A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Dog Whisperer


Our real estate agency Elephant Property has an unofficial staff member – Terry, our maintenance man. He’s a constant source of lightness and unbridled energy in our office and I love him.

He’s also one smart cookie. Just recently he told me how he always carries a pocket full of meaty bites (dog treats) – because he often has to go into properties that have dogs. He’s been called the dog whisperer by one of our tenants recently after he charmed their two large dogs.

How simple of an idea is it? Encounter lots of dogs each day, many of whom aren’t so happy about having you on “their” property. Carry a treat or two with you?

Who do you encounter daily that isn’t so fond of seeing you and what could you carry in your pocket to charm them?

Maybe you have crayons or a cool stuffed toy in your office for calming noisy toddlers while their parents sign important documents? For the older ones, perhaps it’s an ipad they can play with while Mum or Dad is occupied? Perhaps you drop off a mini chocolate bar with your tax invoice? Or – and I love this one, you’re the hairdresser with an awesome chair for the kids to sit in while getting their hair done.

Who do you need to whisper to?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sleep deprived and desperate


I’m at the end of a long day that has involved me setting myself a one day goal of writing 10 blog posts (I usually write one a week). This is post 9 of 10. Fittingly after such a prolifery of verbage I am, as just illustrated, making up words and lacking a little inspiration.

So I posted on my facebook page – facebook.com/kirstyDunpheyEmail asking for suggestions / thoughts / random words.

My favourite response was this one:

“Should we be scared that parents with no sleep operate machinery, drive cars and raise children...”

I guess I found it appealing due to it’s comical nature, and the fact that I have a newborn and a toddler on the go at the moment – who at times, like to tag team their wake ups.

We have four parents on our team at Elephant Property with 5 kids 5 or under – and despite the fact that we offer a flexible work week / working hours - many of us, at different times operate the “machinery” of our business severely sleep deprived.

Are we at our best when sleep deprived? Probably not. Does our work suffer due to this? At times, I’m sure it has. But probably not more than the 20 something who’s had a big night on the town the night before or the passionate hobbyist who’s been pursuing an out of work passion until 3am.

In short, we all have days where we’re not at 100%. But, there are certain advantages to having parents (well rested or not) on your team.

If they have kids who are toddlers or older – they practice negotiation on a daily basis.

If they have multiple kids, or have ever tried to complete even the simplest of tasks with one demanding child, they know how to split their attention when it’s required.

If they’ve raised well-behaved children, they’ve had first hand practice at providing discipline and coaching – ideal qualities in a manager.

In short, I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.

BUT – I believe, if you want to have parents, especially those with young children working in your company, flexibility is the best gift you can give them. And I had no idea of this before having my first child, so sincere apologies to the parents who worked with me before then (I just didn’t get it!)

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Low tech strategy in a high tech world


My facebook feed erupted this week with anger. Non-parent anger over parental obsession. Maybe you know what I'm talking about? It started with posts like "I need cards 5, 36, and 45 to complete Jimmy's collection" and ended with "If one more person posts about bloody animal cards I'm unfriending them!"

Yep - it's officially 1984 again and swap cards are all the rage. The 100 cards given out for free by a large supermarket chain are highly prized by parents, grandparents and even the occasional child and I have friends who never shop at this chain racing over there to make sure they stock up on cards for their kids.

I'm not immune, I was astounded and very grateful recently as a lady in front of me at the checkout with adult children handed my 2.5 year old a fistful of cards from her $300+ grocery shop. But I must admit - I have no idea what cards we're missing, only that we have a shark and that a shark (according to my daughter) can eat a parrot (but you shouldn't let it). 

In chatting with my lovely checkout lady yesterday she told me my supermarket had actually run out of cards so successful was the promotion, and then she proceeded to tell me that she'd bought the commemorative album for her grandkids. 

Now would this campaign have been more successful if instead of a small piece of cardboard it involved an ipad or a computer? I doubt it. Sometimes it pays to look to the past and think simple. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 10, 2013

MONA-isms for your business


If you live in Tasmania and haven’t been to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) yet – I can’t fathom why (it’s free for all Tasmanians and worth a drive across the state and more). If you live near to Tasmania, you won’t regret hopping on a plane to see it (even if you aren’t a typical museum lover).  And if you’re far far far away… Maybe add it to your bucket list – it’s that good.

MONA is architecturally spectacular, deliberately shocking and utterly entrancing. I’ve been numerous times and my most recent visit was with my 12 week old travelling buddy. MONA is the first thing I recommend visitors to the state go to (and that’s saying something – we have a whole lotta amazing stuff in this state).

So in visiting this time, I tried to look at what David Walsh has achieved at MONA to see what could be replicated in any business (you know, that didn’t have a multi-million dollar budget and a penchant for putting genitalia on the walls). Here’s what I came up with.

Be real

As you stroll around MONA strapped into your personalized ipods which give you all the museum guff on each piece of art that takes your fancy. David Walsh often comments on the pieces he loves and his take is, how shall I put it, not very museum curator-esque. He uses real language and in reading it, I can imagine him speaking to just to me.

Non-MONA example: S. Group architecture and design here in my hometown of Launceston. This page starts off very much as you’d expect an architecture firm, but mouse over the photos and read the profiles and you see personality and real-ness pouring out - http://sgroup.com.au/meet/

Be social

As you walk around with your groovy ipod at MONA you can Love or Hate the artwork with a click of a button and – if you’d like, you can get a very awesome map of your journey complete with full social media integration emailed to you called your “O tour” http://www.mona.net.au/theo/

Non-MONA example: In chatting with the founders of Flat Tummy Tea recently (http://www.flattummytea.com.au/) also based in Tasmania.  I commented on how fast their facebook page followers were increasing. Now the founders are a bit younger than me and while I use instagram, I must admit I had no idea the power of it from a marketing perspective especially to a younger demographic . Bec mentioned how fast their instagram following (http://web.stagram.com/n/flattummytea) has grown and it’s awesome to see how they’re tapping into a young demographic with real time testimonials like this http://web.stagram.com/p/515482027391159741_416639066. Why is instagram hitting a younger demo? Check out this recent mashable post called “I’m 13 and none of my friends use facebook” (http://mashable.com/2013/08/11/teens-facebook/).

Be noticed

MONA strives to be something people talk about. From the pink flame covered busses that can transport you there, to the in your face controversial artwork, much of which has no common thread other than that David Walsh liked it.

Non-MONA example: I’ve become a little obsessed lately with Jessie Walsh’s project http://fortydaysofdating.com/ - check it out, but be warned, you might get stuck in there for hours. Jessie’s day job is as one of the founder’s of Sagmeister and Walsh – a design company (no doubt benefiting from lots of extra interest after 40 days). I can’t help but keep going back to their website http://www.sagmeisterwalsh.com/ - because the front page is a live web cam above their office. Simple and a little addictive, much like Forty days of dating (which has just been picked up by Hollywood http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/08/40-days-dating-latest-internet-project-be-co-opted-hollywood/68387/)

So that’s just three things – be real, be social, be noticed… I could go back to MONA for 40 days straight and find umpteen more things – but I also see them when I get great service at my petrol station or have a conversation with a friend about their son. If you open your eyes you can R-E-D anywhere (read this to find out what I mean by R-E-D http://blog.kirstydunphey.com/p/retired-at-27-if-i-can-do-it-anyone-can.html)

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Step To It


So this week saw the end of Steptember (http://www.steptember.org.au/)– a fundraising initiative by the Cerebra Palsy alliance encouraging fundraisers to form teams of 4 and fundraise while every day for 28 days attempting to get 10,000 steps a day.

While we raised a small amount for Cerebral Palsy (and hope to do significantly better next year with the event and fundraising already booked into our Elephant Property calendar) the other benefits to our firm, and to me personally have been huge and mostly unexpected.

Some of the best include:

-       Watching one of our quietest team members take a commanding lead in the step tally early and commenting daily as to how much better she felt getting out and walking each day.
-       We had friendly rivalry between our two teams and were able to invite two casual staff members to have more of an interaction with our permanent staff members by being valuable members of the teams.
-       Hearing how many staff are committed to keeping up their daily step tally even after the month is over (three of us are all getting Fitbits on Monday thanks to a recommendation from an interested client)
-        I realised how close I live to one of my hometown’s natural wonders. What would have previously seemed like a huge distance away became an almost daily (weather and child dependant) stroll that I grew to love and missed when I couldn’t get there.
-       I realised I actually love walking! I’d had getting out for a daily walk on my “to do” list each day since having my second bub and made every excuse as to why I wouldn’t get out there (replacing it with most indoor resistance exercises)
-       I actually stepped the equivalent of 304.59 kilometers (402057 steps) for the 28 days – so much more than I thought I’d be able to do on day 1 when I struggled to reach my 10,000 and wondered what I’d gotten myself in for.

So thank you to the #Steptember crew for all of the above and more and we look forward to doing it again next year.

What can you do to add an element of fun or fitness or fundraising into your work environment?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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