Working with what you have

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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A friend of mine sent me an article on Captain Richard de Crespigny and the Singapore to Sydney ‘incident’ on Qantas flight A380 QF32. Much has been written about the incident since it occurred on 4 November 2010, but I had resisted reading anything more about it. I knew de Crespigny had written a well-received book called QF32 and it was a great story from a brand perspective. However I’m a nervous flyer (due to some scary flights) and since I didn’t want to know too much about the incident and what could go wrong, I had held off on reading QF32…until now.

Over the weekend I put aside my fears and read it. And while QF32 has lots of background on de Crespigny’s flying credentials and experience, and how Qantas is renowned for its safety record, what stood out for me was how de Crespigny faced the aftermath of the engine 2 explosion. The explosion sent shrapnel through the wing and fuselage, “creating chaos as vital flight systems and back-ups were destroyed or degraded”(QF32). The aircraft had 469 people on board.

But rather than concentrate on what he didn’t have, de Crespigny focused on what he did. He looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have. This was such a good lesson. While most of us do not fly aircraft or have to make life or death decisions every day, the lesson of working with what you have is an important one. Any start-up brand going through tough times needs to utilise what they have and not worry about what they don’t have.

De Crespigny looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have.

We all have something to work with and we all have choices. Even when it seems all is lost and there is nothing we can do. When de Crespigny needed to focus and not let the stress take over, he took a deep breath and got on with it. He ensured that everyone kept calm —including himself! The other thing de Crespigny did was trust the people behind the Qantas brand. He knew how they reacted in a crisis and that they had his back. He knew that the Crisis Management team would be meeting and getting on with handling other aspects of the situation for the passengers and the crew. He could do his job, while the rest of the team did theirs.

QF32 is a must read—for everyone in business!

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

Don’t forget to celebrate along the way

Brand + Business  x Christine Moody*

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Last week, I was invited to present to the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Business School’s Fostering Executive Women group as part of the ‘Executive Conversations’ series.

This series is designed to assist early- to mid-career female executives in their progression through the ranks. The format provides young women executives with the opportunity to have ‘real life’ conversations with speakers from a range of different industry sectors, who can share authentic leadership lessons.

For many years, I was a mentor and then the President of this group. I have always enjoyed listening to the leaders who present: witnessing the speaker’s vulnerability; and hearing first-hand that your career doesn’t always run to plan, but that you can learn from these setbacks and become a better, stronger leader.

…I reflected on the ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ moments and the valuable insights and lessons I’ve taken away with me.

Well, this week it was my turn to present. I decided to share the career ‘challenges’ I’ve faced over the last few years. In preparation, I reflected on the ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ moments and the valuable insights and lessons I’ve taken away with me.

While I didn’t want to dwell on the minute details, I did take time to relay how I’ve used the challenges and lessons to leverage up to the next level. I also touched on how to use negative outcomes as motivation to keep going (I shared this in my earlier blog, Turning bad into good).

…I’ve used the challenges and lessons to leverage up to the next level.

Delivering this presentation made me see that I’m getting better at handling challenging situations in my life. I’m also bouncing back faster and higher! The key I realised, is celebrating the wins along the way—no matter how small.

I celebrated when I handed my research thesis in last year. I also celebrated when I handed my book in to the editor this year. While these two events were work-in-progress moments, they were also major milestones that were hard for me to achieve. And these milestones deserved to be celebrated!

…my lesson to you is to celebrate every small achievement

So my lesson to you is to celebrate every small achievement. Each one means that you are further along your journey than you were the day, week, or year before. Celebrate by yourself or celebrate with you family and friends, but whatever you do, don’t forget to do it!

What are you going to celebrate today?

 

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

 

The last five per cent

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

NYC2015

The hardest part of any project is the last five per cent. With the end so close, your focus wanes and you begin focusing on the next challenge or the next project. You may be exhausted and even bored with the current project.

But be warned, the last five per cent is critical. It can make or break a project. The last five per cent is when the ‘magic happens‘. It’s when you tie up the loose ends; add the finishing details; and make the last 95 per cent count.

In my work with startups and companies with innovative products, I often find that it is in the last five per cent that entrepreneurs give up or lose focus. I can’t help thinking that their business outcomes would have been better if they had given it their all—their 100 per cent focus.

If you invest years of time and money in a project, it deserves nothing less than you fighting for it to the very end with 100 per cent effort!

…the project deserves nothing less than you fighting for it to the very end with 100 per cent effort!

When I was writing up my Masters’ research thesis, I had two months to distill five years of work. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. There were are few moments of panic and a few times when I thought, “I just can’t do this”.

To get through the last five per cent of my thesis, I gave myself a deadline and religiously stuck to a strict routine that required me to show up at my desk each and every day at 4am.

My days went a little bit like this: write my ‘to do’ list for the day and then write for about an hour and a half before getting ready for bootcamp. Go to bootcamp followed by a post-training coffee. Back at my desk, write until 10 am and then email my work in progress to my supervisors. Start my ‘real’ day, working on client projects solidly until meeting with my supervisors on campus at 4pm.

This cycle continued until one of my supervisors said, “I reckon this is ready to be submitted.” That was it. Masters completed. What an anticlimactic end to an epic journey. Part of me expected something more dramatic. I was hoping for at least the gold ticker tape similar to when they announce the winner on MasterChef Australia!

From my Masters’ experience, I learned that a dedicated focus on the last five per cent makes all the difference between success and failure.

…I learned that a dedicated focus on the last five per cent makes all the difference between success and failure.

This focus is just as important when you are launching a new, innovative product or service. While the outcome doesn’t have to be perfect—like my thesis—it does need your complete focus. And, if you are being honest with yourself, you will only feel completely satisfied with the project if you have given it your all and done your best.

What have you put 95 per cent effort into without paying attention to the last five per cent? Have you given up before the end?

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.
Photo credit: Christine Moody NYC 2015

 

How a little black wrap dress saved my sanity

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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I have always been a self-starter, what people now call an entrepreneur. I was running my own businesses before I even graduated from university. Still, I remember being very nervous about launching my first ‘real’ company the year after I graduated.

My father asked me, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” When I shrugged my shoulders he answered, “You fail and have to go and work for someone, but think of all the experience you will have!”

That was the start of my journey into the business world.

Over thirty years later, and I am still working away on different and varied projects.

Being an entrepreneur makes life very interesting. Over the years, I have been involved in many varied businesses. I love the thrill the start up and seeing the vision come to life. It’s sort of like having a lab where you can play away without having to answer to anyone!

Being an entrepreneur makes life
very interesting.

A couple of years ago, I launched a fashion start up “The Wrap Dress” to distract me during a very stressful time. I wanted to see how far the idea of the wrap dresses could go as a business and in doing so, saved my sanity.

The concept for the start up grew from a corporate sewing group affectionately known as ‘Stitch ’n’ Bitch’! I made my first Wrap Dress in the group as a versatile staple that I could dress up or down for any occasion. I wanted a dress that could get me out the door faster, and still look and feel as fresh and crisp at the end of the day as I did at the start—something that would have me looking and feeling good, wherever my day took me.

I chose the Wrap Dress style for its simplicity and versatility, and something that would perfectly suit the busy, outgoing women in our group. I also chose a stretch fabric that I later discovered was typically used in swimwear.

It turned out that the dress perfectly suited the everyday/everywhere/everybody style of garment. I kept refining the design and make, ending up with a beautiful, comfortable, durable, versatile Wrap Dress. Then a friend wanted one. Then another. Then friends of friends, then people I’d never met. I was wrapped in a great idea and felt it had the potential as a business.

Launching the start up gave me a great opportunity to explore the design and manufacturing processes as well as work collaboratively with textile fabric suppliers, pattern makers, sewers, and logistics. All fields that I knew nothing about. Due to my naivety in the field, I had to ask so many questions and people were so willing to help me and to guide me in the right direction!

While completing my Masters Research thesis last year meant putting the dresses aside for a few months, I am once again onto ‘Project: The Wrap Dress’. I want to see how far I can push this business and to see how much I can learn along the way.

How you can apply innovation to your organisation

When I was at D.School (Stanford University), I spoke to Claudia Kotchka about her time as VP at Procter & Gamble (P&G). I wanted to know how she was able to focus such a large organisation, with thousands of products and thousands of employees, on innovation. Claudia told me, “One product at a time.”

Claudia didn’t try and change everything at P&G at once. Instead, she started slowly and built the organisation’s confidence in innovation. There were several reasons why Claudia was so successful:

>   Claudia had direct access to the Executive Chairman and Board

>   She created a non-competing innovation group that included other innovative organisations such as 3M

>   She started with a product team that understood that they had to change how things were done

>   Case studies were presented to the organisation so they could see what the potential for the future.

From my experience, innovation is not a one-off thing, it is a way of thinking and a way of ensuring that your organisation is constantly evolving and innovating. Sometimes things don’t work out, but the ‘learnings’ can be brought to the next project.

What innovative project are going to start working on today?

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

Also see TheWrapDress.com.au

How a little black wrap dress saved my sanity

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

IMG_8303

I have always been a self-starter, what people now call an entrepreneur. I was running my own businesses before I even graduated from university. Still, I remember being very nervous about launching my first ‘real’ company the year after I graduated.

My father asked me, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” When I shrugged my shoulders he answered, “You fail and have to go and work for someone, but think of all the experience you will have!”

That was the start of my journey into the business world.

Over thirty years later, and I am still working away on different and varied projects.

Being an entrepreneur makes life very interesting. Over the years, I have been involved in many varied businesses. I love the thrill the start up and seeing the vision come to life. It’s sort of like having a lab where you can play away without having to answer to anyone!

A couple of years ago, I launched a fashion start up “The Wrap Dress” to distract me during a very stressful time. I wanted to see how far the idea of the wrap dresses could go as a business and in doing so, saved my sanity.

The concept for the start up grew from a corporate sewing group affectionately known as ‘Stitch ’n’ Bitch’! I made my first Wrap Dress in the group as a versatile staple that I could dress up or down for any occasion. I wanted a dress that could get me out the door faster, and still look and feel as fresh and crisp at the end of the day as I did at the start—something that would have me looking and feeling good, wherever my day took me.

I chose the Wrap Dress style for its simplicity and versatility, and something that would perfectly suit the busy, outgoing women in our group. I also chose a stretch fabric that I later discovered was typically used in swimwear.

It turned out that the dress perfectly suited the everyday/everywhere/everybody style of garment. I kept refining the design and make, ending up with a beautiful, comfortable, durable, versatile Wrap Dress. Then a friend wanted one. Then another. Then friends of friends, then people I’d never met. I was wrapped in a great idea and felt it had the potential as a business.

Launching the start up gave me a great opportunity to explore the design and manufacturing processes as well as work collaboratively with textile fabric suppliers, pattern makers, sewers, and logistics. All fields that I knew nothing about. Due to my naivety in the field, I had to ask so many questions and people were so willing to help me and to guide me in the right direction!

While completing my Masters Research thesis last year meant putting the dresses aside for a few months, I am once again onto ‘Project: The Wrap Dress’. I want to see how far I can push this business and to see how much I can learn along the way.

How you can apply innovation to your organisation

When I was at D.School (Stanford University), I spoke to Claudia Kotchka about her time as VP at Procter & Gamble (P&G). I wanted to know how she was able to focus such a large organisation, with thousands of products and thousands of employees, on innovation. Claudia told me, “One product at a time.”

Claudia didn’t try and change everything at P&G at once. Instead, she started slowly and built the organisation’s confidence in innovation. There were several reasons why Claudia was so successful:

>   Claudia had direct access to the Executive Chairman and Board

>   She created a non-competing innovation group that included other innovative organisations such as 3M

>   She started with a product team that understood that they had to change how things were done

>   Case studies were presented to the organisation so they could see what the potential for the future.

From my experience, innovation is not a one-off thing, it is a way of thinking and a way of ensuring that your organisation is constantly evolving and innovating. Sometimes things don’t work out, but the ‘learnings’ can be brought to the next project.

What innovative project are going to start working on today?

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

Also see TheWrapDress.com.au