As the world works to battle and heal in the face of the novel coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented some unique silver linings. The earth is experiencing unforeseen environmental respite as waterways clear, and smog blankets lift; shining a light on how much we can achieve through the power of self-leadership.
Tennis plays a significant role in our household. My 10-year-old son is arguably the world’s greatest fan and an encyclopedia (or Wikipedia) of tennis facts. Even at his young age, I tell Scott he should join the commentary box. He’s also a solid player himself, competing in tournaments with the annual highlight being the Brisbane International, where kids get to compete alongside some of their idols.
With her trademark beaming smile Sonia McDonald stretches out her arms to hug me. “Hey Lovely, how are you?” she asks as I embrace her back. I go on to tell her about my morning juggling three kids on summer holidays and work deadlines. She ushers me over to a meeting room in an office we share in Brisbane’s CBD.
Today is the first day of your business life.
As leaders, we need to be reinventing ourselves every day to respond to our rapidly changing environment, and this is no different for business. With business strategies (and budgets) for this financial year in shatters, to survive right now you need to innovate rapidly.
Most people are scared of failure. They think failure is symbolic of loss, non-success and disaster. I submit that it is the opposite of that – rather failure symbolises growth. It opens you up to learning, which opens you up to success. The earlier you fail, the earlier you learn, grow and get one step closer to your goal.
The life-long values that stay with you and permeate every aspect of your personal and professional life, will always be the ones you learn the hard way. Often with sadness, anger or even humiliation in tow, it is the difficult life lessons you learn that form the foundation of your leadership values system.
A characteristic I’ve always appreciated in a good leader is that they know when to accept conventional wisdom and when to swim against the stream. The power of independent thinking within the marketing and media sphere must be spear headed by leaders that understand when to pull the curtain back and challenge stagnant beliefs.
As the decade closed and the fires burned, we strategised the coming year for our brands. I’m analytical by nature and creative at heart, and love to create predictions for the coming years. One of my favourite predictions is the Pantone colour of the year, I usually at least get into the forecasts, and some years I nail it. Rather than a New Year’s resolution, I choose a word for the year to uphold. As we started a new decade, I went one step further and predicted for the world the word of the decade – courage.
The second stanza of Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country is widely known in Australia. In a summer which has seen catastrophic fires, dust and thunderstorms along with flooding our leadership has been tested to the limit.
Leadership doesn’t require a fancy title or company of 1000 people or more hanging off your every word. Leadership can be someone using their voice and their platform, whatever that may be, to call out bad behaviour.