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Day 2 of Ray White Connect brings the big keynotes and the creativity

Almost 3000 agents came together for Day 2 of the Ray White Group’s Connect conference on the Gold Coast yesterday. Elite Agent Managing Editor Samantha McLean went along for the ride and walked away with a series of top takeaways you can implement in your business.

The morning kicked off with Duncan Wardle, who was the head of innovation and creativity at Disney for 25 years.

“Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised as a habit,” he says.

Lacking ideas? Get outside or keep a notepad handy

Most people get their best ideas in random places, such as when they are brushing their teeth or in the shower. 

Weirdly, no one ever says they have their best ideas at work. That should tell you something!

If you’re the kind of person who has their best ideas in the middle of the night, Wardle recommends keeping a notepad beside your bed, as you might have forgotten the idea by the morning.

Even if you’re busy, don’t ever say, “I don’t have time to think”

Did you know 13 per cent of your brain is conscious and 87 per cent is subconscious?

If you tell your brain you don’t have time to think, you won’t be able to think. 

Step away from the problem, and make time to think.

Don’t be an Eeyore

Wardle says people at Disney who were anti new ideas in meetings became known as “Eeyores”.

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These are the folks that would generally be the antidote to any creativity in internal meetings, famous for the general response of, “No, because…. [insert reason why the idea won’t work, such as we’ve done it before, that’s the way someone else does it, it’s too expensive… etc]” when anyone brought along a new idea.

Instead, challenge yourself to say, “Yes, and…[insert something that could make the idea fly]”. 

Wardle says this is the easiest way to a) make work fun and b) get buy-in to make magic happen. 

“Saying ‘Yes, and…’ is the easiest way to change an idea from ‘mine’ to ‘ours’,” Wardle says.

For bonus points use the words “What if” as much as you can to figure out where you can pivot or innovate.

Purpose not profit

Gen Z will dominate the workforce in the not too distant future and they believe in purpose, not profit.

They don’t respond to, “How do I make more money”?

They will respond to, “How might we solve pain points for the customer”?

You only need one reason to keep going

Samantha Bloom, followed by Steven McGown, were the next two speakers.

Bloom suffered a near tragic spinal injury after falling from a lookout in northern Thailand.

McGown was kidnapped and held captive by Al Qaeda for six years.

They each suffered incredible personal loss under very different circumstances, but there were defining moments for both of them:

  • Find a reason to keep going (for Bloom this was focusing on nursing a magpie, named Penguin, back to health). “Self pity is the enemy.”
  • Find a way to survive (for McGown this was a pivot to converting to Islam) “Focus on what you have control over, impact what you can…”
  • Anything is possible if you are determined and creative enough. 

Both of them reminded us through the darkest of times, “As long as you are alive, there’s hope!”

If you can’t smile, put a pen in your mouth

“If you’ve just left a shitty client, stick a pen in your mouth before you visit the next one…”

That’s speaker and author Lisa O’Neill delivering some incredibly practical tips on bringing the best energy you possibly can to each and every meeting or appointment you go to.

Apparently, when the corners of your mouth are upturned you can’t help but start giving off positive vibes.

Also – I tried it. It works.

“Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles… It empties today of its strength.”

Two circles

When you don’t know what to do, draw two circles – write what you can control in one circle and what you can’t in the other. 

This will always tell you what your next step is (simple and effective!) 

The domino effect

Offering a practical side to all of the creativity and innovation lessons from Disney is Daniel Flynn from Thankyou.

Flynn explained how the company started as a conundrum – how do we supply water to people that really need it… through selling bottled water.

Flynn admits that he had no idea how to start a bottled water company but did it anyway.

He put purpose before profit, pivoted during the pandemic, got sworn competitors (like Coles and Woolworths) to work together and even offered his book for sale in a “pay what you want scenario”.

If you can get past the fear of doing things differently, great things can happen.

It reminds me of a quote from Duncan Wardle this morning:

Work on the five per cent (and the inside)

Flynn said a conversation with a psychology professor on a flight made him aware of what he calls the five per cent of things that only you can do.

For example, you cannot outsource sleep.

Outsource the 95 per cent wisely so that you can show up for the five per cent.

If you are feeling close to burnout then you need to work on the inside, and Flynn notes that if you work on the inside you might be really surprised what happens on the outside.

Creativity wins

The overriding theme of today for me has been that of creativity. 

From the heartfelt messages from Samantha Bloom, to the energy of Lisa O’Neill; Stephen McGown regaining his freedom, the energy of Daniel Flynn and the masterclass in innovation from Duncan Wardle, it is clear that Australia’s largest real estate group is encouraging its members to think outside the box.

So, one final thought from the Disney boss: creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Don’t be afraid to try different ways of doing things, find people who will challenge you and make an effort to keep things fresh.

The four things that will win over AI and automation in the future: creativity, intuition, curiosity, and imagination. Don’t leave home without them.

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.