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Get To The Heart Of The Matter

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

My granny had a chronic dry skin problem all her life. She tried every moisturiser on the planet. She stopped using soap and bathed in lotions the doctor prescribed for her. Nothing worked. No matter what the doctor prescribed or what granny applied to her skin it still cracked and flaked.

It’s obvious now looking back, that neither my granny nor her doctor got to the heart of the problem. He didn’t know what was causing or contributing to the condition. He didn’t know that my granny never drank water—only tea. Twenty cups a day. He didn’t know that she had a poor diet, devoid of fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy fats. He tried to fix the problem by treating the symptoms, instead of the cause.

We all do this at some point in our lives. We don’t get to the heart of the matter and end up with an ineffective solution. We waste precious resources, time and energy on tactics that don’t help us to create forward motion or get to where we want to go. We reason that there’s no harm in trying something that might not work while forgetting to account for the opportunity cost, that isn’t just wasted time or money—it’s wasted momentum.

Getting to the heart of the matter, whether that’s with your health goals or your business challenges, is harder than finding a quick-fix solution to treat the symptoms. But it’s worth the effort.

Alex Harvey

Be Ambitious

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

In our culture ambition is both celebrated and frowned upon—not always in equal measure. Ambition is encouraged and rewarded, but only to a point.

Perhaps it’s not ambition itself that’s the problem, but rather, our narrow definition of it? We aspire mostly to the ambition of accumulation. We want to be more and have more. More accomplished or influential, more wealthy or successful. Preferably all four. But if we’re asked to define success, we’re not always sure what it means to us.

If we’re going to find our calling, do meaningful work and live happy, fulfilled lives we need a more ambitious definition of success.

Be ambitious about the power and potential of your ideas. Be ambitious about the depth of the change you want to create. Be ambitious for the people you love and those you serve. Be ambitious for the people in your community who you’ve never met. Be ambitious for the children in your country who have yet to be born. Be an ambitious advocate for those who have lost hope.

Reflect on what you want. Then go after it with your head held high. And encourage and help others to do the same.

Image by Garry Knight

The Upside Of Generosity

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

The waitress supervising breakfast at the hotel was doing a great job of doing her job. The coffee pots and bread baskets were full. Dirty tables were promptly cleared, and not a single customer had complained that morning. She kept herself busy as the minutes to the end of her shift ticked by.

The couple from England who were visiting Australia for the first time stopped the waitress to ask her where the nearest cinema was. ‘I’m not sure,’ she said. ‘I’m not from around here.’ And in that moment the tourists’ impression of Australia and Australians lost some of its sparkle.

This isn’t just a story about the missed opportunity to serve. It’s also the story of the missed opportunity to find meaning and joy in being of service. The generous gesture (in this case a quick Google search) that costs nothing has the power to change not just the receiver, but the giver too. And when it’s withheld, it costs more than we realise to both giver and receiver.

Image by Kjell Eson

More Customers Vs. More For Customers

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

Every business begins with the founder’s intention about the outcome he or she wants to achieve. Every aspect of its development stems from that original intent.

As businesses owners, leaders and creators, we can adopt one of two strategies. We can build a business with the intention of getting more customers, or we can want more for our customers.

The outcome we want shapes the kind of business we build.

And the flip side, of course, is that when we want more for our customers, we end up being the kind of company more people want to do business with.

Image by Garry Knight

Why Didn’t It Work?

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

We’ve been learning by trial and error since we were six months old when we first noticed the effect of our actions on objects. As children we developed skills by learning from our mistakes, paying attention to what didn’t work as well as to what did.

As adults, we are not so keen to see our failures as an opportunity to learn. We might lament about the product launch that didn’t go to plan. The meeting that didn’t pay off. The idea that flopped. But often instead of asking why, we throw the baby out with the bathwater. And in that moment we overlook the opportunity to learn from our failures.

We didn’t learn to build a sandcastle or ride a bike by giving up and moving onto something new right away. We worked out what we needed to adjust, and we adjusted.

The path to success is progressive and iterative. We get there by being brave enough to ask the hard questions along the way.

Jim Purbrick

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