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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fired for being fat



I fired myself this week – for being too fat.

Fat might not be the right word. I’m predominantly larger in one area – at 21 weeks pregnant it’s no longer a secret to anyone who sees me that I’m rapidly creating an exciting new addition to our family.

Which I’m so over the moon about.

And yet – I caught myself being chastised by a former staff mate and friend over the Christmas break for admitting to hiding my growing belly from new people I encountered at work.

How ridiculous she told me – in this day and age that you feel the need to do that. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how much effort I was putting into thinking about how to disguise my pregnancy.  Each morning I’d dress for work and wonder if I arched my back this way, or wore that, or didn’t get seen from that angle or breathed in deeply if it was obvious to the casual observer that I was pregnant.

Why? Because part of my role involves pitching for new business for our property management company. At each pitch I always explain that our company policy is that at least two people look after every property – so no client expects to only deal with me every day for an eternity, but yet I still felt the need to hide and hunch even though I’m not planning on going on leave for 4 months!

It’s taken me a while or so to get my head around writing this blog and I’m still not exactly sure the message I’m trying to get across (sometimes I just write and see if it comes to me as my fingers type).

I’ve got two opposing counterpoints running through my brain.

The one that fired me from that role of the job (pitching for new business with clients I don’t have a personal relationship / referral to) this week – because who wants someone who’s clearly pregnant and going to be having time off from work soon to pitch for their long term business.

And then there’s the one that knows that I’m actually significantly better at my job since having my first child.

Since my two year old bundle of flurry, wonder and chattering glory blew into my life I’ve:

·       Become more organized – and that’s a lot for me, because I was pretty organized before hand, but that old saying about if you want something done, give it to someone busy has never been more true.
·      
I’ve become better able to prioritise, distance myself and see the big picture of what’s really important and not focus on minutia as much.
·      
My ability to counteract for my own shortcomings through systems has gone through the roof. I discovered about mid way through my first pregnancy that “baby brain” wasn’t something ludicrous my pregnant friends made up (made readily clear when I missed three appointments in a row because my old system of simply remembering them no longer worked) – so ever since then I just put two back up systems in place for every meeting and haven’t missed a single one.
·      
And not that it directly relates to me pitching for new business – but I know I’ve become a better employer to the mums who work with me. In the same way that I’ve always said someone who is an investor themselves makes a better property manager, someone who is a working parent is better able to understand the unique and beautiful complications of wanting to be a great worker and a great parent.

So where does that leave me? Well it leaves me with still well over 3 months left to work. An amazing team that will look after every client while I am on leave after the arrival of bub number 2. It leaves me questioning my decision to fire myself, but not quite ready to rehire me – yet. And it leaves me wondering what I would do if a property manager clearly pregnant pitched for my business – with me knowing I’d want a long term relationship with them.

What would you do? 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 9 comments

Friday, January 25, 2013

Imitation or Theft?


They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery right? Heck – I even talk about the concept of “Rip off, expand and duplicate” in one of my books.

As an example TOMS shoes (http://www.toms.com/) was one of the first companies to pioneer the “one for one” concept. For each of their pairs of shoes you purchase, they’ll also donate another to a child in need. TOM’s founder Blake Mycoskie has openly stated that he hopes others will copy the concept – and his wish has been granted, there have been numerous one for one organizations spawned world wide (I’ve even partnered to set up my own directly inspired by TOM’s – Baby Teresa – www.baby-teresa.com)

BUT – there has to be a difference between being inspired and blatantly ripping another person’s idea off.

I walked into a Sketchers shoe store the other day and noticed a shoe design remarkably similar to the very distinctive “TOMS” shoe. The name of it: “BOBS” and the concept “one for one donation”. My first thought, given how identical the similarities were, was that Sketchers had partnered with TOMS which I loved, but then the closer I inspected the packaging the more I found no reference to TOMS. A little online searching and I found the scathing negative publicity Sketchers had received for so blatantly ripping off another, smaller organisation’s fabulous idea. To make it worse, Sketchers, one of the largest shoe companies in the world underpriced TOMS and then also initially launched with a two for one donation.



So, there’s inspiration and then there’s direct copying. One is flattering and aspirational, the other is blatantly uncool.

So what’s are some ways to be inspired, without stealing?

1.              My number one tip - look outside your own industry! Take inspiration from great service given to you at a hotel and work it into your hair dressing salon. See the poor service you receive at XYZ plumbing company and figure out how you can do the opposite in your retail store.
2.              When I wrote about Terry Watson’s R&D (Rip off and duplicate) concept – I wrote RED (Rip off, expand and duplicate). If you want to incorporate a great idea into what you do – EXPAND on it, take the brilliance and make it better, stronger, sharper, more efficient. In short, make it your own.
3.              Reference your inspiration or even go to them, where appropriate, and discuss how you’ve been inspired and get their go ahead to continue with the concept.

And how about how to stop yourself from being copied? That’s harder still. The only real answers here are to be clear and consistent with your innovations – in many cases like TOMS v BOBS the public support will lean towards the original innovator. Short of that – when it’s a smaller innovation and not your entire business concept – keep on innovating!

And in closing if your innovation is just a cheaper price,  remember the old “We fix $6 haircuts story” (google it if you don’t know it!) 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Friday, January 18, 2013

Focus on your strong or not so strong points?



I recently wrote a post on “focus” and the massive impact focusing on one or a few specific areas of your business (or life in general)! can have.

But what to focus on? In the post above we chose to focus on something we were already good at – hoping to get exceptional and we had phenomenal results.

If you focus on something you’re weak at –
·      You may need a bit more mentoring / guidance on HOW to achieve your goals given that it’s something you’re not so strong at
·      You’ll still see a good result (one would hope!) – but it might just take you from a weakness to something you’re ok at – so there may not be the same hype or excitement level from your team
·      You may rule out something your competition can use against you (as opposed to creating something worth shouting from the rooftops)

So what to focus on? My honest opinion – go with a strength or a weakness, it doesn’t overly matter, just choose something you can see a decided improvement in and then FOCUS! 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, January 11, 2013

Get it done



I wrote this post a while ago entitled Successful people finish stuff (http://blog.kirstydunphey.com/2012/10/successful-people-finish-stuff.html) and it reminded me when I was doing a speech last week of my all time favourite technique for making myself (or anyone!) finish “stuff”.

So… here’s the steps:

1.     Figure out what you need to finish (or start and finish!)

2.     Grab your credit card

3.     Find a trusted friend (and by trusted, I mean someone who will be mean to you if it’s for your own good).

4.     Write down on a piece of paper the following:

I <<insert your own name>> need to complete <<put in here the specific task you need to finish>> by <<insert date>>. If I do not I hereby give permission for <<insert trusted advisor’s name>> to take my credit card details listed below and buy <<insert the name of someone you don’t like or an organisation or political party you don’t like>> something fabulous to the value of <<insert a dollar amount that makes you squirm>>.

And voila – provided your task is possible, so it shall be done. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thanks Dr. Denis



Many years ago I had the supreme pleasure of sharing a stage and spending some quality time with Dr. Denis Waitley. Don’t know him? Google him, subscribe, learn and love, you won’t regret it.

Just last night I was reminded of one my favourite life lessons when attempting to judge whether or not I personally want to be involved with someone.

I sat a huge dinner table last night filled with people from all different walks of life and of all different ages.

The lesson Dr. Waitley taught me – was to pay attention to how people treat those who can’t do anything for them. In this case, the wait staff.

The staff last night were impeccable (this restaurant is known for their service). At every moment our ever need was met.

And yet, the response to the wait staff was different. Some people were genuinely kind and thankful, others still made no eye contact and were unnecessarily curt with replies.

For me – I want to surround myself with people who show everyone a minimum level of courtesy and respect regardless of their status in life. How about you?

By Kirsty Dunphey with 3 comments

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