Posts Tagged ‘Avondale College’

Need to Cut Costs? Try This…

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cost CuttingImproving the bottom line of a business is actually very simple as it means impacting just one of two areas:

  1. Increasing revenues, or
  2. Decreasing costs.

I said it was simple, not easy! But when times are tough (and when aren’t they?) and you need to reduce your cost of doing business, Brett Hay, a consultant with Expenses Reduction Analysis, says there is a simple 7-step process that can cut costs 10 – 15%. You can read a more detailed description of the process here, but in summary point form, the 7 steps are:

  1. Analyze your costs
  2. Where possible, rationalise your purchases
  3. Benchmark your spending
  4. Talk to your suppliers
  5. Beware of buying in bulk
  6. Manage your people
  7. Monitor your success

Maybe now is the time to start reviewing your costs and seeing how much your bottom line can improve.

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


P: 02 4980 2168

Successful Leaders Say These Things

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Getting to be in a position of influence is one thing, being a person of influence is quite another. Great leaders are those who understand that positional influence is very limited, but personal influence is much more long-lasting and widespread.


What is it great leaders do that sets them apart from mediocre leaders who depend on wielding their positional power? By and largely it is in the words they use. Peter Economy, a writer for Inc., has compiled a list of the 17 things successful leaders say every day that sees their employees becoming partners rather than adversaries, complete with the trust and loyalty that businesses need to function at high levels. You can read the full article here, but the 17 things? Here they are:

  1. What do you think?
  2. I trust you.
  3. I know you can do it.
  4. It’s not your fault.
  5. I’m proud of you.
  6. Please.
  7. Thank you.
  8. Great idea–let’s do it.
  9. I’ve always got time for you.
  10. I couldn’t have done it without you.
  11. No one is perfect.
  12. What can I do to help?
  13. I made a mistake.
  14. I need your help.
  15. Anything is possible.
  16. I’m sorry.
  17. I’ve got your back.

A challenge is to try using some of these over the next two weeks (and mean it!) and see what happens in your workplace.

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

Leadership Weaknesses? Not Me, I’m ‘Called’!

Monday, September 1, 2014

PenguinsToo many of us in leadership believe our own press about how important, qualified and skilful we may be. Leaders in faith-based organisations can especially feel that being “called” comes with the idea we are infallible. Unfortunately we are also human (I’m sorry if this is a revelation to you), fraught with imperfections and foibles that other people see, even if we don’t. The issue isn’t having a leadership weakness, it’s how we handle them that counts.

In a recent Business News Daily posting entitled ‘5 Leadership Weaknesses and How to Fix Them’ Nicole Fallon looks at 5 common leadership weaknesses that we are all susceptible to.

The list of identified leadership weaknesses are below, but if you want to know how to fix them, you’ll have to read the article.

  1. Accomplishing goals without a vision – doing without direction;
  2. Not trusting employees – micro-managing;
  3. Excessive connectivity – being a poor role model and dis-empowering employees;
  4. Stagnancy – becoming comfortable and failing to continue to adapt and innovate;
  5. Needing to be liked – rather than being understood and respected.

LeadershipMemeAt one time or another in my leadership I have fallen foul of all of these, how about you? Maybe it’s time to admit we are not perfect so our leadership can go to the next level.

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

Unused Annual Leave – Bigger is Not Better

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vacation-PolicyA problem for many organisations is the amount of unused annual leave being “stockpiled” by employees. There are many issues associated with this, including stressed employees, managing rotations, and the growing financial cost. The benefits of regular leave are inherently understood by everyone, so why don’t more employees take all their leave?

Perhaps we can glean some understanding from a just released US study on this issue. While it is not set in an Australian or NZ context associated research by the Avondale Business School into the intrusion of work emails and work/life balance indicate that the issues bare a close enough resemblance.

The study Overwhelmed America: Why Don’t We Use Our Earned Leave? was prepared by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications on behalf of Travel Effect and U.S. Travel Association and released in August of this year.

The main reasons why employees don’t take their leave ?

  1. Returning to a mountain of work
  2. Feeling that no one else can do their work

It was also found that the higher up in the organisation, the harder employees felt it was to take leave.

Interestingly, there is also a significant disconnect between employees knowing and understanding the benefits of regular leave, yet not actually taking it.

Why is this?

The study proposes two suggestions. The first is the “Work Martyr Complex” whereby “busyness” is worn as a badge of honour, and often reinforced by the culture of the organisation.

The second is a failure to communicate, evidenced through senior business leaders saying they recognise the importance of time off, but by their own actions they do not effectively communicate this message to employees. For example, a significant number of senior business leaders respond to work related emails and phone calls while on leave – sending the signal that it is not acceptable to be away from the job.

Some suggestions to address these are in the study, and include:

  • Talking positively about the benefits of leave, including asking employees about their leave experience upon their return;
  • Facilitating employees leave, most importantly through assisting in managing their workloads while they are away’
  • Encouraging (in a positive manner) employees to take leave;
  • Including taking leave as a performance related KPI.

The 10 second take-away? Employees take your leave (and enjoy it), Employers – lead by example.

If you would like more information about this or related issues, or the ABS research into work/life balance, contact Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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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