Posts Tagged ‘Avondale College’

Great Performers Make Their Personal Lives a Priority

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Work life Balance 2The great dilemma for most people striving for success is to balance their personal lives with their careers, so that neither suffers. How difficult that can be is represented by numerous broken relationships and unrealised dreams. In a very recent post on the Harvard Business Review site, Stew Friedman explores this idea and proposes a way of making it work. You can read the full article here.

Friedman references examples of successful people who have achieved in the four areas of life – work, family, community and self, and talks of “four-way wins” that result in all of these areas being enriched through the span of one’s lifetime. While using these examples, Friedman does so in order to highlight that anyone can achieve this, and it is not the domain of the rich and successful only.

While the article elaborates on these examples, there are three principles that Friedman advocates as the starting point for this success, a quick summary of these are:

  1. Be Real – that is, act with authenticity to clarify what is most important to you.
  2. Be Whole – see how the most important things to you in work, family, community and self affect each other.
  3. Be Innovative – simply experiment with creative ways to get things done, that suit you and those around you.

No one said it was going to be easy, and it does require some degree of strength to work to align these actions between the various domains so they all line up with core values. But when you achieve this, there is less conflict and you can move forward. An interesting comment from Friedman is that the examples he gave of successful people, “…persisted because of their commitment to their families, communities and private selves, not in spite of them.”

The first step – what matters most to you?

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.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Strategic IT Predictions – 2017 And Beyond

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It PredictionsIn October Daryl Plummer of Gartner delivered their 10 strategic predictions for the next 3 – 5 years. These guys are worth listening to, they have a 78% accuracy rate!

A summary of the predictions can be found in an article by Neal Weinberg (find it here) and is well worth the short amount of time it will take to read. Some of them could be major game-changers for all business, and as business leaders, you need to be aware of what is looming. How prepared are you for these? A very small sample of the predictions follow, if you want to know them all, you will have to follow the link to the full article.

  1. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in virtual reality
  2. By 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen
  3. By 2020, algorithms will alter behaviour of billions of global workers in a positive way
  4. By 2022, the Internet of Things will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year
  5. By 2020, 40% of employees can cut healthcare costs by wearing a fitness tracker.

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

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Micromanaging Could be Killing Your Employees

Sunday, November 6, 2016

MicromanagingVery recent research has looked at how having less freedom in a high-stress job can increase the likelihood of employee death by over 15%. Chad Brooks provides a great summary of  this research in a blog (read it here).

Interestingly, where employees have control within their high-demand jobs, there is a 34% decrease in the likelihood of death as compared to a low demand job. Therefore, in stressful jobs employees need control over what they do and when. This can be energising to employees when they feel they have more freedom.

The study also found that in low control jobs employees are often heavier – frequently the result of using coping mechanisms like eating or smoking to cope.

The lesson from this is that organisations should focus more on giving employees more say in how their work gets done. Are you a micromanager? Or do you trust 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.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Accounting is Dead! Long Live Accounting!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Accounting TrendsAccounting has been around for thousands of years, albeit in differing guises. As the society around it has changed, so has accounting. We no longer record information on clay tablets via hieroglyphics, and have even recognised that calculators are more useful than an abacus. But that doesn’t mean accounting should not keep on changing.

In a recent article by Rob Nixon (read it here) he points out three trends happening right now in accounting that will change the way accounting functions. While Nixon expands on these points in his article, in summary they are:

  1. Cloud computing – 24/7 access to real time data. Accountants can move from number-cruncher to information analyst
  2. Providing solutions – sending information to clients and stakeholders via newsletters, videos etc to keep them connected and informed.
  3. Data analytics – big data means loads of information that can supplement the traditional income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. The opportunity now exists for deeper analysis of trends and risks.

Accounting is changing, has changed, and we need to adapt to ensure we can meet the opportunities and challenges of this brave new world.

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

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Multitasking Doesn’t Work!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Multitasking 4I have met a lot of people in life who have been very proud and vocal about their ability to multitask, notwithstanding I am a male and supposedly have diminished multitasking abilities. However, a recent article from Andrew Medal in the Entrepreneur blog (find it here) suggests multitasking is not as good as we’ve been led to believe.

The article contends that switching from task to task is very ineffective as it takes our brains some time to adjust to the new flow of thoughts, and rapidly changing disrupts these flows, and compromises the quality of our work. I wonder if this principle would equally apply to rapidly moving from one meeting to the next, with little time between to process or adjust?

Medal proposes a system to increase productivity, based on the method developed and implemented by Ivy Lee in 1918. The process involves six steps:

  1. Make a list of six important tasks for tomorrow at the end of each work day.
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. ?
  6. Complete all tasks on the list in the same manner and repeat the process for the next day.

What are steps 2 – 5? Well you will need to open the article and find out! However, I can attest that the process does work well, except for when a crisis occurs!

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.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

The Smart Office

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Smart OfficeSo what makes a smart office? Adam Uzialko in a recent Business News Daily blog (read it here) gives a quick overview of how technology is changing business. So what is the smart office? It is where technology makes the physical work environment intelligent and adaptable. The aim of the smart office is to unify operations under one system and empower that system with machine-learning technologies.

But what of the employees? Well the theory is to free them up to do real work, the type of work technology cannot do. See our previous blog: ‘Machines Replacing Humans’ for more details on what type of work this might involve.

The smart office will most likely incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes smart lights and thermostats, virtual reality cameras and speakers and more. Machine learning will do things like direct enquiries to the most suitable person in the company based on that person’s skill sets, and interconnectivity and control will be dominated by automated systems all linked to apps able to run from hand held devices.

However, as with most office environments, no one size fits all, and technology needs to be tailored to each company’s specific needs. And budget. Smart office technology can be expensive so companies need to be confident there will be a payback.

Uzialko ends his blog by proposing that maybe the smartest office at all will be the no office work environment, which will enable employees to work from anywhere at any time. But a word of caution, our own research in this area has found that this can soon turn into employees being required to work everywhere all the time (see the blog Anytime Email and Work-life Balance ).

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

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

The Myth of Open Office Spaces

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Open OfficesThe idea of open office spaces comes and goes, and has recently been revived by a new group of employers looking to “break down barriers” and create “collaborative” and “team-oriented” work spaces. However, recent research questions this premise and instead suggests that open office spaces cause more problems.

Rachel Morrison and Keith Macky surveyed 1000 Australian employees about their experiences with open office plans. You can read about this research here. Contrary to the popular myth, their research found that there were increases in “employee social liabilities”, which include distractions, uncooperativeness, distrust and negative relationships. They also found that co-worker friendships and perceptions of supervisor support worsened.

The authors surmise that in open office environments, employees develop coping strategies like withdrawal which create a less friendly team environment. In addition, from the research, cooperation became less pleasant and information flow did not change in a shared office space.

Acknowledging that providing every employee with their own office is unlikely to happen, two strategies shared by the authors include:

  • Use panels, bookshelves or green walls of plants to block visual distractions
  • Allow the use of noise cancelling head phones to reduce noise distractions

Maybe it’s time to rethink your office layout and give back some privacy to your workers. If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long:

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Managing Up

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Manage Your BossThere is plenty of advice out there on how to lead and manage teams, and we at ABS have presented many of these. However, in a recent Business News Daily blog Nicole Fallen Taylor writes about a different perspective to managing – managing your boss, or managing up. You can read the full article here, but following is a brief summary of the main features.

Don’t be afraid to manage up – which essentially is learning what your boss’s work style is and adapting to it for achieving the best possible results for the team. Remember though that every boss is different, and one size does not fit all. Also remember that your boss has many more people to worry about than just you, so don’t be too pushy or all-consuming. The author provides a few tips on what might help in this process:

  1. Earn your boss’ trust
  • Build friendly rapport
  • Learn how they prefer to work
  • Leave your ego at the door and commit to your manager’s and company’s goals
  1. Give regular feedback (but don’t nag)
  • Don’t take up all their time – they have more to do than just listen to you
  • When invited – provide honest feedback
  • Be aware of your boss’ communication preferences
  • Don’t catch them off-guard!
  1. Show that you’re a team player
  • Don’t try and micromanage your boss
  • Look to add value to the team, for example:
    • Keep cool under pressure
    • Offer solutions, not just problems
    • Mentor junior staff

And most importantly, managing up is not sucking up! It is all about the success of the team, where everybody wins.

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.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Machines Replacing Humans

Friday, September 23, 2016

AutomationAre you ready to be replaced by a machine? It is much closer than you think. A July 2016 article in McKinsey Quarterly (Read it here) reports on a major investigation undertaken by McKinsey to determine how much of each occupation automation could take over right now. At the moment, 45% of activities people are paid to do now could be automated.

However, while technical feasibility is a big factor, there are other factors to also consider, including:

  • The cost of developing and deploying;
  • The current supply and cost of labour;
  • Benefits beyond labour substitution – fewer errors, better quality, etc.
  • Regulatory and social-acceptance issues (are we really ready for a robot to perform routine surgery on us?)

The reality is also that it is more technically feasible to automate predictable physical activities than unpredictable ones (e.g. assembly line welding versus raising outdoor animals). Interestingly, though, it is not manufacturing that has the highest potential for automation, instead, it is accommodation and food services, with its routine activities of preparing, cooking and serving food, clean-up, preparing beverages, and more.

Another area that can have high rates of automation is in the middle-skill jobs, that include data collection and processing. This is where one-third of workplace time is spent and has great potential across all jobs. But in the financial services sector, it takes up on average 43% of a worker’s time and is ripe for automating.

Activities with a low potential for automation are typically those that involve managing and directing people, or where expertise is applied to decision making, planning or creative work. Humans also still need to determine proper goals, interpret results and provide common sense checks for solution. And the sector with the lowest technical feasibility of automation is education, as the essence of teaching is deep expertise and complex interactions with other people.

The article concludes with a very interesting point – the majority of the benefits of automation may come not from reducing labour costs but from raising productivity through fewer errors, higher output, and improved quality, safety and speed.

Are you ready for the future? If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

How To Do Sick days

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sick daysRecently I felt a bit out of sorts, but was proud that I was able to “soldier on” and still turn up to work and get a few things done. But I was challenged about the real virtue of doing that, and found an article in ‘The Muse’ by Richard Moy (read it here) that gives some tips on how to handle being sick.

Moy makes the point that we all feel like we need to get to work in order to keep on top of things, but challenges this. In the article he proposes three things most of us are not doing right, and offers some tips on how to get it right.

The article is not particularly long, so I’m not going to summarise it all, however the main issues Moy addresses are:

  1. You’re treating your sick days as an all or nothing proposition

What to do instead of going into work sick

  1. You’re trying too hard to get out of the house

What to do instead of going out

  1. You’re working too hard

What to do instead of taking meetings from bed

Presenteeism is a real issue in workplaces now, whereby employees come to work sick, but are basically ineffectual for as long as it takes them to get better. Whereas if they were to stay home, they are more likely to get well quicker, and you actually gain in productivity more than if they come to work sick. Not to mention the risk of spreading their disease to other employees causing them to get sick as well.

So let’s make a pact to take the time to actually take our sick days, and get better sooner. If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168