Posts Tagged ‘Avondale College’

…You Like Me, Right Now, You Like Me!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

So gushed actress Sally Field in 1985 when she accepted her second Oscar in 5 years for her role in the 1984 film Places in the Heart.

Being liked. If we are totally honest, it is what drives many of us. Sure we may have roles that make us unpopular due to the nature of the decisions we have to make (a shout-out to the CFO’s and Accountants out there), but that doesn’t mean we don’t like being liked. In fact, the fear of displeasing people is a major contributor to anxiety and stress for many people. And it has led to far too many poor decisions that have tried to not upset people instead of doing the right thing.

We cannot control other people’s reactions and emotions, and we would probably “blow a pufher valve” if our goal was to try and keep everyone happy with our every decision and action – totally unrealistic.

I remember two successive but very different CFO’s in an organisation I worked for many years ago. The first one had a reputation as being firm but fair, who was known for giving everyone a fair hearing. People would leave his office with a “No” to their proposal, but still held the man in high regard. Then came his successor, who was much more unpredictable in his behaviour, and really didn’t care much for people. It was legend that people would leave his office, having received a ‘Yes” to their request, but still feeling disdain and hostility towards him.

So why is it that some people seem to have a knack of keeping people happy, while others just alienate them?

Loking me

A recent article by Peter Economy in Inc. (Read it here >>) highlights seven things that well-liked people do. Here’s your chance to (as Peter Economy says) make yourself a more likeable and magnetic person.

7 Things Well-liked People Always Do:

  1. Don’t judge
  2. Get personal (but not too personal)
  3. Ask people about themselves
  4. Listen
  5. Remember
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously
  7. Be hospitable

How did you do? Maybe this month try just one or two of these that you may not already be doing, and see what happens. What could possibly go wrong?

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168

Death, Taxes, and …Technological Change!

Monday, July 7, 2014

change3In a recent survey of CFO’s, accountants and finance professionals, 93% of Australian respondents believe developments in technology will either totally or to a great extent transform the way accountants and the finance function do business over the next 10 years. There only question left is how?

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA(Institute of Management Accountants) jointly conducted the survey that also identified the top 10 important technologies that will shape the next decade and beyond. The consensus of respondents is not whether an organisation will adopt and utilise these technologies, but rather how. Essentially it is adapt or perish. Hence the title of the report – ‘Digital Darwinism: Thriving in the Face of Technology Change’. You can request a free copy of the report here>>



These technologies are:

  • Mobile
  • Big data
  • Artificial intelligence and robotics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Educational technologies
  • Cloud
  • Payment systems
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Digital service delivery
  • Social technologies

Some of the key impacts and implications include:

  •  A more connected world and workforce
  • Opportunity to automate more business processes and services
  • De-skilling of the accountancy profession
  • New ethical challenges relating to data gathering and analysis
  • More transparency
  • Faster and smarter period-end processes
  • New areas of risk
  • Challenges to traditional role of the profession
  • Expectation of access to IT resources 24/7, on any device, anywhere

The report also provides some suggested action imperatives to address these technologies and impacts, which businesses would do well to consider earlier rather than later.

The questions for your business is how to adapt, and when. The answers will determine whether or not your business survives the next decade.

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168

Transformational Change

Monday, July 7, 2014

TL3As a father of two daughters I was more involved in Barbie parties and My Little Pony movies than the Transformers. But I understand the premise that in a very short space of time seemingly innocuous objects can turn themselves into something much more dramatic and action-oriented.

If only transformational leadership was that simple – being able to go overnight from a mild-mannered average leader to a world-changing mega-inspirational charismatic successful leader. Unfortunately it is not that quick and easy, but with a clear strategy and determination there is no reason why any leader cannot be a transformational leader.

One of our subscribers sent us a link to an excellent article on the MindTools website (Read it here>>) that gives some good tips on becoming a transformational leader. The article is a good read, and in summary, the four steps to follow are:

  1. Create an inspiring vision of the future;
  2. Motivate people to buy into and deliver the vision;
  3. Manage delivery of the vision;
  4. Build ever-stronger, trust-based relationships with your people.

While each of these steps encapsulates a number of components, it is very interesting to note that the key to transformational leadership essentially revolves around vision and relationships. So if developing, nurturing, and building both vision and relationships gets you well on your way to being a transformational leader, take a few moments to reflect on how well you are doing this.

When you mention vision to your employees, do their eyes light up with excitement, or does it generate yawns or looks of bewilderment? Is your vision motivating people or gathering dust on a shelf? Are you delivering on vision, or just doing what you’ve always done, but under a different name? Are you building relationships, or breaking them?

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop leadership skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

The Deloitte Australian Business Trends 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

In a recently published report, Deloitte have identified nine business trends that will re-shape the world and Australia in 2014. Their report can be accessed here.

Leaders of organizations can be forgiven for feeling nervous at the potential shake-up in the business environment that is looming. Looking at just three of these trends should be enough to rattle your tree. Remember these are trends not predictions, reflections of what is already happening, not what is predicted to happen.

  1. Social Impact

The social issues of Australia are too big for any one sector (Government, NFP, Business) to solve. The realization is dawning that it will take collaboration and partnerships between sectors to have any real impact.

Some businesses in the mining sector in particular are already engaged in such partnerships, with marked levels of success. Programmes such as these will grow within Australia, and entities involved in the NFP sector should be looking at ways to ‘partner-up’ with the business sector.

  1. Social Media

Surveys of executives’ consistently highlight the growing use and importance of social media as a legitimate business tool. A 2013 survey by Deloitte Australia noted that 48% of Australian consumers update their social media nearly every day (5-7 days per week) and 34% consider it an important tool. But the growing digital footprint does come at a cost.

However, social media advertising is now the fourth most influential category of advertising.

Social media now includes as standard social TV channels (like YouTube).

The consensus is that while specific tools may come and go, social business is here to stay. Avoid it at your peril.

  1. C-Suite version 3.0

The C-suite (derived from management titles beginning with chief….) has been based on a traditional model. Today there are more and more functional specialists being appointed. Roles are appearing like Chief Operations Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Information Officer, etc. to the point where CEO’s today have more direct reports than ever before.

Typically the most recent additions are in the digital, customer oversight, innovation and transformation areas. This highlights the importance business is placing on these aspects of business. The challenge is to avoid a silo mentality by compartmentalizing these functions, and to ensure there is cross-collaboration and integration across the business.

It is a challenge, but an important one.

Thinking about your business, are you ready for these trends that are happening now? What changes do you need to make to ensure your business is not left behind?

The Avondale Business School can advise your organization on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Future Leadership Now

Monday, June 23, 2014

Leaders are generally overcome with feelings of anxiety, confusion, stress and feeling overwhelmed. Does that sound like you? Less than 8% of leaders have the required level of thinking to do the job, which frequently results in these feelings.

A recent paper by Nick Petrie entitled ‘Future Trends in Leadership Development’ looks at what new skills are required for managers to get on top and thrive. Interestingly all of the skills are what might be termed ‘soft skills’, and include:

  • Adaptability
  • Self-awareness
  • Boundary spanning
  • Collaboration
  • Network thinking
  • Creativity
  • Comfortable with ambiguity.

Traditionally leadership has been about the individual, and has encouraged ‘silo thinking’. But the new business environment is all about networks, cross-collaboration and sharing. Those leaders who try and cling to the past will find themselves isolated and losing ground to other businesses.

The new complexities within which organizations operate requires collaboration, sharing and influence. Leaders need to build a collaborative rather than individual leadership network.

As a leader, are you operating within a network or a silo? Will you benefit from collaboration or be left behind as an individual?

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop leadership skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

A Leadership Master Class

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Outside the box

If you had the opportunity to pick the brains of 8 of the smartest people in leadership today, would you do it? How much would you be prepared to pay?

Plenty of people took the opportunity recently to attend the ‘World Business Forum’ in Sydney, held May 28 – 29, 2014. They were treated to leading edge thinking and ideas that challenge the status quo and call leaders to think in different ways.

Thanks to one of the major sponsors, NAB, you are able to get the benefit of this forum through a synopsis of each presentation which captures the major points. These are a great read; quick, punchy and challenging.

The main presenters and their areas of interest are (click on the presenter to read more):

  • George Kohlreiser – Lessons in leadership from hostage negotiation
  • Randi Zuckerberg – Developments in technology
  • Ram Charan – Good ideas with no execution ends in no results
  • Gary Hamel – Change management
  • Kevin Roberts – Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) thinking
  • Andreas Weigend – How people are making purchasing and lifestyle decisions
  • Michael Porter – Opportunities if we are willing to recalibrate thinking and strategy
  • Lyn Heward – The 7 doors to enhance creativity, motivate high performance and foster innovation

While there is something for everyone in this mixed bag of leading thinkers, my personal favourite is Ram Charan’s 7 steps to excellent execution – the way to actually get things done.

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168

8 Things Remarkably Effective People Do Every Day

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Some days I consider myself productive, and other days much less so. Consequently I was very interested to read this article by Peter Economy highlighting the daily habits of people who are continually effective.

Being effective is a habit, and by making these 8 things part of your daily ritual, you too can be effective over the longer term.


What are the 8 things? Well the article does explain them in more detail, and it is well worth reading, but in summary they are:

  1. Visualize your success
  2. Focus on one task at a time
  3. Get active
  4. Don’t be afraid to say no
  5. Value your time
  6. When you need help, ask for it
  7. Be a good listener
  8. Be grateful

On a good day, I would tick 6 or so of these traits, on a bad day it would be lucky to be two or three. What about you? Can you say ‘no’ when you need to? or are you a ‘people pleaser’? Are you prepared to ask for help? Or do you think leadership means you know everything?

Investing the few minutes needed to read and reflect on this article could change the way you lead. Read more >>

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop productivity skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Employee Wages

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

wagesAre we paying too much for our employees’ wages?

When Nobel Prize winning Economists speak, how willing are we to listen? James Mirlees has recently suggested that without wage cuts “from the board room to the factory floor”, Australia’s unemployment rate will steadily rise. Announcements in the past two weeks show that Australia’s wages are growing at only 2.6%, a rate smaller than the inflation rate and some of the slowest wages growth seen in over 20 years. This combined with speculation of interest rate rises before the end of the year is likely to have a big impact on living standards, and could have “material effect on Australia’s housing bubble and household debt levels”. Perhaps it is time to begin proactively considering the possibilities of what this could mean for both individuals and business in the future.

-      Peter Williams    -



Young Business Leaders

Friday, May 23, 2014

Behind the scenes of the Young Business Leaders list

successSo what really impressed the judges?

The common thread of the young business leaders evaluated is clearly success – all are certainly high achievers in their various fields and this did not escape notice by any means.

But the panel looked deeper and some themes emerged. It was these qualities that seemed to evoke admiration and a sense of connection that lifted the profiles beyond the page:



Going to work – whether for themselves or as part of a larger organisation – is certainly not a chore for the 20 chosen. I got the same impression from the judges, who see an event like this as an extension of their leadership roles within their own organisations.


No question that our 20 chosen demonstrated a clear set of guiding principles. In many cases, that includes giving back – within their major employment roles working for not-for-profit organisations or outside of their day jobs.

All 20 seem future oriented and take an international perspective, thinking ahead as they forge ahead, with a strong emphasis on social responsibility. People “doing the right things and not because it looks good”.

Commercial acumen

While risk-taking is a part of life and a part of business, the gambles here are very calculated. There’s a strong view of building businesses that are sustainable, using their education and applying sound business practices to new ideas.


Whether the panel fully identified with this I’m not sure, but the confidence of these young leaders was evident: Confidence to start new things, to pursue good ideas, to work without geographic constraints. This is often apparent in their natural belief in collaboration and supporting other entrepreneurs. Yet many are treading their own path, not competing directly but finding a way to add value and build success in their own ways.

I took away some great leadership insights from those successful enough themselves to be invited as our panellists. And while they spoke of this younger generation as a new breed and in some ways a world apart, there were plenty of similar attributes on show by the judges.

So the discussion ended and the photo shoot completed, the panel went back to their days, hopefully just a little inspired by the discussion and the young business leaders of 2014.

-  Sharelle Simmons -

Giving to Charities

Monday, May 12, 2014

DonateWho Are The Most Generous People in Australia?

The most generous people in Australia typically live in the ACT, according to the latest NAB Charitable Giving Index. The least come from WA and Tasmania.

The 4th edition of the Index reveals the latest trends and data on the giving patterns of Australians to charity. The trends reveal:

  • Giving overall to charity increases by 8% to February 2014, compared to 3.3% the same time last year.
  • The average annual donation across all age groups was $315, up $13 from 2013.
  • 33% of donations go to the Humanities category, which, is declining. The growth categories are ‘Other’ and Medical services.
  • The postcodes with the highest incomes give the most in dollar terms, but not as a percentage of annual income.
  • Metropolitan areas give more than regional.
  • The average annual donation per age category is:

25-34   $179
35-44   $243
45-54   $290
55-64   $317
65+      $388

If you relay on donations for your business, knowing that charitable giving on average grew by 8%, what was your growth rate? Who are your main givers? Where do you need to focus your attention to improve giving?

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168