we learn in chapter 6,however, such reliance upon prescriptive and linear strategies and plans is less than ideal: teams are particularly prone to ‘goalodicy’, where goals and objectives become such an obsession that they lead to poor decisions and outcomes (and ironically, the goals and objectives not being achieved). Goalodicy can lead a team to become so attached to their goals that they start to define the team’s identity. This in turn causes the group to become blinded to real world feedback and ignore the warning signs that continued pursuit of the goal may no longer the best option. In his very clever book The Antidote, journalist Oliver Burkeman describes a study of New York taxi drivers who were so focussed on their goals they were effectively blinded by them. In NYC, it was a widely
held belief that cabs are more difficult to catch on rainy days than when the weather is fine. The cause of this was commonly attributed to all the cabs being busy because on rainy days more people catch cabs to avoid getting wet.
In other words, they do more of what has been done in the past, and when that doesn’t work, they do even more of the same thing. The great English philosopher Alan Watts would describe this as ‘all retch and no vomit’.
What the study found, however, was something different. The actual cause was due to taxi drivers having a daily income target; due to the increased number of fares from the increase in patronage on rainy days, the cabdrivers reached their daily target sooner than usual and went home early. They were ignoring the opportunity to make considerably more than their daily target.
Morieux notes that since 1955, business complexity (as measured by the number of requirements companies are required by legislation to fulfil) has increased (at a steady rate) by a factor of six, whereas organisational complexity, in response to this, has increased by a factor of 35. In other words, organisations have completely overreacted.
Fixed strategies and plans have a tendency to do that: working towards fixed expectations makes you blind (to both opportunities and dangers).
Compliant but over-complicated Head of the BCG’s Institute for Organisation Yves Morieux is an ardent critic of traditional old world organisational structures. He posits that their hierarchical structure is the main contributor to the global decline in productivity over the last 50 years. In his 2015 TED talk in London, he took particular aim at what he refers to as an organisational overreliance on ‘the holy trinity of efficiency: clarity, measurement, and accountability’, suggesting ‘they make human effort derail’. Morieux argues that organisational design has inadvertently led people to focus only on their own individual performance metrics, rather than collective, collaborative organisational outcomes. He claims ‘we are creating organisations to fail, but in a compliant way’. Based on this notion that organisations have become failure-focussed and obsessed about the easy identification and attribution of blame, he says We will know who to blame, but we will never win the race … if you think about it, we pay more attention on knowing who to blame, in case we fail, than in creating the conditions to succeed. At the crux of Morieux’s argument is this: traditional organisations’ emphasis on clarity, measurement and accountability as key metrics and drivers of performance were fine for the old world order; but in today’s new world order of ever-increasing complexity, those metrics only serve to encourage and compound business failure. Morieux observes that the default response of most organisations to problems associated with increased complexity is to focus even further on clarity, measurement, and accountability, and to create further, and more complicated, structures, systems and processes.
To address each new legislative requirement, organisations have added more and more layers of bureaucracy, policy and systems, thereby creating greater and greater inefficiencies. As Morieux goes on to explain, many of these metrics tend to inadvertently cause negative internal competition within the business, such as for cost savings over product quality. If this hasn’t already made you want to sweep all the papers off your desk in one fell swoop — just wait. There’s more. In 2011, BCG created an ‘index of complicatedness’ that was based on surveys of more than 100 US and European listed companies. The index shows that over the past 15 years, the number of ‘procedures, vertical layers, interface structures, coordination bodies, and decision approvals’ needed in said firms had increased between 50 per cent and a staggering 350 per cent! On average, organisations today set themselves six times as many key performance requirements as they did in 1955 (back then, CEOs were committing to four to seven performance metrics, whereas today that level has escalated to between 25 and 40). Managers in the 20 per cent of organisations that are the most complicated by unnecessary bureaucratic layers and structures spend 40 per cent of their time report-writing, and between 30 and 60 per cent of their time in meetings. As a result, employees of these organisations were found to be three times more likely to be disengaged than employees of less bureaucratic and reactive organisations. Linear strategy and linear structure gives us these inefficiencies. They also burden us and mean we become slow and heavy.
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Another ardent critic of traditional organisational structures is Salim Ismail, a former vice president at Yahoo and cofounder of the Singularity University. In his book Exponential Organizations, Ismail suggests that ‘linear product development remains the predominant name of the game … whether you are making locomotives or iPhone apps’. He says When you think linearly, when your operations are linear, and when your measures of performance and success are linear, you cannot help but end up with a linear organization, one that sees the world through a linear lens. During the period of the ‘Great Moderation’ (the term for the period from the mid 1980s to 2008, referring to the decrease in macroeconomic volatility, predominantly in the US), large organisations have (in an effort to gain economies of scale, and increase growth and, in many cases, returns to shareholders) become even larger through acquisitions and mergers. This has led to even larger organisations becoming increasingly linear in their thinking and becoming even more inefficient due to their increased layers of bureaucracy and complexity. What was their greatest strength (their sheer size and power) in the old world has now become their greatest weakness in the new world. They are cumbersome, slow and above all reluctant to respond to both external and internal circumstances and pressures. Old world organisations:
• have a state of mind of dissonance and entropy. Here lies the crux of the problem for these organisations: the landscape has changed and they are not able or willing to adapt. They may not even understand they need to.
Linear vs. exponential progress Cofounder of PayPal Peter Thiel says in his irreverent manifesto Zero to One, ‘… today’s “best practices” lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried’. Thiel’s core idea is that most of today’s organisations have become successful by copying existing products, and making them just a little bit better. He describes this process as taking the world from ‘1 to n’; in other words, simply adding more of something we’re already familiar with. According to Thiel, this type of progress is horizontal and easy to imagine, because we already know what it looks like. In other words: it’s linear. He gives as an example the typewriter: build another 100 in different colours and each with minor improvements, and you’ve made linear progress. Something a bit better, but not by much. If, on the other hand, you had a typewriter, and from the bones of that typewriter you built a word processor, you have achieved vertical progress. Creating something entirely new, something fresh and unique, is what Thiel describes as a move from 0 to 1.
• have a hierarchical structure
In other words: it’s exponential. Figure 4.2 shows the difference.
• are reliant upon infrastructure
Figure 4.2: zero to n, and zero to one
• are resilient and robust
Source: Zero to One by Peter Thiel.
• focus on strategy and are backward-looking
A temporary fix
• are rigid and inflexible • are risk averse • control their own assets • try to make the external world fit their internal world • focus on goals • think linearly and sequentially • are financially driven and interested in quantity • aim to be the best • are led by alpha figures • have large numbers of employees • prefer the status quo
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The stalwarts of traditional management thinking are finally starting to recognise the changing times. In his 2012 Harvard Business Review article ‘Accelerate’, John Kotter acknowledges that the hierarchical structures and organizational processes we have used for decades to run and improve our enterprises are no longer up to the task of winning in this faster-moving world. His solution is that firms should, in addition to their existing organisation, create and use a second operating system devoted to the design and implementation of strategy, that uses an agile, network like structure and a very different set of processes … [which] continually assesses the business, the industry, and the organization, and reacts with greater agility, speed and creativity than the existing one.
It must be recognised that this ‘solution’ is only of a temporary nature — a Band-Aid fix, if you will. Realistically, this solution could prove incredibly expensive and create inefficiencies of management the likes of which Morieux was talking about. And it doesn’t answer the question of developing an ongoing understanding of the nature of change. It should also be pointed out that Kotter’s idea is nothing new; Clayton Christensen, the world’s leading academic on innovation, identified a similar solution back in the late 1990s. According to Christensen, two of the three main ways in which organisations dealing with disruption can respond are to spin out an independent organisation from the original one to develop new processes and opportunities, or to acquire new organisations that are already taking advantage of the opportunities presented in the VUCA landscape. Of course, if either of these options were pursued, it would take incredible restraint from the ‘mother’ organisation not to over-manage and control its offspring; and this is something that large organisations do not have a very good track record with. (I used to work for one.)
money when the environment is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. This is not to say that the development of people is a waste of time per se (it’s actually incredibly important, and indeed it’s the foundation of the Alpine Style Model you’ll come across in the final third of this book); it’s just that you want to be sure that whoever helps you with this understands how different the new world order will be. Because the reality of the new world order is that the most important asset of any organisation will be its people. And that’s what we’ll look at in the next chapter.
If yo ua in re re inte rest adin ed g m click ore purc h hase ere to a Patr ick’s copy of boo k
Which leaves Christensen’s last suggestion: completely restructure the organisation.
The leadership cult The ‘leadership industry’ is itself showing the symptoms of the disease it claims to be trying to cure organisations of: complacency and a reliance upon old, outdated ways of thinking and doing. Think of it in these terms. A leader for the new world order needs to be like an alpinist, who is always ready to launch the next climbing mission. Alpinists have a perpetual sense of restlessness and curiosity about themselves and the natural world. So they stay fit, both physically and mentally. They don’t sit back and rest on past achievements. Unfortunately, however, the leadership development industry has become somewhat bloated — annual global investment in the industry is estimated to be in the order of $200 billion — and too invested in maintaining the status quo it helped create. Rather ironically, it has not adapted to the new VUCA world. So if you find yourself signed up to an old world leadership-development course that aims to ‘empower’ you to learn ‘personal mastery’ and your ‘leadership style’, and to help you ‘build highperformance teams’, run away in the opposite direction, and run fast. We need to look to other areas for newer and fresher ideas, because what we currently have has proven to be patently ineffective and a waste of large sums of GLOSS APRIL - MAY 2016 | 81
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Articles and insights from today's business leaders and thought leaders to drive your business and personal success.
Published on Apr 22, 2016
Articles and insights from today's business leaders and thought leaders to drive your business and personal success.