Humble Leadership – Book Review

October 19, 2018 by Avondale Business School

What does a very successful US Nuclear Submarine Commander, a Spinal Surgeon, a Silicon Valley Start-up, and a major hospital all have in common, apart from their success? In these particular examples it is Humble Leadership, as described by Edgar and Peter Schein in their just released (2018) book ‘Humble Leadership – the power of relationships, openness and trust’, published by Berrett-Koehler.

The authors view Humble Leadership as requiring a certain kind of mindset, certain attitudes toward working with others, and skills in working with groups Their purpose in writing this book is to move reader to think as much, or more, about the process of building relationships at work as they do about the content of the work itself (p. 130).

I found this book appealed to me because of two main aspects. Firstly it dealt with the “soft skills” of leadership that are rarely written about in such a practical way, and secondly, it provided a wealth of examples that made it so much easier to contextualize the concept into many different settings. The chapter that provided some “how-to’s” and resource links was pretty handy also.

A key tenet of the book is to encourage leaders to move from Level 1 leadership (traditional transactional approaches) to Level 2 leadership (personal relationship based), and potentially in some rare cases to Level 3 leadership (emotionally intimate total mutual commitment).

This book was easy to read (I read it over a few evenings) and very practical. It is current and the concepts easy to contextualize. Do yourself a favor…

Warrick Long, Lecturer, Avondale Business School

Trust Me, It’s Important

October 19, 2018 by Avondale Business School

Trust is an undervalued resource in organisations. Most organisations take it for granted, and don’t have an intentional program to develop and nurture it. However, the business advantages of fostering a culture of trust are immense. In a recent article in Governance Directions (read it here), authors Vinay Goswami and Erick Fibich note the following about how trust enhances what employees do:

  • They put their best foot forward
  • They work efficiently together
  • Work towards a common goal
  • Think outside the box
  • Support each other’s back
  • Communicate with transparency, openness and honesty

Conversely, when trust is absent, employees will jockey for positions, hold back information and play it safe. They also tend to become more withdraw and disengaged, with confidence among the team eroding, as does commitment to the organisation.

Essentially, as the authors note, trust builds the bridge between the business need for results, and the human need for connection.

Interestingly, the article makes the strong point that “rebuilding trust takes far more effort, time and resources than it does to initially build and maintain it in the first place.” Which begs the question, why don’t organisations invest more into building a culture of trust?

The authors propose four area in which to build and maintain trust, and the short time it takes to read further about these is time well spent, but in short point form, these are:

  1. Understand the need to build trust with the team
  2. Understand the theories of trust and apply what is right for the environment
  3. Use a framework to structure you approaches to maintain trust
  4. Deploy feedback mechanisms to repair/sustain trust

Taken for granted, trust in your organisation can soon disappear, leaving a disgruntled, disengaged and uncommitted workforce. However, investing time and resources in building and maintaining trust can see your organisation succeed. And the Avondale Business School is here to help you with your success. Simply contact Warrick Long at to find out how.

ABS Students on the Road

October 18, 2018 by Avondale Business School

It was an early start, we all arrived at 6.30am outside the Avondale Business School ready to board the bus for the excursion. Our first destination was the Qantas Jet Security Base at Mascot Airport in Sydney.

We arrived at the Jet Security Base by 9am just in time for our booked tour. We were greeted by Anton who took us around the Qantas security base. He explained his work career journey as to how he got to the position that he was doing now which is to train cabin crew on safety procedures of each different size Qantas plane. He initially started with Qantas as a cabin crew member and did that for a few years, and he mentioned that Qantas is great with offering and promoting positions internally to Qantas staff as long as you have the skills to do the job, you have a good chance of being successful in changing roles within the company.

Anton showed us around the facility, the training rooms, the room where all the safety equipment that you have on a plane such as fire extinguishers and life jackets and the cabin crew are trained on all the equipment and they have to learn and know every detail of each piece of equipment such as the angle that the each extinguisher has to be held for it to work and what type of liquid or fire the extinguisher can be used for and for how long the extinguisher will spray out its safety foam. Anton shared that the cabin crew are trained safety specialists and that this is a very important part of their job. The cabin crew and pilots are tested 4 times a year on all their safety knowledge and this also applies to the simulator machines. The flight crew and pilots are given a scenario and then have to go through and explain and act out the situation as if it was really happening. Anton took us on one of the training planes and had us experience the following scenario, “the plane is having a problem landing and will crash into the water, so brace yourselves”, he yelled out to get into the brace position and get out our life jackets and put them on. (Fake) Smoke filled the cabin and the lights were turned off, the scenario felt very real with the smoke and Anton yelling out instructions, he yelled out for us to get to the exit door and get out of the plane. It was very eye opening experience and I know that I will be much more alert and aware next time I go on a plane again.

Our next excursion for the day was to the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) in Sydney. We were shown into a board room and were privileged to listen to presentations of what training and knowledge you can gain from being a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

They explained that their members range from people that are recently in a new job position that will require them to be on a company board, to people that have been on a board for more than 10 years, so they all have different training requirements. AICD offers complimentary lounges where you can work and conduct meetings in all states of Australia. You can come into one of the offices and arrange an appointment to discuss your training needs and they will assign someone from AICD to keep in contact with you to see how you are going and if you require any assistance. They offer training in many different forms, such as in person training workshops and seminars, software tools that you can use to help you in your position as a board member. E-learning courses, and three to five days intensive courses which range from beginners to advanced for people that want to gain more experience in being a board member, company secretary or company director. We were one of the first student university groups that had the opportunity to tour the office and be given this presentation and the presenter mentioned that they had not received a tour request from students at a higher education institution. They also do not have a student membership fee option, which the students did enquire about. AICD said that a student membership fee and offering a tour to students from colleges and universities is something that they will look into and consider. The tour and presentation has given our students something to think about and hopefully helped to assist them in their career goals and further training options once they graduate from Avondale College.

Organisational Change? – Don’t Forget The Employees

October 10, 2018 by Avondale Business School

While many people thrive on change, there are also plenty of people (most?) who don’t relish the idea of another organisational restructure or “adjustment”. Change fatigue is a very real issue in workplaces. But some change is very necessary for the ongoing success of the business and so the issue becomes how to implement change is the most effective and successful way.

There are a number of resources available on change management (I personally like John Kotter’s approach in his book Leading Change). However, I recently came across a really succinct article on how to ensure employees are engaged and on board with organisational change. If comes from Morgan Galbraith and can be found by clicking here. Galbraith notes that almost one0thrid of employees don’t understand why changes are occurring in their workplace, which is a leading factor why command change transformations fail.

To help with the employee understanding, Galbraith notes four key factors leaders can take on board:

  1. Inspire people by presenting a compelling vision for the future.

Ensure you give a clear view of the path ahead, answering the questions of why the change is important, and how it will positively affect the organisation in the long-term.

  1. Keep employees informed by providing regular communication.

A hallmark of successful transformations is continual communication which is clear and consistent, and answers the question ‘what’s in it for me’ for employees. It is also important to communicate even when you don’t have all the answers.

  1. Empower leaders and managers to lead through change.

Successful transformations also happen because senior leaders model the behaviour changes. But for them to do so, you need to help them understand the fundamentals of change, including how to be an effective leader during that time.

  1. Find creative ways to involve employees in the change.

This is scary, but you need to solicit feedback and engage people in the process, which helps build ownership and makes them more likely to support the change.

The whole article is well worth reading (it only takes 6 minutes), and as noted by Galbraith, companies who are highly effective at change management are three and a half times more likely to significantly outperform industry peers. So remember to inspire, inform, empower and engage. Avondale Business School (ABS) can help you with your change management processes, to find out how, contact Warrick Long via



Employees Need More Respect

October 4, 2018 by Avondale Business School

Employees worldwide rank respect as the most important leadership behaviour, yet employees are reporting more disrespectful and uncivil behaviour each year – these are the comments from Kristie Rogers, in her article ‘Do Your Employees Feel Respected’ in HBR Online (read it here). It appears that leaders are failing to understand what it is that employees need to feel respected, and their attempts to address it are falling way short.

The article examines two forms of workplace respect, Owed Respect and Earned Respect, which is very informative and contains great advice. But the real value in this article are the tips for closing the gap between toxic and respectful workplaces. The full article is deserving of being read, but the summary of those seven tips are:

  1. Establish a baseline of owed respect – every employee should feel that their dignity is recognised and respected.
  2. Know how to convey respect in your particular workplace – use active listening, and value diverse backgrounds and ideas. Other examples include leaders delegating tasks, remaining open to advice, and giving employees freedom to pursue creative ideas.
  3. Recognize that that respect has ripple effects – leadership behaviours are often mimicked throughout an organisation, and just as incivility can spiral, so too can respect.
  4. Customize the amount of earned respect you convey – praise from an immediate manager, attention from a leader, and opportunities to head a project can have more impact on motivation then do monetary incentives.
  5. Think of respect as infinite – it can be given to one employee without shortchanging others.
  6. See respect as a time saver, not a time water – neglecting respect can be far more costly than attending to it.
  7. Know when efforts to convey respect can backfire – employees see honestly as one of the most valuable expressions of respect, insincere compliments, however well-intentioned, are likely to be counterproductive.

Respect is something that the new generation of workers are particular about, so leaders that understand that and tune in will be the ones who lead most successfully. And Avondale Business School can help you be a successful leader, simply contact Warrick Long on 02 49802168 or

ABS Continues to forge strong Partnerships with Local Schools

September 27, 2018 by Avondale Business School

Central Coast Adventist School (CCAS) held their Year 12 Graduation on the 27th September, with over 60 students graduating. School Principal Tony Kent welcomed the graduating class of 2018 with a Prayer filled with best wishes for the future that lies ahead of them. Head of High School Peter Wrankmore, presented individual awards of merit to students that excelled in their results for individual subjects.

Avondale Business School as part of Avondale College of Higher Education sponsored the “Business Excellence Award”. This award is for the student that demonstrated the most entrepreneurship, business mindedness and potential this year in the area of Business. The award was presented by Associate Professor Lisa Barnes, and for 2018, the award went to Tyler Wade. Tyler was given an engraved trophy, certificate of merit and cash of $50.00. Well done Tyler, ABS wishes you all the best for your Business future!

Do More But Do It Quicker

September 26, 2018 by Avondale Business School

If you have been working for any length of time, you will agree with me that we are being required to do more in less time. And leaders and managers are particularly susceptible to this due to the huge amount of additional information they have access to and the more compressed time frames to make decisions. Consequently leaders are looking for ways to do more with less.

A recent article by Scott Stein for the Governance Institute of Australia entitled ‘How Leaders Can Learn to do More with Less’  (read it here) tackles this issue head on and provides some excellent strategies to achieve this. I am not going to go into the details, but the 5 strategies are:

  1. Limit distractions that steal your attention
  2. Leverage time by hacking your approach to email
  3. Identify the activities you shouldn’t be doing
  4. Boost impact by delegating to your people
  5. Use the right type of team meeting to enable people to do more.

I would encourage you to read the full article to see how these 5 strategies can actually help you achieve more. And the Avondale Business School is here to help you also. Just contact Warrick Long on 02 4980 2168 or to find out how we can add value to your business.

ABS Students Represented at UN University Scholars Leadership Symposium

September 25, 2018 by Avondale Business School

In mid-June this year, a Humanitarian Affairs representative, Andreena Kardamis contacted Avondale College of Higher Education with the intention of locating students who believe in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Kardamis found Avondale while conducting online research into universities that had a strong emphasis on and involvement with acts of service. 13 of Avondale’s student leaders from a variety of disciplines were then invited to attend the 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. It ran from the 1st of August till the 6th of August 2018, and comprised of workshops, keynote influential speakers, motivational sessions and a service day. In total, 1057 delegates were invited across 87 countries. Our Avondale cohort shared accommodation with all of the other delegates which gave us the perfect opportunity to network and hear their stories. Some of the representatives were refugees, some came from extreme poverty and some had lost their families because of corruption.

Listening to presentations formed some of the main highlights of the whole experience. We had the honour of hearing Geraldine Cox, the founder of Sunrise Cambodia, speak on her charity and vision. Originally established as an orphanage in the Cambodian province of Kandal, Sunrise Cambodia now extends its services to sustainable development and family support in several provinces of the country. David Begbie, Director of Crossroads’ Global X-perience and senior spokesman for Crossroads Foundation, gave a presentation that particularly resonated with me. His work with Crossroads Foundation has been instrumental in sourcing and distributing resources for those affected by natural disasters, and it is this practical and missional approach to service that I really appreciated. Kishore Mahbubani, a recognised expert in Asian and world affairs, Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and prolific author also gave further insight into the SDG’s and their role in the wider world.

There were many more inspiring presentations from a range of perspectives and altruistic goals, however they all served to reveal the commonalities that the attendees shared: drive, passion, people and purpose. Given the opportunity to surround ourselves with delegates from across the globe also lead us to the question, why did we come? This was a question often put forward to the delegates, which made us really evaluate our personal motivations for being there. We came from completely different lifestyles, cultures, ethnicities and were all wanting the same answers: zero poverty, zero hunger, good health, quality education, and world peace.

The acts of service that the delegates and the informants shared with us throughout the week were a clear representation of how God wants us to impact and change this world. It is not a common opportunity to be in the same room with so many leaders, and it was a heart-warming experience knowing that as humans, whether Christian or not, we can see God working through people’s hearts all over the world.

By Yannick Coute, ABS Student

Graduate Returns to Share with Current ABS Students

September 21, 2018 by Avondale Business School

Students in the Strategic Responses in Business unit were treated to a firsthand account of what business intelligence really means. Mr Todd Saunders (graduate of Avondale Business School), and now Sanitarium General Manager for Australia and New Zealand spent time with the class not only explaining business intelligence, but answering their questions regarding all aspects of the business.

The effective collection, analysis and use of business intelligence is a major differentiator between companies that succeed and fail, and Todd was able to show students all these components from the perspective of Sanitarium. Students had their eyes opened as to how much data is collected, and how it is used, noting that even weather data plays an important role in forecasting both raw material prices and sales projections.

The Strategic Responses class involves students engaging in a computer simulation where in groups they run companies in the computer sensor industry, competing over 8 years (one per week for 8 weeks) against each other. They must make decisions for each round that involve production estimates, marketing decisions, financing options, HR components (including negotiating a new EA with their staff) and R&D strategies. The unit culminates in the last class of semester when students must run and annual general meeting facing their shareholders (invited College Staff) based on their company results.

The time spent with Todd was valuable for the students in not only assisting them in their class, but also bridging the gap between theory and real-world experience. ABS appreciates the time Todd dedicates to assisting the development of ABS students.


External Advisory Chair Congratulates ABS

September 18, 2018 by Avondale Business School

Last week the ABS held its bi-annual external advisory committee meeting, chaired by Associate Professor Jonathan Tyler, Deputy Head, Accounting Discipline Group at the University of Technology Sydney. The external advisory committee, whose main role is to provide support and advice to ABS regarding the programs and offerings. It is made up of all staff at ABS, the Avondale College Vice President (Academic and Research) and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Business and Science, as well as external academic and external industry practitioner representatives.

David Wilson (ABS), Associate Professor Lisa Barnes (ABS), Associate Professor Jonathan Tyler (UTS), Warrick Long (ABS)

The ABS presented its annual report, with highlights involving the growing number of current research projects, staff involvement at Avondale College and external engagement activities of staff, as well as increasing student engagement in internships and excursions. Staff were congratulated on the two PhD submissions, “Best Paper” awards at recent conferences, and their research plans going forward. Jonathan Tyler said, “He is pleased to see the increase in attendance by ABS lecturers at Conferences” as this allows opportunities to network and advertise our college. He strongly encouraged the lecturers to continue to attend conferences and to align ourselves with “Recognised Researchers” which could potentially lead to additional research grants. He lauded positively about ABS staff being members with various committees at the College and faculty level having exposure and voice. The ABS team showed appreciation for the review, advice and positive assurance from the external advisory.