Inaugural SPASA Leadership Convention: take-home tips from our three speakers

SPASA Australia

Monday, 13 November, 2017


Leadership convention tile2

The inaugural SPASA Australia Leadership Convention was a resounding success, with members and guests treated to a day of world-class keynote speakers and industry leaders who shared their insights, experience and practical concepts.

The three keynote speakers — trends expert and author Michael McQueen; author and leadership expert Dr Jason Fox; and Olympian, author and advisor Alisa Camplin OAM — shared their strategies for success, encouraging attendees to look at the big picture and plan for future growth within their businesses.

“This is the first event of its kind for our industry and it’s extremely encouraging to hear that our members are taking so much away from it,” said Lindsay McGrath, SPASA Australia’s CEO.

“We’re continually looking for ways to help improve the professionalism of members and it is events like this that breed new ideas and innovations to see the swimming pool and spa industry propel forward.”

Michael McQueen: winning the battle for relevance

Trends expert and author Michael McQueen.

Trends expert and author Michael McQueen.

Best-selling author and business strategist Michael McQueen outlined a game plan for staying relevant in the face of widespread disruption. With unconventional competition, emerging generations and new technology rapidly changing the pool and spa industry in Australia, it is more important than ever to:

  • embrace change and reinvent your business before change forces you to
  • leverage the power of fresh eyes to drive innovation in a team
  • use technology to engage millennials as both customers and staff
  • avoid the autopilot trap of doing things ‘the way it’s always been done’.

Dr Jason Fox: beyond the default

Author and leadership expert Dr Jason Fox.

Author and leadership expert Dr Jason Fox.

‘Enduring relevance’ is not achieved simply by working harder or faster. It comes as a result of better questions, richer conversations and slower, more thorough, quality thinking.

But alas! Most organisations have become cursed with efficiency. We’re ‘too busy’ for meaningful progress — and so we hunt for shortcuts. In order to survive amidst unrelenting busyness, many leaders become adept at leveraging experience — which naturally allows us to find quick fixes to most challenges.

This may save us time and cognitive angst — but if we’re not mindful, this may also see us busily work away, perpetuating the same-same default thinking, right up until the point at which we are no longer relevant.

And therein lies one of the biggest challenges for modern leaders today: how do we venture beyond our defaults — particularly when we’re all so busy? This is further compounded by the progress principle — a phenomenon wherein our motivation and behaviour will naturally gravitate to the things that provide the richest sense of progress. The trouble is, the things that provide the most immediate and measurable sense of progress are very often the default things getting in the way of meaningful progress.

And what is meaningful progress? It’s that which brings us closer to future relevance.

And what constitutes future relevance? This is the challenging question — it takes curiosity (to explore new ways, amidst and betwixt the intersection of trends) and empathy (in anticipation of the emerging needs of our market). It can’t be rushed, it’s not a linear process and it’s difficult to measure quantitatively — hence why leaders rarely find time for this essential activity. Instead, we perpetuate a delusion of progress — wherein everyone is busy being efficient and productive, at the expense of efficacy and progressiveness.

In order to stay the path toward enduring relevance, we need to create visibility of progress for the things that matter. This starts with the counterintuitive notion of making unrelenting busyness temporarily relenting; to foster time for your own curiosity and thinking, and to create environments in which your team can engage in richer conversations and higher quality thinking.

By establishing rituals and working up strengths in reflection/projection and qualitative sense-making, it’s possible to create a sense of progress for the more ephemeral leadership behaviours that have us explore beyond our defaults, and keep us on the path to enduring relevance.

Alisa Camplin OAM: where to? What’s next? It’s your choice

Olympian, author and advisor Alisa Camplin OAM.

Olympian, author and advisor Alisa Camplin OAM.

Olympic aerial skiing gold medallist Alisa Camplin (OAM) has never let anything prevent her from achieving her goals. Even two fractured ankles six weeks before the 2002 Winter Olympics didn’t stop her.

Breaking nearly every bone in her body on the way to winning back-to-back Olympic medals, Camplin will tell you that the physical hardships were nothing compared with the mental and emotional challenges she has had to overcome.

Creating history in any domain requires a firm vision and unwavering commitment, but it must be underpinned by hard work, attention to detail and a deep desire to learn and grow without the fear of failure.

A few of Alisa’s key takeaway messages are:

  • Define a clear and measurable goal.
  • Ask yourself why your vision or goal is so important to you.
  • Create a detailed plan to achieve your goal, remembering that ‘a vision without a plan is just a wish’.
  • Track, measure and hold yourself accountable to your plan, always working towards world’s best standards.
  • Are you working hard enough when no one else is watching?
  • To achieve great things, you need to work with great people … sometimes you need to go out there and find them.
  • Being ‘elite’ is a mindset; it’s an attitude and an ongoing quest to be your own personal and professional best.
  • Excellence is a choice.
  • Be your own greatest cheerleader.
  • Prepare, visualise, simulate, rehearse — and practise, practise, practise!
  • Sometimes it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference.
  • Celebrate the milestones along the way.
  • Somebody is going to be the best and somebody is going to win. You just need to decide if it’s going to be you!

Did you attend the SPASA Leadership Convention? Tell us what you thought of it! To leave feedback on the event, visit the SPASA surveys page: www.spasa.com.au/industry-info/surveys-feedback.

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