Posts Tagged ‘Avondale College’

Being a Better Boss – Using Science to Help

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Good BossBrittney Helmrich wrote this past week in the online Business News Daily on how to be a better boss – but actually backed her points with science and solid research. Read it in full here.

These ideas may seem simple, almost too simplistic, but the research behind them is solid and has proven their worth. The five tips are listed below, but the full article and the supporting evidence is well worth the few minutes it will take to read.

  1. Be nice, not tough
  2. Allow employees to unplug (from the workplace)
  3. Encourage feedback and ideas
  4. Plan team-building activities
  5. Let go of bad apples

This week, why not accept the challenge to take one of these five, and explore it further, maybe even setting aside time to develop a plan as to how you can implement it to improve your skills as a “boss” or leader.

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

Use Your Calendar to Form Good Habits

Sunday, August 30, 2015

CalendarRecently Stephanie Lee blogged some really useful tips on using your calendar more effectively to form good habits. You can read the full article here. These habits can be personal (like exercising) or professional (read ABS InfoLink each fortnight). Whatever they are, Lee has some very handy tips to use your calendar to help.

The major parts of the article are as follows, and under each are specific tips and ideas to help make it work. It is worth the time to read the full article and take on board the finer details. Here are the major points of the article:

  • Break down the habit
  • Figure our time and frequency
  • Add the main action item to your calendar
  • Tips for when you ignore calendar alerts
  • Help to drive the habit home
  • Have patience

This last point was particularly interesting. In it, Lee refers to the common understanding that to make a new habit stick it takes 21 days. This is not actually the case, as shown in research undertaken in 2009 and referred to by Lee, which discovered it takes anywhere from 18 – 254 days to make a habit stick.

So what are you going to do today to begin a new habit?

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

Making Your Career Count

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Social ImpactIf you want to have a social impact, what is the best career for you? A new online tool has been launched by 80,000 hours, a Centre for Effective Altruism member whose name comes from the approximate number of hours that the average person will spend working in their lifetime. They have developed a career recommender, which utilizes a 6 question quiz in order to recommend the 4 best social impact careers individuals are suited to. Currently 25 careers are able to match those taking the quiz, and it is expected that this number will increase. “We expect the career recommender to remain a core part of our career guide in the future. It’s already useful, but it will become much more so over time as our research expands and we ‘review’ and rate a wider range of paths, especially those in which people can achieve great things without having to have far above average quantitative or language skills, change the questions to more precisely measure people’s key abilities [and] check that it gives good answers for any possible set of inputs,” Executive Director of the Centre for Effective Altruism, Rob Wiblin, said. Read more here.

– Peter Williams, HRM Lecturer, Avondale Business School

Email Etiquette 101

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Email EquitquetteWith a new semester starting, and a reminder that being a professional is a habit, not an occasion, it was timely to receive a blog this week by Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily Staff Writer, on the basics of good email etiquette. You can read it here.

It is a quick and easy read, but has a few very good reminders on what a good email does and does not have. In brief these are:

Do:

  • Keep calm
  • Proof read
  • Stay concise

Don’t:

  • Use buzzwords
  • Put anyone down
  • Punctuate poorly

And please use the CC and BCC functions properly.

The challenge for you is to run your emails through these filters for just one day and see how you go.

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

Nice Leadership

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Business BullyA friend recently shared a blog called ‘Motivation by Inspiration: Doreen Lorenzo on Empathetic Leadership; (read it here). I really appreciated this article because it addresses the misperception that a leader has to be cold and uncivil in their dealings.

In fact, Lorenzo goes further by stating that those high profile ‘bully-leaders’ that have celebrity status (like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk) are the exceptions, rather than the rule, and may actually have underachieved because of their bullying approaches.

Lorenzo refers to a number of recent research projects that have uncovered:

  • In hospitals 71% of staff tied incivility to medical errors, and 27% to patient deaths
  • Participants in one project were 30 – 60% worse in word puzzles and had 40 – 60% fewer ideas when subjected to incivility
  • Toxic workplaces are less productive

In looking further into this idea of incivility in the workplace, the research found that the contributing factors include:

  • 50% due to people being overloaded
  • 40% had no time to be nice
  • 25% say civil behaviour and being less leader-like
  • 40% felt being civil was an invitation to be taken advantage of

The fix for such behaviours is to encourage leadership that motivates by inspiration. This includes listening to employees, where otherwise you will be missing 50% of the information you need to make a good decision. Also, involve employees in shaping the vision of the organisation, not just being told to implement it.

The blog finishes with a great analogy of leadership and dance. Lorenzo reminds leaders that “…in the end it’s not the choreographer that takes the stage – it’s the dancers.”

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

Because That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Change ManagementWhen working in long established industries a common response to innovation and change is “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it!” There is usually some underlying framework that is well established and understood cannot be changed – until someone comes along and does just that.

McKinsey and Company, world leaders in consulting to organisations, have addressed this in an article in their most recent McKinsey Quarterly (Read the full article here) by Marc de Jong and Menno van Dijk. In this article, McKinsey challenge the perception that established industry players cannot adapt. In fact, they ask why it is that often major changes to established practices have to be introduced by outsiders. Instead, it is those already in the industry who should be best placed to develop new ways of doing things.

Listed below are the 5 major steps to challenging the status quo in your industry, and how to develop new business models. The article expands on these and is well worth the read.

  1. Outline the dominant business model in your industry.
  2. Dissect the most important long-held belief into its supporting notions.
  3. Turn an underlying belief on its head.
  4. Sanity-test your reframe.
  5. Translate the reframed belief into your industry’s new business model

Further, the team at McKinsey propose that there are four places to reframe, listing these as:

  • Innovating in customer relationships: From loyalty to empowerment
  • Innovating in activities: From efficient to intelligent
  • Innovating in resources: From ownership to access
  • Innovating in costs: From low cost to no cost

Think about your business and the industry you are in – what part of the framework could you challenge to create a new and better way of doing things?

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

Happy at Work – This is a Bad Thing?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Workplace HappinessI generally enjoy my work, and have always strived to make my working environment enjoyable for others as well. Of recent times a movement has grown that takes this to a whole new level. Work place happiness is a new phenomenon that introduces things like gym memberships for employees, free nutritional advice, “sleep pods” and much more. In fact, you may even be one of those employers that offer such things and are lauded for your employee wellbeing programs. Good for you.

Until recently I too applauded such efforts by employers, but reading an interview with William Davis, author of The Happiness Industry , has made me reconsider this. (Read the full Science of Us interview here). Essentially Davis asks the question we have seemed to let slip past – why? Why do companies like Google implement such programs? Is it because they really do care about their employees? Or is there something else behind it? This is a challenging question, and I doubt all of you will agree with where this is going, but it is like choosing the red pill in the movie The Matrix and “…seeing the truth of reality”! (For non-Matrix lovers click here for an explanation).

Davis posits that the real reason behind such programs is economic, that companies believe happy workers are more productive. Workers who are happy will feel better about working longer hours, and staying engaged with their work longer. The lines between work and non-work time are deliberately blurred so that employees will put their entire selves into their work (because work is now where their identity and happiness come from) and so the company nurtures the entire person to perpetuate this continual work engagement. Basically, for every employee wellness program there is a business case that identifies the economic benefits outweigh the costs of providing the program.

Most interestingly, Davis points out that these programs teach people to be happy at work, but do nothing to reform dysfunctional workplace habits (like continual workplace engagement and unhealthy work/life balance). The interviewer, David Marchese, describes it using the following metaphor:

“It’s like if someone was punching you in the face and their idea for how you might feel better about that situation is for you to learn to take a punch better, rather than they stop punching you in the face.”

That is, very few employers are introducing reforms to stop employees being plugged into work all the time.

However, as Davis notes, it is not that easy to develop a quantifiable ‘Happiness Index’ or similar. Happiness is intangible and individual. To reduce happiness to a set of external measurable indicators is to rob us of our own individual stories that describe why we are happy – as unique as we are, and unquantifiable.

Am I now against employee wellness programs? Not entirely, but I am a lot more cynical of them. I would rather see companies addressing the bigger picture of healthy work habits and allowing people their right to develop a life and identity distinct and separate from their place of work. I am not my work or my employer. I am much more than that.

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 Millennials

Monday, July 20, 2015

The MillennialsThey are no longer coming, they are here! The Millennials (ages 17 – 29) have arrived in the workforce and have money to spend. They are like no other generation before, coming from a period of significant prosperity with little adversity. And they know how to flex their collective muscle. As an organisation, if you want to attract Millennials to your business, as employees or consumers, then you need to know who they are and what they want.

A just released US study into Millennials has created a profile that is very revealing. You can find the full report here, but a summary of it follows. Remembering that this is based on US Millennials, who felt the GFC much stronger that those in Australia/New Zealand. However, there is much in common that is worth noting.

  1. Spenders – Millennials plan to live debt free and so are more frugal then their parents. They want to be self-employed and have access to multiple incomes.
  2. Students – They want to continue their education, and the factors most important to them in choosing education providers is cost, quality and reputation – in that order.
  3. Employees – Millennials will not hesitate to change jobs. The most important thing for them is work/life balance, but professional development opportunities are very important also.
  4. Consumers – They want to buy local, and of those brands, they will typically choose brands that support causes important to them. They will also engage with social media in assessing brands.
  5. Lifestyles – Millennials travel, value experience over things, and their top three social media platforms in order are Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

There is a snapshot of the Millennials. Ignore them at your peril. The challenge is how best to accommodate them in your business.

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

Cell Phone Distraction

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cell Phone DistractionTurning our cell phones onto silent in order to focus and not be distracted may just be a fallacy. A new study just released (read it here) has found that where we even hear or feel the buzz of our cell phone, our concentration breaks and we are more likely to make errors in what we are doing.

In the study, those participants whose phones stayed completely silent were able to complete the tasks with fewer errors than those whose phones made even the slightest noise; even a vibrating buzz was enough to distract to the point of errors being made. And for all those who have purchased the new Apple Watch – the small buzz you feel gently letting you know you have new messages or a phone call is all it takes to break your concentration and increase the possibility for you to make more errors.

It seems the only way to ensure your cell phone does not distract you, is to turn it completely off, or put is somewhere we you cannot see or hear it at all. As useful and convenient as they are, cell phones do pose a threat to our concentration levels and accuracy in our work. So when you really need to focus – turn off the cell phone.

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

Australia’s Young Innovators and Entrepreneurs

Monday, July 13, 2015

A national Not-For-Profit, Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) is calling for a national strategy to back Australia’s young innovators and entrepreneurs amidst what has been described as a “startling lack of attention” being given to the contribution of young Australians.

“To secure our economic and social prosperity, we need young Australians to be equipped and supported to drive new innovations and business opportunities for themselves and their communities. Australia is one of the only advanced economies without dedicated youth entrepreneurship initiatives supported by the government,” FYA CEO Jan Owen said.

New international data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows that:

  • While general entrepreneurial activity in Australia is similar to highly entrepreneurial countries such as the USA, activity among 18-24 year olds is approximately 40 per cent lower than their American peers
  • Only 8.7 per cent of 18-24 year old Australians are starting new businesses – much lower than the average national rate of 13.1 percent across all age groups

A survey of 65 current and former entrepreneurs engaged in FYA’s Young Social Pioneers (YSP) accelerator program found:

  • 75 per cent of respondents identified access to finance as a barrier to starting and growing their ventures
  • Almost half of respondents identified human resources and people management as a barrier
  • 40 per cent identified complex legal structures and regulations as a barrier
  • The majority are having to balance multiple jobs, study and volunteer commitments on top of leading their enterprises

It is acknowledged that investing in our young people and supporting them to become more entrepreneurial and innovative can have key results on workforce demographics, as well as helping to create solutions to national challenges. “Given the growing evidence that our country’s future economic strength will rely heavily on the contribution of entrepreneurship and enterprise, we need to create an environment that supports young Australians to succeed in social and business entrepreneurship,” Owen said. You can read more here

– Reported by Peter Williams, Lecturer, Avondale Business School