A message from our CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou
When times are good, when challenges are few and far in between, when everything is smooth sailing, it’s easy to do the right thing. It’s easy to be a good person and it’s easy to be successful.
In a challenging market, or when challenges arise, it’s a great test for both an individual and a company of their integrity. It’s also a time that separates the ‘lucky’ people from the truly ‘successful’ people.
Many people have the ability, the expertise and the willingness to succeed in their career, business or investing – but there are a number of factors that hold most people back.
In the early 90s, I came to Australia as a new migrant, with big dreams for building a better life. Every day I wrote on cards the qualities of people that I admire, qualities I wished to cultivate in myself.
Because one thing I now understand, having achieved the success I once dreamed of, is that I have fundamentally changed as a person along this journey. My success is not simply the result of what I have done, or because I timed the market well, it’s because I have changed as a person, and continue to work hard on applying the right principles.
These nine qualities, I believe, will determine how far you will go on your road to success.
Be a giver
I have always believed that if you want something, you need to give something first. Address other people’s needs first. If you do this sincerely, without expecting anything in return, you will find that everything you seek will come to you eventually.
Generosity is more than financial support – though that is certainly part of it. Also, give your praise, give your time and your open mindset. If someone is holding firm in an argument, think carefully about why they are holding firm, and think about how you can help them achieve what they need.
Everyone comes to a situation with their own pre-determined ideas, or traditional beliefs. But often people are held back by being unable to learn new things. There’s no one way of looking at things. It’s important to open your mind to understanding how the other person is thinking or feeling, and not to be held back by always wanting to be right.
Say what you mean, mean what you say
Whether it’s a promise you’ve made to a friend, or a promise you’ve made as a business to your customer, it’s important to do what you say – all of the time, not just when it’s easy. We had an example with a development in Sydney we recommended to our buyers. As the Sydney market heated up, the developer went back on their word, and decided not to provide the promised dishwasher inclusion for our investors. Their reasoning was, our investors had huge capital growth for the property, so there was no need to provide any extras. But we had made that promise to our buyers, and we didn’t want to go back on that. So we provided dishwashers at our own cost. Our amazing Customer Care team even went to the site to co-ordinate the installation. None of the other agents who were selling properties in that development did that. And incidentally, we never worked with that developer again. If a developer doesn’t have that integrity, we don’t work with them.
The way you think determines everything, including the level of success you will achieve. Widen your sphere of thought, widen your sphere of influence. Learn to empathise with others and see the whole picture.
Be generous in your opinions of others. Be understanding and tolerant of others, know we all have our weaknesses and strengths. Give people an opportunity and the space to have another go, to improve and prove themselves. People are often very tolerant of their own mistakes and not very tolerant of others. As a leader, don’t take sides in an argument between two colleagues, instead, encourage dialogues and help people to put their differences aside. Avoid gossiping and office politics. Keep other people’s secrets when they trust you with their confidence. Feel genuinely happy about other people’s success. Lead by example. People know straight away when you don’t walk the talk, and it will be hard to gain people’s respect if you don’t.
Know you can’t (and don’t need to) do it alone
You can’t succeed on your own. Surround yourself with great people and draw strength from others. Trust people; leverage their expertise and apply their learnings or principles to your life. It’s easy to share a friend’s inspirational quote on Facebook, but instead, try to apply the quote to your own life. Be persistent in this. Your ability to apply the principles you learn will determine the person you become.
Admit your mistakes
Have the courage to admit your mistakes; have the strength to take the blame when things go wrong and to give credit to your team when things go right. At home or at work, in any kind of relationship, there are often arguments. People spend a lot of time trying to prove that they are right, and the other person is wrong. However, being a person who has the courage to say “I may be wrong” is a powerful thing. Admitting your mistakes is also about taking responsibility. There is great freedom that comes when you stop blaming others and take full responsibility for your life.
Begin with the end in mind
In the classic text: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, the author takes the reader into a “burial” exercise: imagine, after a few decades, you are able to be present at your own funeral, how do you want people to think of you, about what kind of a person you were/are.
Let your vision and your goals set the standard of your daily actions. Every move, every decision should be designed to bring you closer to your ultimate goal – whether you’re an individual or a company.
In business, I’ve learned that it’s not enough to identify a need in the market and offer a great product. To outperform, it’s important to have strong core values at the heart of the organisation. In James Collins’s book ‘Good to Great’, he profiled many successful companies. Those that continued to outperform, over decades, over generations, were not those that had the celebrity CEO, the newest technology or even the best product. It was the organisations that had strong core values.
Over the last 13 years, Ironfish has weathered the many ups and downs of market cycles, lending squeeze, Royal Commission into Banking and GFC, among others. I have no doubt that the reason why we are who we are today is because of our strong core values. We are a people company. Our aim is to provide the best possible properties and service for our customers. We want to help more Australian families build wealth, by making it easier to buy and hold properties they can one day retire on. We stay with our buyers to the end. We also back our own people – we provide a great platform so our people have unlimited room to grow.
These values have never changed and will continue to guide us onwards into the future.
Joseph Chou is the CEO and Founder of Ironfish, a national property investment services company. Joseph has presented to thousands with the aim of disrupting and transforming mindsets to support people in achieving their personal, career or financial goals. His personal story of success, ‘from Bicycles to Bentleys,’ continues to inspire many.
Book your seat at Joseph’s next speaking engagement via our seminars page.