Oona Collins: Ten tips for a healthy, wealthy & happy 2020


The inspirational executive coach behind some of the biggest names in property explains how to lead by example in the year ahead...

Written by

Oona Collins

Founder & Director at Potential Plus International

Oona is a Global Executive Coach & Consultant. She specialises in coaching leaders and senior executives through transition periods, typically pre and post promotion, restructures, mergers or in new roles. She has over 20 years’ experience incorporating board level positions in sales and management and has coached over 25 different nationalities. Oona has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto, Sydney, Europe and USA and holds a Non-Executive Directorship.

For property professionals, this New Year marks a turning point in the uncertainty that has dogged the market for over three years.

2020 may not be all plain sailing, but December’s election results mean a political clarity that has brought optimistic reactions from many in the business. And that’s essential for our mindset and well-being, helping us to thrive not just survive. It’s also essential for business. Companies whose people are thriving are more likely to thrive too.

To kick off 2020 to a healthy start the well-being of people is a priority for many organisations. The Estates Gazette published a survey in November that reported the issues of mental health growing at a worrying pace in the property industry and poor workplace culture was cited as one of the biggest contributing factors.

The seasonal break was the first opportunity for many of my clients to stop and recharge. The imbalance of a lack of sleep, extensive travel, lack of exercise and long work hours takes its toll and it is important to refocus and give priority to health – physical, mental and emotional so you, your colleagues, your team and your family can thrive and flourish as we plan for 2020.

It is essential to start from the top and lead by example.

It has made him realise the importance of face-to-face time with his people on a regular basis.

A CEO of a property development company who has had a tough 2019 and is instigating change for 2020 has started doing one-to-ones. They are not scheduled he just asks people to pop in when they have a minute and he talks about the changes he wants to make and how important their support is. He then asks, “What have you noticed?” He was interested in some of the feedback and ideas, including the fact that he had not been as visible, and how his teams value his experience and expertise when reviewing acquisitions and deals. It has made him realise the importance of face-to-face time with his people on a regular basis.

As the New Year begins, why not make the most of the increased market certainty and make it your top resolution to thrive?  Your second resolution could be to help others thrive too.

‘80% of success is dependent on 20% of your activities’

Oona’s ten tips to help you and your organisation 

1. Provide Clarity

Overwhelm is common when you are juggling deadlines and increased workload. Provide a clear direction of what the priorities are as they can change. I apply the 80/20 rule. We know that 80% of income comes from 20% of your clients. In the same way 80% of success is dependent on 20% of your activities. Give people clarity on the priorities of their role so they can influence their own success.

2. Align Corporate and Personal Vision

When reviewing the vision for the business, enquire as to the personal vision of your team members – what are their aspirations personally and professionally for 2020.  When people feel known for more than their role they feel part of something and want to contribute.

3. Create a Culture of Openness

If senior management share their stories and strategies of how they overcame times of adversity and stress it gives hope and normalises stress. In the EG survey 40% of respondents said that they had given their employer a different reason for taking time off when they felt unable to cope, so it is imperative that we remove the stigma.

4. Acknowledge Contribution and Recognise Talent

The beginning of the year is a good time to acknowledge your own or your colleagues’ talents. When we are recognised for what we are good at, and our contribution is valued it increases our ambition and motivation to tackle the challenges ahead.

5. Leave Space to Reflect

Don’t overcommit yourself.  Leave time to reflect and plan ahead.  A client, who had historically taken very little reflection time, decided to dedicate quality time on the 5 year business plan. As a result it is a highly creative, innovative plan with bold ideas that will reposition the brand and business, and reward employees for their  commitment. This has made him realise the importance of this reflective time and it is now regularly in his diary for 2020.

6. Increase Face-to-Face Communication

As with the CEO example meet regularly with your team members to review progress and gain their insights. A good tip to understand what people need from you is to ask simple questions which are easy to answer, e.g. what is the one thing you need from me that would make the biggest difference right now? …  and act on it.

7. Equip your People

Often people who are feeling anxious or depressed do not know who to ask for help and it takes real courage to talk about it. Train as many people, particularly managers, in mental health first aid.  There are many programmes available.

8. Set Healthy Boundaries at Home

We are all parents, husbands or wives, friends, and if we never turn our work switch off, we risk ‘contaminating’ areas in our home that are meant for social engagement potentially damaging our important relationships. Give people your time and attention. Start by putting away your mobile or tablet when watching TV or avoiding leaving work papers on the kitchen table, and carve out specific times and a specific place when you need to work at home.

9. Sleep your Way to the Top!

As Arianna Huffington reported, sufficient sleep is key to optimum performance and your success. Neuroscientists have shown that the 15 minutes before we go to sleep are our most creative time so spend this time wisely – for example, acknowledging what you have achieved or what you are grateful for

10. Do What You Love

Make your well-being a priority for 2020. Prioritise the activities that give you joy and pleasure it will give you the energy to fuel your ambitions and make this year one of your best!  Book them in your 2020 calendar now for the whole year!

Main image: 80% of success is dependent on 20% of your activities - Oona Collins