Posts Tagged ‘Avondale College’

Doing Great Leadership

Monday, August 18, 2014

A recent article in Inc. by Peter Economy looked at the changing nature of leadership. In the article (read it here>>) six things are identified as being a constant amongst the fast paced change in leadership thinking.


In summary, these are:

  1. Constantly renew focus and revise goals – at both company and individual employee level;
  2. Emphasise information and communication – great leaders communicate more – both the good news and the bad;
  3. Encourage involvement and initiative – funnily enough the people who generally know how to do things better, faster, cheaper etc. are the ones actually doing it – listen to them;
  4. Provide autonomy and flexibility – great companies have engaged employees who become that by having input into how they do their job;
  5. Engage in action learning and application – great leaders have identified and are already training their replacements;
  6. Recognise and praise – does this really need explanation? Say thank-you and be positive;

As a leader, are you great? You can be.

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


P: 02 4980 2168

Employers Think They Know What Employees Want

Monday, August 18, 2014

f you are an employer, do you think you know the top four strategies for attracting and retaining high performing employees?

In April to June of 2014 the Towers Watson Global Talent Management and Rewards Study was conducted in 31 international locations amongst 1,637 participating organisations and with over 32,000 employees, and the preliminary results are beginning to be released.

Interestingly, while the top four strategies (in no particular order) are listed below, these did not rate with employers. That is, employers have a very different view as to what employees want.

  • Career-advancement opportunities
  • Job security
  • Monetary remuneration
  • Trust and confidence in senior leaders


This highlights a major issue for employers, that of understanding employees. No wonder nearly two-thirds of employers are having trouble attracting top performers and high-potential employees, and only 46% of employees feel their company does a good job in this regard. It is also indicative as to why 70% of employees want to be understood by their employers like they are required to understand their customers and clients.

Don’t let that last sentence pass you by – 70% of employees want to be understood by their employers like they are required to understand their customers and clients. Think about that for a while and contemplate the implications.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Communication is a major issue, and only 52% of companies manage to do a good job of explaining how employees’ base pay is competitively position in the marketplace.
  • 27% of organisations monitor how effective their career management programs are (you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken!).
  • There is a high level of employee engagement (72%) where leaders and managers are perceived as effective.
  • THE most important driver of leadership effectiveness – inspiring and motivating employees – and only 55% of employees say this happens.

So for employers there are two simple and very inexpensive imperatives:

  1. Take the time to understand your employees – they are very different to what you think.
  2. Invest in becoming effective leaders, which is best manifested by inspiring and motivating your employees.

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

First Impressions Count

Monday, August 4, 2014

How quick do you assess the trustworthiness of someone you just met for the first time? Do you like to engage in conversation first in order to make a considered, balanced judgement? I doubt it. Research tells us that we typically form our view in the first one-tenth of a second upon meeting a stranger.

In a recent blog-post in their Research Digest the British Psychological Society compiled a list of what matters most for first impressions. You can read it here >>. In summary, these are the ones that mattered most:

  1. Make Eye Contact

People who made and maintained eye contact, especially while talking, were perceived to be more intelligent.

  1. Talk Fast

Slower speech gives the impression you are less truthful, fluent and persuasive! And not surprisingly, when you use “um” and ”ah” people assume you don’t know what you are talking about.

  1. Dress Smart

People in more formal wear have been assumed to be more confident and successful, and when wearing name brand clothing, are more successful at soliciting money for charity.

  1. Lose the Piercings

As the number of piercings you have goes up, your intelligence goes down – at least that is what people assume.

  1. Shaved Heads

Research showed that when pictures of men who had shaved heads photo shopped, people judged them to be “more dominant, taller and stronger than their authentic selves”!

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


P: 02 4980 2168

Leadership Blind Spots

Monday, August 4, 2014

What is your leadership blind spot? We all have them – it’s just a case of knowing what it is and dealing with it.

Robert Shaw has written a new book called Leadership Blind Spots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome The Weaknesses That Matter (Josey-Bass, 2014) which looks at this issue.

The book was recently reviewed in, which revealed the top 5 leadership blind spots and some strategies to overcome them:

1. The strategic thinking blind spot

You have been promoted because you are good at your job, but in leadership, that is not enough. Now you need to focus more on strategic thinking than operations. This blind spot is about being a short term rather than long term thinker, about meddling in operations rather than developing strategy.

2. The know-it-all blind spot

Do you always assume you are the smartest person in the room? Then you have this blind spot. Being too focused on your own views, always assuming you have the right answer to everything can mean you miss out on many other viable (and often better) options.

3. The unbalanced blind spot

What is more important – results or process? Both actually. It’s about getting the right balance between “winning at all costs” and ensuring you have positive teams and engaged employees.

4. The assumption blind spot

Not everyone is like you – thankfully. Or me for that matter (even more cause for relief). This blind spot occurs where leaders assume that everyone thinks like them, and is motivated by the same things. This only leads to poor decisions and often bad people relations.

5. The stuck-in-the-past blind spot

Have you, like me, been there and done that? This thinking leads to leaders mistakenly thinking they have been promoted because of how good they did things in the past, rather than for the potential they have for doing a better job in the future. It is important to see challenges in the light of current circumstances, not from the past.

Now that we know what our blind spots are, how do we deal with them? Shaw has strategies to do just that, and three of them are:

a.  Have a warning system in place – trusted people who tell you when you are heading for trouble

b.  Build a good team – a diverse group who can challenge and work together

c. Assess yourself – honestly and with feedback from those around you.

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

Sydney Finance Team Meet Their Customers at ABS

Monday, July 28, 2014

Taking a day away from their offices, the finance teams from the SDA Church in Greater Sydney and their Aged Care

Finance Teams from The Sydney SDA Offices enjoy a day with ABS

Finance Teams from The Sydney SDA Offices enjoy a day with ABS

services were hosted by the Avondale Business School (ABS) for a professional development day on Thursday July 24..

Rather than focusing on the technical aspects of their jobs, CFO Eva Ing wanted the day to be a fun day, focusing on their customers and clients, which ABS happily agreed to.

Bruna Tawake, a sessional lecturer for ABS, and Consultant at BT Public Relations spent the morning with the teams engaging them in lively workshops that got them thinking about the various customers and clients they encounter.

The afternoon comprised a workshop conducted by Peter Williams and Warrick Long, both full time members of ABS, which looked at employee happiness and maintaining a happy workplace.

Feedback from the teams indicated they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and not only took away some new directions and strategies, but great memories of a fun day in a beautiful location with spectacular catering!

Eva summed up their experience as being well looked after, an enjoyable experience, they will be back!

Thank you Greater Sydney SDA, you are welcome back any time.

…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