All posts by Jenny White

The Crumbiest & Most Stupid Thing I have Done !

doh

Are you ready to hear about one of the silliest things that we have ever done ?  Talk about not thinking something through properly … geesh ………

White Now have all the new, wiz bang credit card facilities for customers to make payment  for our services, but it’s just a fact that some still want to receive their paper invoice in the mail and we are just fine with that.  When we mail invoices we often send little gifts inside the envelope as an added thank you.  Here is where the stupidity begins !

We had lots of White Now branded, double pack bickies from the guys at ‘Bite Size Coffee Treats’ and I thought, “what a great little gift to send with our next lot of invoices”.  It’s a little different to the jelly babies and similar things we often send.

Well it wasn’t until we had sent a ridiculous amount of these bickies out over many weeks that I received a very sweet email with this pic attached. There was no message, just this picture !

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The Crushed Bickies !!

Here is a closer up pic of ‘the totally crushed bickies’ – WOOPS !

crs

This is what I had done – I had sent out over 100 invoices with these delicious bickies inside NOT  thinking at all that they would be crushed in the mail (D’oh).  Trust me, this is NOT the bickie company’s fault, this is total stupidity from one individual (yes that would be me).  I can also tell you that if it wasn’t for this one caring customer sending us a pic of what he received, that we would still be sending these gifts via mail with our invoices wasting lots of money and undoubtedly annoying the recipient each and every time and not knowing that they were arriving more like crumb bases ready to be made into cheesecake bases.

It’s funny that sometimes you have no idea that you are doing something wrong until some kind and thoughtful person points it out.  It is only because this helpful Club Manager emailed us a picture of our special ‘gift’ that we realised that this little gift was not a gift that traveled well !

If you see your supplier or any colleague in fact doing something that doesn’t work for you, why don’t you find a way to let them know in a gentle and encouraging way.   It will help them change the way that they do things …. and for the better!

Yours in stupidity

Jenny ‘Homer‘ White

CEO of www.whitenow.com.au

 

 

Who Remembers The Fax Of Life ?

Fax

The world is seriously changing rapidly and for the better.  This really hit me this week when I stood in front of a bunch of industry people and reflected back to about 10 years ago. Oh how my working world was different.

WhiteNow present year after year to the fresh, keen audiences at the GMDC (the Gaming Managers Development Course).  This year we presented to about 70 eager beavers on the same topic as we are asked to deliver every year –  ‘Designing an Effective Resume’.   Every time we deliver, the presentation has to change as the world progresses.  The only thing that doesn’t change is that I still wear the same old Wizard outfit that I have been wearing for years ! It is pretty ridiculous but I think it has the desired outcome which is that everyone remembers the presentation from that loud lady in the purple Wizard outfit’.  It’s really interesting though to reflect on what we presented today and what we presented just 10 years ago. Looking back on the notes from 2006 I see that some of the topics include things like;

  • The best colour paper to print your resume on for faxing (this one is funny – White Now haven’t owned a fax for the past 8 years);
  • How to draft the ideal fax cover sheet so it stands out (I don’t even remember how to do that now);
  • The best ways to bind a resume for posting;
  • How to professionally label an envelope with a professionally; printed label …PLUS placing stamps neatly on envelopes; AND
  • How to send a certified letter to the employer (sending resumes was really quite expensive back then).

Oh how the world has changed.  This year we talked about totally different things including;

  • Locking down your social media pages;
  • Being careful about what you say online on blogs, LinkedIn Groups etc;
  • Googling yourself often;
  • Preparing your LinkedIn File and gaining recommendations;
  • Online networking; AND
  • ‘Talent Sourcing’.

Oh how the world has changed in just 10 years.  I am so glad that our team are all like minded in the fact that we move with the times and often faster than the times.  One thing I do know about what we do 10 years on is that we are a whole lot more efficient with changes in technology.  Faxing resumes used to be so damn time consuming let alone receiving at least 220 resumes a week via fax. The savings in reams of paper is incredible in itself.

Do you want to be efficient in the way you get yourself noticed in this industry ?  Get yourself online and especially on LinkedIn.  Your FUTURE colleagues are on LinkedIn so start networking with them in this virtual world so that when you meet them in person, you already have a relationship ! Connect with me on LinkedIn too – I would love to share some virtual space with you.  Connect with me, Jenny White,  on LinkedIn here.     

Also, a big shout out to Leagues Clubs Australia and Aristocrat for their amazing support of the GMDC year after year.  You guys are incredible ! THANK YOU  !

From Jenny White and the team at www.whitenow.com.au 

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The 2016 GMDC Participants at Wests Campbelltown on 17th March.

The Butcher Who Mustn’t Like Money

At the start of this month I made a conscious effort to support small, local businesses. It was my month to give back to those

"The Butcher Who Must Not Like Money"
“The Butcher Who Must Not Like Money”

who are making a go of it, often on their own, and have fought many obstacles to try and succeed.  I appreciate this having run my own business for almost 20 years.  Business owners are dedicated and work so hard.

Often before work I stop at the local Lebanese bakery and pick up some ‘Leb bread’, hommous and garlic dip for the night’s dinner.  I always have mince in the freezer and Lebanese ‘7 spice’ in the cupboard to make my own Kafta to go with dinner.  Someone told me about the butcher that was two doors up from the bakery and said that his meat was nice.  I always looked at that butcher and thought “gee he has hardly any meat on display – he must be struggling to make ends meet”.  This morning I decided to support him by buying my week’s meat from him.  I chose his ready made Kafta, some lovely looking rump steaks, a bunch of sausages, lamb chops and a small pork roast.  The total of the purchase was $72 ish.  I went to hand my card over and he said that he only takes cash. Upon questioning him as to why, he said that ‘Credit Cards are too much of a hassle and it’s not worth it to me’.  I explained to him that I had no cash on me and I was about to make him my new butcher.  His response was “oh well – it is not my fault you didn’t see my sign there that says cash only”.   I gave the logic one more go and said “I’m not the best at maths but I’m pretty sure that if I buy this amount of meat from you every two weeks, then that’s about $1,800 a year you’re missing out on by not taking credit card”.  He said, “oh well, it’s my policy“.   I handed the meat back.

Imagine the lost revenue to this tiny business if just 10 people had the same experience as me, yup that’s about $18,000 pa going somewhere else but in his hand.

How many other customers had said the same to him ? How many times had he not listened ?   As the world moves rapidly to a cashless world, how long will this butcher survive ?

Moving with the times and meeting the expectations of customers that truly want to give you business is the only way to do business.

Oh well, I tried.  The Kafta was nice though – lucky I had $20 on me !

Are You Getting Schnitty At Your Hospitality Venue?

2014-09-23 18.43.21

It is time for me to share my thoughts about the almighty and much adored Chicken Schnitzel and it’s BFF, the deliciously smothered Chicken Parmigiana.

The question really does need to be discussed….. should your hospitality venue serve these well known items or not ?????

I want to share with you an experience that I had at a club that we did a lot of work for a couple of years back.  I can name the club as it no longer trades; ‘Souths on Chalmers’ which was also known as South Sydney Rugby League Club in Chalmers Street, Redfern.

Firstly, let me say that I was oozing passion for this club, the brand, the cute little ‘resting rabbit’ logo and of course what the club was trying to achieve.  We worked tirelessly and worked many unpaid hours to help this club try and realise it’s dream.  Sadly, the club closed not much more than 12 months after it first opened.  Why ? There were many, many reasons, too many to discuss, especially in a blog that is really about the infamous Chicken Schnitzel.

The club used the services of a Contract Caterer who was very well known as a restaurateur and function/events operator.  They had not been involved with a club prior to this.  Let me tell you that I thought that their food was pretty damn good.  Some of the menu items that I loved were:

  • Grilled Croque Monsieur of Gypsy Ham & Gruyere Cheese with Dijon.
  • Salmon Fish Cakes with Remoulade and Salad
  • Roast Pumpkin and Beetroot Tart with Gorgonzola and Hazelnut Dressing.

The problem was that only a percentage of those members and visitors who came to visit the club enjoyed these types of dishes. They were dishes that you could have every so often, but perhaps not once, twice or three times a week.

I cannot tell you how many times that customers said  “why don’t you have a chicken schnitty or a chicken parmy on the menu?” .  On the club’s very active Facebook page there were many, many mentions about how nice the food was but they wanted to see a Chicken Schnitty and Chicken Parmy on the menu.  People openly voiced their thoughts all over social media about the absence of the items. They said that they would come more often if these were on the menu.  There were families that shared their thoughts about wanting to bring their family to the club for birthdays but their brother/father etc wanted to have a Chicken Schnitty and it was not on the menu so they were going to the pub around the corner who, coincidentally were smart enough to realise the absence of the Chicken Schnitty from the club’s menu spelled ‘O P P O R T U N I T Y’ for the pubs in the area …. and trust me, they vigorously marketed this to their prospects.

With all the feedback that came through and was passed on to the caterer, they unfortunately chose not to add this to their menu as it was seen as ‘club food’.  My thoughts are that ‘if it looks like a duck, it smells like a duck, it quacks like a duck then it must be a duck’.  This was a club.  It was a hospitality venue that wanted families, groups, parties and more. .  Unfortunately the item was not added to the menu.  It may very well have been an item that on its own, did not offer huge profitability but if it was viewed as perhaps a ‘loss leader’ then maybe they would have seen their revenue double or triple just by adding what the customer wanted to the menu.

The club is now closed which makes me sad.  There were good people working there and good intentions and big dreams.  I wonder to this day though, if that Chicken Schnitty and its BFF the Chicken Parmy were part of the menu, how much of a difference this may have made to the ongoing viability of the Club.  Who knows !  Does the world actually revolve around the Chicken Schnitty ?

There are some that think that having a Chicken Schnitty on their menu attracts the wrong clientele.   I know that my family, my friends and so many of my colleagues enjoy fine dining at its best, new exciting and creative menus and radical taste combinations, but I also know that the majority of them really, really want to go somewhere where they can get a Chicken Schnitty in a relaxed environment as well.  You will find me once a month at our local bowling club and guess what I order ?  …… the Chicken Schnitty which comes with pepper sauce, yes the one and same Chicken Schnitty that you see in the picture.  In fact,  there are a bunch of us that meet at the club just because a few of the group love the Chicken Schnitty.

What do you think about having an item that many people want and ask for on a club and pub menu  ?  Should it be included ??

Yours Crumbingly

Jenny White (Owner of White Now and Chicken Schnitzel Activist).

 

Employee Marketing…Are YOU Doing It?

Let’s begin with a question:

“How much of your marketing budget as a percentage goes towards attracting CUSTOMERS to your business?”

I don’t want to know how much you spend or what you spend it on, but rather WHO you spend it on…

If I were to hazard a guess, I would suggest that 100% of whatever you spend is targeted at attracting CUSTOMERS and not EMPLOYEES.

Why is this?

In most businesses, but particular in hospitality – we so often hear the cliched, throw-away line “our people are our difference”.  This is usually backed up with something like, “we all have bars, beer, pokies, keno and food.  But what really sets us apart from our competition is our staff.  They are what make our business SPECIAL”.

This is a lovely sentiment for sure, but it gets me to wondering quite what “YOU” are actually doing to attract these amazing employees.  Just recently, we were asked to run a workshop at the RSL & Services Clubs 14th Annual Conference on the subject of (How To) “Build a Winning Team”.  In attendance were over 20 businesses ranging from small-ish hospitality venues to very large multi-nationals.  As part of my research for the workshop, I studied each businesses’ website and social media presence to gain an understanding of what sort of effort they put in to attracting “winning candidates” and the results were quite disconcerting.  Now, before I go any further – I’d like to say that these businesses are far from unique and credit where credit is due, they were in the workshop to learn more and to do something about it.  So please don’t think that I’m beating them up in a public forum – quite the reverse!  I am grateful for their attendance and was supremely impressed with the vigour and passion that they showed towards learning how to go about attracting people that would make a difference to their businesses.  What I am hopefully also doing is using their businesses (collectively and anonymously) as examples of not knowing any better and as confirmation of the greater problem that is out there – VERY FEW BUSINESSES are doing much (if anything) to attract the sorts of candidates that will add value to their business.  They are almost passive about the whole process and do not have a plan or an understanding…

So, what is “Employee Marketing”?  Simply put, it is the methods, information and strategies used to attract candidates to look at your business and then WANT to WORK for your business.  In the past, businesses very much took the approach of telling candidates what they wanted with little regard for what candidates wanted or needed.

The tables have somewhat turned.  With the advent of the internet, ‘everyone’ is a research analyst and is fossicking around in the deepest darkest corners of your website and social media forums for clues, hints and confirmation of what it is like to work in your organisation.  You see candidates are doing as much research on where they are going to work as employers are doing on resumes, background checks and references of employees.

I am hoping that most of you know that Google consistently ranks in the top 2 or 3 employers globally.  Why?  Google puts in a MASSIVE effort to lure talent to its numerous international offices and it broadcasts a very loud and very clear message – “Working at Google ROCKS!  It’s fun.  It’s creative.  And we take care of you.”  (These are my words, not theirs incidentally).  If you have a moment, please take a look at Google Sydney’s Career Page (https://www.google.com/about/careers/locations/sydney/) – on there you’ll find a wealth of information about teams; video on what it’s like to work at Google; pictures of the offices (which are really “cool”) and lots of information about the sorts of things that go on in Google Sydney.  Google basically does a really good job of “selling” all of the positives of working for them and answers a candidate’s questions before they are even asked.

Looking beyond Google and their careers page, a lot of candidates are doing their research via social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr and LinkedIn are the main ones, but others are also being used to help candidates form a picture of a company’s:

  • Culture (& how staff are treated/seen)
  • Hiring Methods
  • Values
  • Structure
  • Revenues
  • Targets
  • Customers
  • Success
  • Potential
  • Pay Scales
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Community Involvement
  • Team Morale
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

In a competitive market where the great candidates get scooped up quickly, candidates are looking for reasons TO WORK for you and if they can’t find them online, but they can find positive information on your competition……..guess where they’re heading (or at least hoping to head)?

So, what can you do about this?  Break it down in to bite-size chunks that start with a long-hard look at who you are as an employer and what you offer your employees.  If the answer is “not much”, start to think about the sorts of things that you can start providing them with – a fruit basket; annual flu shots; a weekend off once a month (or more); additional leave; a fantastic staff room with all the mod-cons (Eg.  XBOX/PS4; music; comfy seating; privacy cubicles) and a range of things that haven’t even been thought of as yet!

From there, start thinking about how you are going to get the message out there that this is what you provide to your staff, without it necessarily sounding like an “advert” – I’d suggest that pictures of your staff in the new staff room or of them having their flu shots on your ‘Careers or Employment” webpage AND your Facebook Page.  And before you say, “REALLY????” – think about the number of club websites that have pictures of a (generally mature) Board of Directors in their Club blazers with a serious look on their faces.  What sort of message do you think that sends to a future Gen-Y (or Gen-Z who will be coming through next)?  A picture says a thousand words as the saying goes – so why not have some pictures of your staff having fun and being involved in the community?  It will send a far better message about the sort of employer that you are than the picture of the (Stodgy) Board and (Cranky) Senior Management Team does!

Beyond this, try to put yourself in the place of a candidate or a future employee and think about the sorts of questions that they would like answered and what it is that will encourage them to accept a role with your organisation over one offered by another (remember, candidates rarely only apply for ONE role.  They apply for many and if they’re a good candidate, chances are they’ll be offered a couple of opportunities.  What is it that will make them accept YOURS?).  Think of the employers out there that people can’t wait to work for and WHY – names such as:  Google; Apple; Red Bull; SalesForce; StarLight Children’s Foundation & Red Balloon Days – and research what it is that they are doing to make them employers of choice.  From there, try to mimmick some of their ideas – so long as they fit with your organisation’s culture and please keep in mind……..a fancy staff room or fresh fruit every day won’t make up for a toxic environment where staff are undervalued and treated poorly.  The physical “things” that Google and the like are doing only work because they genuinely care about their employees and want them to be the best that they can be at what they do – – – – – – being creative!  The reason Google wants them to be happy and therefore being creative is because Google recognises that in the long run, this makes them $$$…….a LOT OF $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

The correlation between happy employees and profits is a funny one.  Anyone that has worked in a happy environment will tell you that it is not an easy thing to create and even if you do, success is not assured.  But there is little doubt (the stats prove it) that successful organisations are most commonly HAPPY organisations and so investing in the happiness of your teams is much more likely to result in bottom line improvements (even with the additional costs)!

I realise that in the writing of these blogs, that the impression might be that I think that doing whatever it is in the subject of the blog is “simple” or “easy” or “common knowledge”.  Let me categorically say that this is NOT the case!  I recognise just how difficult Employee Marketing (and most of the subjects of my other blogs) is and that it is a journey that begins with something small, that hopefully gains momentum so that it becomes more commonplace.  After all – think about the majority of things of true value that have come your way and then think about the effort that was involved to get them.  Generally, nothing of any value comes without sacrifice, effort or commitment.

Are you CRAZY or CLEVER to you use an 18 year old to run your Facebook and Social Media strategy ?

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Are you considering putting on someone to look after your social media ?
Are you wondering what type of person would be best to run your social media ?
Are you looking for advice on what type of person to hire ?

When I hear the following words come out of one of our clients’ mouths,

we have a great 18 year old who loves Facebook and said that she is very keen to run our Faceboook page”

………I shake in my ugh boots and hope that they have really thought seriously about this decision.

Being very aware of how to effectively run a company’s social media strategy, my immediate priority is to make sure that I am advising clients in the best possible way to ensure that they are positioned to highlight their brand in the social world in the smartest and most professional way whilst making sure that they eliminate any possible risks that may leave themselves open or liable for legal action or bad PR.

The decision on who should manage your social media channels is not actually ever about the age of the person, but what skills, experience and dedication they bring to the table. When saying ’18 year old’, I don’t mean the age, but really I am trying to make a point that so many people think that the younger the person, the more socially savvy they are. They may be socially savvy with their friends but are they socially and business savvy ???

With this in mind, we ask our clients the following questions about the person that they want to hire or appoint to look after their social media;

“Does this person have the experience and skill set that includes all of the following?
1. complete understanding of the legislation and regulations surrounding your business;
2. complete understanding of your business’s overall values and business strategy;
3. superior communications skills that are both mature and social so that they can reflect your brand;
4. depth of experience using higher level customer service skills and etiquette;
5. the ability to handle your business’s public relations and/or media relations in sticky situations;
6. the ability to manage a complaint so that it does not escalate, whilst ensuring that your brand stays true;
7. the ability to manage a crisis at any time whilst thinking on their feet;
8. a level of humour that can appeal to all followers without offending anyone;
9. the ability to understand and interpret the analytics and measurement tools that come with social media;
10. the ability to turn opportunities into business revenue;
11. the ability to turn prospects into customers;
12. the ability to work within and in line with a social media strategy;
13. the maturity to separate business from personal ‘Facebooking’;

We then ask “is this the person you would trust to stand up in front of the whole of Australia with cameras and microphones in front of them and let them talk about your business whilst being fired questions and complaints about your business with no notice at all ?”

If your social media person does not come with these skills you could be setting yourself up for a legal or a public relations nightmare.

It’s actually not about what age the person is at all. I just wanted to make a point that just because a person loves Facebook or says that they are great with Facebook, does not mean that they can represent your brand professionally on the world stage.

We have so many examples of sticky situations or possible PR nightmares that have arisen that had to be handled with the expertise of highly effective, aware and savvy marketing/customer service people. We have been able to save many businesses from disasters by assisting with social media strategy. Trust me, you need a person who can truly represent your brand professionally.

DO NOT HIRE SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ACTIVE FACEBOOK USERS. Use the list above to see if your social media person has ALL of these skills !

You can call us at Social Media Now for advice any time if that helps on 0417 223 286.
Socially yours – Jenny (Social Media Now)
www.socialmedianow.com.au

Many people have their ‘Social Media’ blinkers on. Are they just anxious ?

Social Media can cause some serious anxiety. We know this because at Social Media Now, we’ve had so many debates with Managers, Directors and other decision makers who simply see no benefit at all in using Social Media to assist their business growth. The behaviours they demonstrate span from a mix of anxiety to a lack of understanding right through to a dogmatic denial that social media is in fact a part of the future of business.

So, can Social Media really help your business? You bet! Check out our ‘Embracing Social Media Now’ story in the February 2011 edition of Club Life. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE….. thanks to our team’s fabulous Brand & Imagination Manager, Tania Paccanaro for her wisdom with this …… Call us NOW if you need help with your social media strategy.

SOCIAL MEDIA NOW….. helping you expose YOUR business through Social Media.
Ph: 02 9705 2300 E: info@socialmedianow.com.au W: www.socialmedianow.com.au

Exposing Your Business - SOCIAL MEDIA NOW

Are you TOO LATE with your Social Media Strategy ?

socialmedianow.com.auSometimes visuals speak louder than any words EVER can.  If you are not on top of Social Media and being smart about it, then you WILL be behind your competitors.  This video will make you think !

For HELP, ADVICE and to LEARN about Social Media, contact Social Media Now (SMN) through www.socialmedianow.com.au or follow SMN on www.facebook.com/smnow or www.twitter.com/smnow

STOP & THINK. Its all the Action Plan – Make DREAMS a REALITY

Formulating a dynamic Action plan to translate dreams to reality

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today”

The first step in developing an Action plan is to stop and think! Before taking any action, it is vital to understand the purpose for the action, and ensure that the steps you take are aligned with your core values and visions. It sounds like stating the obvious, yet there are many people whose daily actions are actually moving them further away from their deepest desires! The clearer you are about what is important to you, the more dynamic your action plan, and the more likely you are to be energised to take action.

There are countless ways to devise an Action plan, and here is a framework for you to adapt to suit your specific situation. Turn off your phone, put on some relaxing music, take some paper and coloured pens, and answer the following questions:

What is my current reality?

Where am I now? What decisions and habits have brought me to where I am today? What resources do I have available? What are my existing skills and strengths? What gives me energy? Which parts of my day do I truly look forward to? What support do I need right now?

Where do I want to be?

What is the main vision for my Action Plan? What do I want to achieve? What will I see, hear and feel to know that I have been successful in achieving the goal / vision? Is this vision an expression of one or more of my core values?

What perceived constraints do I have, eg time, money, or other resources?

What habits do I have that may get in the way of achieving my goal? What are my limiting beliefs about being / doing / having the desired result?  What if the opposite was true? What support do I need to release these constraints?

What are my gifts, talents and strengths?

When have I been successful at achieving something I desired? What qualities do I have that will benefit me for the future? When was I truly energised and excited about what I was doing? What was present? Is my current vision aligned with my strengths and talents?

Write my desired outcome using the SMART method – old, but good!  Make it Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-framed. Write it in the present tense as if it is happening NOW!

How do I get there?

Think of all the possible things you could do to take you closer to achieving your goal, no matter how small. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. At this step, focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as they come to your mind. While you are doing this, it is important not to judge or analyse. This is a brainstorm, choosing the most appropriate steps will follow!

What is the very next step I must take towards achieving this goal / vision?

Arrange the steps in a logical, chronological order and put a date by which you will start each step. Try to set yourself weekly goals: what research you will do into jobs, what skills you will concentrate on learning etc. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of planning a timetable each evening listing your steps for the next day or two.

Each action step should include the following information:

  • What actions or changes will occur;
  • Who will carry out these changes;
  • By when they will take place, and for how long;
  • What resources (i.e., support, skills) are needed to carry out these changes;
  • Which core value is being expressed by taking this action

Create a collage or metaphor of your vision, and keep it in front of you every day. It is a powerful reminder when the going gets tough.

Celebrate the milestones! Remember to acknowledge yourself and others as you accomplish each step along the way.

 “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant” –Robert Louis Stevenson

This AMAZING piece was written by our AMAZING guest blogger Karynne Courts from Values Connection.  Ph +61 2 9983 0755

It takes HEAPS of Courage to be a Visionary Leader !

With the world in turmoil with the global financial crisis, climate change and environmental disasters, humans wreaking devastating harm on one another in various parts of the world, as a species we are facing some of the biggest challenges in history. Do you have the courage to lead confidently in these uncertain times? If you can see these challenges as opportunity, you will be one of the survivors. As leaders, we must be pioneers in forging new relationships, new ways of doing business, new ways of being in the world. It requires comfort with ambiguity, confidence in uncertainty, and a willingness to celebrate diversity. It takes Visionary leadership.

Visionary leadership is an art. Unlike the managerial tools of policy, procedures, techniques and measures, it comes directly from knowing and understanding Self. A visionary leader is one who serves through being Trustworthy, Inspirational and Passionate. The emphasis on serving through being is the essence of our work with values and energy. There is no recipe; there are no seven steps or ten tips. It requires the courage to abandon what we “know to be so” and embrace the mystery and complexity of what it is to be human.

A visionary leader is clear about who he or she is, and exudes genuine SELF-confidence. Visionary Leaders have a confidence in who they are and what they stand for which is accompanied by trust that they can face whatever situations come their way. A visionary leader knows and trusts in their ability to be infinitely creative, and also trusts that capacity in those he or she leads.

Why Visionary Leadership?
The prevailing model of the authoritarian leader is under-performing and failing, and in too many cases failing in spectacular yet sad circumstances. We only have to look at the Business section of daily press for numerous examples of this. If I was to ask you “who is the source of your greatest frustration in your current business climate” and you find yourself pointing the accusatory finger of blame, then there are also the three fingers pointing back to YOU, giving you the answer to the question! Your profitability and success is a direct result of the quality of your leadership. No exceptions! The good news is that you are also the solution. The question is: Do you have the courage to liberate the visionary leader within?

What are the characteristics and skills of the visionary leader?
Authoritarian leaders focus on protecting what they’ve been in the past while Visionary leaders focus on what they are becoming in the present and future.

Key differences are illustrated in the table below:

Authoritarian            Visionary
Is very competitive. Is very cooperative.
Is focused on the shareholder.            Is focused on the stakeholders.
Is risk averse.  Encourages innovation.
Is uncomfortable with uncertainty. Revels in uncertainty.
Is a creator of teams that ‘follow’. Creates leaders at all levels.
Operates within a tangible framework. Operates intuitively.
Seeks to control the enterprise. Realises the enterprise is ‘self-organising’.
Tells people what to do.          Listens by asking questions.
Talks of what the problem is. Talks about possible solutions.
Is reactive Is Creative
Is focused on “What’s in it for me?” Is focused on “What will benefit US?”
Debates Dialogues and values storytelling
Strong masculine energy Strong feminine energy

 

How are these visionary behaviours developed?
It is important to note that these behaviours are not mutually exclusive. Today’s leaders will benefit from being able to consciously operate along a continuum encompassing both styles as varying circumstances require.

The guidelines for learning the visionary behaviours above are rarely found in any current management texts, courses or training programs, let alone when you were at school.

Your choices to develop these behaviours are to:
• Engage a mentor or coach to assist you to unfold and develop these behaviours
• Read quality books and publications in this field
• Take regular time out for reflection – to listen to your inner voice and practice recognizing your intuition.
• Understand your values, and write your purpose, visions and strategies to reflect the most important priorities in your life.

The Language of Values
There is also a new language to be learnt, to understand the nature and role of values. Values, defined as our unconscious motivators, underpin every action we take. Everyone has values. Visionary leaders are people who have revisited and clarified their core values to consciously choose which values will be expressed in their lives. Visionary leaders pay attention to honouring and dissolving those values that are no longer useful to their future as a visionary leader and releasing the energy from values that keep them“stuck in the past” to values that energise them to create a compelling future.

Examples of this skill include:
• dissolving a lack of ‘self worth*’ and relocate the energy into ‘being self*’
• dissolving the value of ‘independence*’ and relocating the energy into ‘interdependence*’
• dissolving the need to be ‘competitive*’ and relocate the energy to being ‘cooperative*’
* from an Australian model of 128 universally researched values ( New Wisdom 11 by Colins and Chippendale)

Now ask yourself, when did you last reflect on and review your:
• Personal work practices, e.g. reading, time management, paper management?
• Management skills, e.g. communications, project management, technical competencies?
• Leadership abilities, e.g. visioning, creating, listening, mentoring, thinking/concentrating?

May I suggest that the reality is that these skills and abilities continue to be essential and need to be under continuing formal review if you seek to be a leader of change and innovation?

The quantum leap forward for you as a Visionary leader, way beyond the above, is to become aware of your inner levels of consciousness, offering access to abilities that are infinite.

This inner level of consciousness within each of us is often experienced as a ‘flash of insight’, an instant solution to a complex situation, an entirely new idea, and in each instant you will express amazement and wonder ‘how did I do that?” and ‘where do they come from?’

The process of accessing the visionary leader within engages a wide range of innate abilities and will include:
• Being present with oneself.
• Being present with another
• Dissolving negative judgment of oneself and others
• Listening empathetically
• Detaching and transcending the senses
• Detaching and transcending the human constructs of time.
• Listening to your feelings
• Looking for patterns in the complexity of the issue at hand.

Now as you can see, to engage these deeper levels of consciousness calls for changes to your traditional work practices and the emphasis on rushing around getting things done to being at-one-within, thinking and concentrating.

Key questions for courageous leaders
1. Who is your mentor and your protégé?
2. What is your next formal learning project?
3. When will you formally refresh your purpose – for your Self, for your business and for the people you lead?
4. What must you, as a leader, be willing to give up or let go of in order for your business to be more flexible and responsive to change?
5. Reflect on three core principles which determine how your business currently operates. How are these helping or harming the business’s ability to achieve its Vision?
6. What barriers will have to be removed in order for your business to be stronger, more profitable and exist 5 years from now?
7. What are your top 9 values that you orient your life around?

Our planet needs visionary leaders, your country, your organisations and communities need visionary leaders. Our children need new role models for leadership in the 21st century. I urge you to rise to the challenges and be courageous enough to discover the visionary leader that resides within every one of you.

This AMAZING piece was written by our AMAZING guest blogger Karynne Courts from Values Connection.  Ph +61 2 9983 0755