Posts Tagged ‘Avondale College’

The Five Levels of Delegation

Sunday, July 5, 2015

DelegationI was interested to read Peter Economy’s thoughts on delegation in a recent online Inc. blog (read it here), as I had not really thought much about there being different levels of delegations. It is obvious now that it is through delegation that a leader manages to achieve the objectives of the organisation, and to actually get things done. Leaders who claim not to be able to delegate to their staff merely highlight how ineffective they themselves have been at recruiting, training and managing their staff.

The article goes into some details as to each level, and where it is most effectively used, and is well worth the read. In summary, the five levels are:

Level 1 – Assess and Report

Level 2 – Recommend

Level 3 – Develop Action Plan

Level 4 – Make the Decision

Level 5 – Full Delegation

Ideally, as a leader you will be looking to develop people to the point where they are capable of operating at level 5, but realistically that will not be the case with everyone. The decision you then face is whether they can be developed further, or they have reached a level where they can still contribute to the organisation effectively, or if it is time to part ways. The tough stuff of leadership.

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 Data or Your Hunch?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

HunchThe July/August online edition of The Economist (read here) has a very interesting article on the rise of data (or ‘evidence’) and the potential demise of the ‘hunch’. Using stores from the world of music and sporting talent scouts, the article makes the compelling case that rational, evidence-based, data-supported decisions have a much greater chance of success than relying on your’ hunch’, drawn from your experience.

The success of movies like ‘Moneyball’ supports this position and numerous academic studies have long since proven that interviewing job applicants is a recipe for disaster. In fact, academic studies no longer study whether interviews are an effective way of selecting applicants, because the evidence is too overwhelming against such an idea. Instead, the studies are now about why people continue to use such a flawed approach to a major business decision.

So in raising the question as to whether there is still any place for the unmeasurable ‘hunch’ the article provides a number of situations in sports, music and business where there are skills that are unmeasurable and do still require a judgement based on intuition. These skills include things like the ability to quickly respond to an unplanned event and reconvert a pre-existing idea into a new reality instantaneously. Also, to improvise, and succeed. And in business in particular, to foster and maintain relationships, which forms the essence of what enables things to get done.

The article concludes that while the growth of data analysis had provided an opportunity for better decision-making, not all decisions can be based on data, or evidence, alone. In fact, each can often support the other. In leadership, the skill is to discern the time for each.

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.


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Want to be More Productive at Work?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

ProductivityIn a recent Business News Daily blog, Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily proposes 10 things that can improve your productivity right away. And as leaders, don’t just keep these to yourself, but see if there are ways you can introduce some of these into your employees workspaces and work lives to give them as boost as well. In no particular order, the ten tips are:

  1. Streamline your space.
  2. Add pops of color or live plants.
  3. Decorate your workspace.
  4. Get your most dreaded task out of the way.
  5. Ignore your emails (at least for a little while).
  6. Move around. Don’t limit yourself to your primary desk chair.
  7. Prioritize tasks that take less time.
  8. Take short breaks.
  9. Listen to music.
  10. Switch locations.

The article (found here) expands on each of these and might just surprise you with some of the suggestions. For example – in number 9, maybe your recent graduate wearing headphones at their desk is not all bad? So what have you got to lose by introducing some of these?

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

Opportunity comes our way …

Friday, June 12, 2015

opportunityOpportunity comes our way….


I often bump into or get connected with some of my high school or college class/college mates. This sends me to the world of reflection and memory mode trying to recollect details about this old friend or acquaintance of mine. When things get put together and I can see how things have changed over time in regards to this person. How he or she is faring now and what sort of opportunities were taken by this friend. How successful an opportunity has turned in to for this friend?

Time and time I notice that one thing is common to many of my friends who have been successful and unsuccessful in career or life can be pointed to the opportunity that was seized or missed out in the right time and place.

Two thoughts come up in regards to opportunities and they are so true when we look back and the reality is that it happens to us too.

“Many of us wait for opportunity to knock on our doors. However, most successful people are prolific door openers and do not wait for knocks.”

“Many times SUCCESS is more about DOING the things you know you should do, not waiting to learn the ‘secrets’ that you don’t know.”

Another motivational quote that I found on the web that reads like this;

“Lucky people get opportunities; Brave people create opportunities; And Winners are those that convert problems into Opportunity.”

There are numerous illustrative stories told where opportunity plays a key role in the lives of people’s success. Here are a few links for you to connect and read them.

– David Wilson –

Lecturer, Avondale Business School



Part-time Marketing Position Available

Monday, June 8, 2015

Part Time Marketing Position Available:

Here is your chance to get some practical marketing experience. In this role, you will:

  • Help set up 2 company marketing plans from overall directors strategic goals
  • Fill out web site info and Google rank
  • Push online avenues to gain lead generation
  • General machine maintenance and cleaning
  • Develop direct marketing strategies and execute them
  • Sales promotion
  • Sale conversion and contract management

If you are interested, or require further information, please email or phone Carl, at:


It’s Time to Kill the Performance Review

Monday, June 8, 2015

Performance ReviewsMelissa Dahl looks at the research into performance reviews in a recent Science of Us blog (read it here) and finds that there is little to support its practice. It appears the annual performance review is typically viewed as just another thing on the list of compliance items for managers and employees, with little actual benefit.

Dahl reports that the research has discovered the performance review is treated as an administrative ritual to be performed rather than valued. Usually it is a demotivating process rather than motivating employees to do better. The most recent research notes that the annual performance review ignores the social context of the workplace. That is, it is a formalized process that is both artificial and unnatural. Supervisors are required to shift from being inspiring and motivators to evaluators.

And most surprisingly, the research indicates that even employees who view a negative review as an opportunity to grow and learn will most often end up feeling discouraged and unmotivated.

There is an alternative that has emerged from the research – a simple one at that. It is to discontinue the annual performance reviews and instead use informal feedback sessions to address issues as they arise. The research shows conclusively that where a conversation directly follows an issue occurring there is usually an actual improvement in performance.

So the message is clear – stop imposing artificial performance reviews on your employees and instead start having timely conversations with them. But only if you want to see employee performance improve.

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


P: 02 4980 2168

Forbes’s Top 10 IT Trends for 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

IT TrendsForbes’s magazine recently published a list of the Top 10 IT Trends for 2015 (Read it here). As a business leader, you will want to keep on top of these and ensure you are ready for what lies ahead. For those of us old enough to remember life before computers, this list is like a science-fiction movie of our childhood. Take a look at what is coming:

  1. Computing Everywhere

Smartphones will become as integrated into business as they are in our personal lives. Consequently the smarter business operator will ensure they provide an outstanding user experience for their applications.

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT will grow exponentially. What is the IoT?, well it is where objects (or things) are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity which exchanges data with the manufacturers, operators or other devices. Examples are in environmental monitoring (climate conditions) and remote health monitoring (pacemakers, hearing aids, etc.).

  1. 3D Printing

This is becoming cheaper and more accessible by the day, which will mean it integrates into business more and more and will explode into business processes.

  1. Advanced, Pervasive, Invisible Analytics

All the data that is being collected is being held in ever growing pools of data. As every app collects data, this information will be available to interrogate and explore.

  1. Context-Rich Systems

Expect that the systems we use will become more alert and responsive to their surroundings. For example, security measures.

  1. Smart Machines

The machines we use will increasingly learn from the data they collect and act accordingly. Forbes’s predicts this to be the most disruptive innovation of the new IT era.

  1. Cloud/Client Architecture

More and more applications will be centrally located, enabling simultaneous use of apps on multiple devices.

  1. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Applications

On the very near horizon software will dictate what IT infrastructure looks like. It will change the entire business model for infrastructure development.

  1. Web-Scale IT

The only limits for companies like amazon, Google and Facebook are that of the digital environment. They are not impeded by geographic, cultural or language boundaries. Companies that thrive will think Web-Scale.

10. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection

The new way of functioning will move away from perimeter style IT defenses, and instead find security measures embedded throughout the entire business process.

How many of these were you already aware of? How many have you planned to integrate into your business? Your future success may well depend on being ready.

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

Mental Health in the Workplace

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mental HealthHow often when you think of your work environment do you consciously think of mental health? New statistics indicate that 75% of senior business leaders in Australia now realise that mental health should be an increasing focus within workplaces.

A year ago, boyondblue, a mental health not-for-profit entity, and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance initiated the ‘Heads Up’ program aimed at providing information, resources and strategies to help workplaces implement action plans for improvement in this area.

A significant change in attitudes towards mental health occurred within more than 300 senior leaders and other managers of Australian businesses. A report from Social research agency TNS said the number of senior leaders who indicated they had information and materials regarding mental health at work had risen to almost two-thirds, an increase of 29% since the launch of ‘Heads Up’. More than half (54 per cent) these senior managers also said their workplaces were running mental health awareness training, also an increase of 29%.

The impact of employees’ mental health conditions cost Australian employers at least $10.9 billion a year. However, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by beyondblue last year found that for every $1 invested in effective mental health strategies, Australian businesses received an average return of $2.30.

Business Council Australia CEO, Jennifer Westacott, said such outcomes show businesses are increasingly understanding the economic and health benefits of mentally healthy workplaces, stating “The return on investment is clear…. Mentally healthier workplaces deliver for everyone – employees, employers, customers and shareholders”.

Perhaps in the future the link between metal health and the work environment will be even more clear.

– Peter Williams – ABS HR Specialist

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pass the BatonIn the most recent McKinsey Quarterly in May 2015 (Read it here), they cite a stunning statistic, that one in three CEO successions fail, because of the wrong person going into the role. That is a huge failure rate, and one that costs business an extraordinary amount of money.

While it is the responsibility of the Board to replace a CEO, it is the responsibility of the CEO to develop a pool of talent for the Board to choose from. And this is where many organisations fail. In fact, McKinsey further quote that two-thirds of US companies have no succession planning in place for the CEO. What are you doing to develop your successor?

The ideal process, according to McKinsey, is a multi-year (say 5 – 8 years) structured program that involves multiple candidates in a rotation system. The CEO is best suited to manage this process as they best understand the business, and what lies ahead (that is, develop leaders for where the business is going, not where it is). The Board should involve up to three board members to work with the CEO and HR manager to ensure the process is taking place and developing talent in-house.

McKinsey identify three areas, or clusters of criteria, to use in developing would-be leaders. These are:

  1. Know-how
  2. Leadership skills
  3. Personal attributes

They also caution about three types of bias that can creep into the process:

  1. ‘MOM’ Bias (i.e. More of Me) – whereby the CEO is looking for a copy of themselves.
  2. Sabotage Bias – when the CEO undermines the process by selecting one candidate and favouring them throughout.
  3. Herding Bias – where the committee adjusts their actions to reflect that of the CEO, thereby removing any independence.

Take the time to reflect on the succession plans (if any) of your organisation for your role. Do you need to start the process? Remember that the bigger the pool, the more options the organisation has to get it right!

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

Work Less and Get More Done

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Now that sounds like a great idea doesn’t it! Numerous studies have proven that regularly working in excess of 55 hours per week is counterproductive and results in less, not more, getting achieved. Not to mention the effect on quality.

Work LessTravis Bradbury, writing in the May 19, 2015 edition of Inc. Online pulls together ten tips for your weekend that can result in higher quality and quantity of work during the week. The full article can be found here. The tips are:

  1. Disconnect
  2. Minimize chores
  3. Reflect
  4. Exercise
  5. Pursue a passion
  6. Spend quality time with family
  7. – 10 You will need to read the article!

Many of you are probably already doing these things, and are not working the crazy hours of others. Well done. But if you are one of those who are regularly putting in too many hours, what do you need to do to change? Not only will you be better off, but the organisation will benefit as well.

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


P: 02 4980 2168