Archive for the ‘ABS News’ Category

The When, How and What of Meetings

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

When is the best time, how to meet, and what most frustrates professionals about meetings was the subject of a major research project by Doodle, the online scheduling company (Read it here), who surveyed over 6,500 professionals involved in over 19 million meetings. The report makes fascinating reading, and should be mandatory for all people responsible for organizing meetings.

Some key highlights include:

  1. When:
  • 70% of professionals prefer meetings between 8am and 12pm, with another 12% preferring them before 2pm.
  1. How:
  • 76% of professionals prefer face-to-face meetings.
  • Of the other formats:
    • 7% prefer conference calls
    • 5% prefer video calls,
  • 97% of professionals feel that meeting in person was an effective way of building relationships at work
  1. Frustrations:
  • Poorly organized meetings top the list, with professionals spending an average of three hours per week in meetings, two of which they consider unproductive! This creates confusion in the workplace and impacts their ability to actually do their work.
  • Bad meetings that involve people:
    • Taking phone calls during meetings
    • Interrupting each other
    • Not listening to the contributions of others
    • Arrive late or leaving early
    • Talking about nothing for long periods of time

The good news is that there are some characteristics identified of good meetings also, which included:

  • Setting clear objectives
  • Setting a clear agenda
  • Not having too many people in the room

Any organisation that can transform their meetings into effective processes will be a step ahead of their competitors. How does your organisation shape up? Maybe the Avondale Business School can help your organisation transition to more effective meeting practices. To find out how, contact Dr Warrick Long or 02 4980 2168.

Communicating Through The Noise

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

“Sorry?” That is the reflex response from anyone in my family when one of us makes even a vague comment about ears or hearing. The goal is to try and get the person to repeat what they said. Silly, I know, but we’ve been doing it for so long it is ingrained in our DNA!

Communication can be a very big issue in relationships, especially in workplaces where we usually don’t have the benefit of an intimate family history together. A recent article I came across deals with one aspect of communication, specifically when the conversation takes a turn for the worst. Alexandra Hayes takes a look at this and has brought together some tips on how to minimize the damage. The full article can be read here, and following is a very brief summary for you.

  1. Breathe – take a deep breath, and slow things down.
  2. Don’t be accusatory – no labeling other people as that can be offensive to them. And check your non-verbal’s (like eye rolling).
  3. Don’t be preachy – trying to always be right and winning down not help.
  4. Avoid Combative dialogue – avoid trying to one-up the other person
  5. Avoid 100% certainty – certainty is dangerous so avoid absolute terms like “always” and “never”, which put the other person onto the defensive.

At the end of the day the goal is to be able to communicate respectfully, allowing each person to truly hear what the other person has to say.

Avondale Business School is well placed to help your team develop its communication skills. To find out how, contact Warrick Long at

or 02 4980 2168.

ABS Reports on the AICD Summit 2019 “Rising to the Moment”

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

ABS Head Associate Professor Lisa Barnes attend the recent Australian Institute of Company Directors 4th Annual Governance conference in Sydney on the 4th  and 5th of March.

The opening panel was a debate on the future of corporate governance in Australia, with panel members Penny Bingham-Hall (non-executive Director), David Gonski (Chairman of ANZ) and Heather Ridout of Australian Super. Hot topic of course was the recent findings of the Royal commission into the banking sector, with Mr Gonski readily admitting they dropped the ball in terms of governance and now have a fairly rigorous amount of work to do to repair the culture from within the organisation particularly around the notion of remuneration, to gain back the trust of their stakeholders. The following was a quote that ended the session from David Gonski.

This was followed by a presentation by current CEO of Xero Steve Vamos, who has previously worked with the likes of Steve Jobs. His message was clear, we need to “humanise” our workforce and presented his talent mapping tool, where staff can be placed into one of 9 boxes, so that they can be targeted in terms of their potential in particular for succession planning. Steve asked the question are you “driving the right culture for your business”?

At the heart of it is “us” to think about how we want to achieve good culture. The humanisation of the workforce was the primary message here. He recommended to read the book “Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella current CEO of Microsoft – a mindset change may even happen! In his words “Culture” shapes why people do what they do and how they do it. Values and engagement are elements of culture. The CEO is the chief culture officer. Culture is a contact sport.

Next was Ann Sherry AO FAICD Chairman, Carnival Australia and Board member of NAB discussed outcomes from the royal commission, she stated that the board should have “listened more” they were focussed on short term numbers rather than long term outcomes, they basically lost their customer focus. Stepping back from a human level, they got caught up in the micro, forgetting the macro.

Finally to end the first day was a role playing “hypothetical” session attended by 5 high profile Company Directors entitled “Moral and Ethical Decision Making in the Boardroom – Exploring the complex dilemmas facing todays Board”. 5 different scenarios were posed from a cyberattack, media leak accusing the company of unethical sales practices and discussion on amoral practices companies unwillingly engage in. A great way for delegates to continue thinking about their own performance as a Board member is this constantly challenging state that us being on a Board.

The second day of the summit opened up with Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel’s address on the Imperative of Innovation. He predicts the advent of fully autonomous companies by the end of the decade – that is no humans running companies, just DirectorBots. Alan touched on his 6 year role as Chancellor at Monash University. In his opinion a good director should be competent, intelligent and well meaning. Directors when making decisions shouldn’t be asking can we do this, but should we do this.

The second session of the day was a panel “Unlocking the value of doing the right thing”. Panel members included Michael O’Loughlin (ex Sydney Swans player and GO Foundation co-founder), Jill Hannaford, Shelley Reys & Shirley Chowdhary. Run by Ali Moore, journalist with the ABC, the panel discussed diversity and inclusion and embedded work practices, particularly the representation of indigenous people and cultural awareness in corporates.

The next session involved the Not-For-Profit sector, entitled the “Evolution of the for-purpose sector”. The panel discussion centred on remuneration of directors on for-purpose boards. A representative of the ACNC, the Productivity Commission, and some directors of for-purpose directors, also discussed the changes of reduction in not-for-profit red tape, but increase in liability and fiduciary responsibilities for directors serving on for-purpose boards.

The next panel discussed Future Trends: Preparing for the next cycle of change.

This panel discussed technology governance, in the framework of ethics, regulation, agile governance approaches, & competitive advantage. In a live audience poll asking “which trend is your Board least prepared for?”, 34% felt least prepared for governance of emerging technologies, followed by 27% machine learning, 22% autonomous machines and finally 18% social trends.

The final session was a discussion on the findings of the Royal Commission into the Banking and Finance Sector. According to Honorary Neville Owen who presided over the HIH Royal Commission in 2003, his views have not changed with the recent outcomes from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, he wants to know, did anyone ask themselves “is this right”?. The summit finished with a panel made up of the AICD Chair, Justice Owen, Ali Moore (ABC) taking questions from the audience on any matters concerning director and governance.

The conference program can be accessed via the AICD website at

ABS Reaches Out Internationally

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

International students from India, Vietnam, South Africa, Thailand and Philippines enrolled for the Avondale Business School’s Bachelors of Business Degree (BBus) program. Third party provider UIT (Universal Institute of Technology) had its Orientation day on Thursday, Feb 21, 2019. Fourteen new and returning students formed the Sem 1, 2019 cohort at the Melbourne campus.

This off campus location at UIT has been operating for 4 years since 2015 in partnership to provide the Avondale Business Degree to students living in the Melbourne city area. This has resulted in total six students graduating with BBus degrees (3 Marketing, 2 Accounting and 1 Human Resources major area of study) in 2017 and 2018.

Although this approach is not new in the tertiary education sector Avondale Business School runs a model that has a unique.  A blended delivery style with tutors present in the offsite campus to enable the face-to-face contact with students. Lectures are recorded at the Avondale LM campus and are uploaded using the Learning Management System (Moodle) for students to learn and engage at the offsite.  Best wishes for the new students and for the partnership.


2019 Has Officially Begun

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wednesday (Feb 26) marked the officially beginning of Semester 1 for students on the Lake Macquarie campus, and it is nice to feel the energy of students returning to campus. Students have been experiencing Orientation events, which culminated with the Opening Convocation held in College Church the previous day. Discipline Heads offered words of wisdom to their student cohorts and prayers of blessing offered.

Associate Professor Barnes welcomed new and returning students to the Avondale Business School, outlining some of the benefits of studying with our Business program. Graduate employment, industry links, Internship programs and corporate based student excursions were provided as examples of how our program provides business students with both the theoretical knowledge and practical applications of real world experiences that can assist their learning.

Students were challenged in the choices they make, reminded by the words of Eleanor Roosevelt “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility”.

The staff here at ABS are very excited to be sharing these students’ learning journey, and hope the best is yet to come for 2019!

ABS Welcomes New 2019 Student Cohort!

Monday, February 25, 2019

At orientation week or “O”week, the ABS welcomed its new cohort of students, and they are from all parts of Australia. From Perth, Melbourne, the Sunshine and Cold Coast, and of course some local students, all were keen to start their Bachelor of Business journey. The students were introduced to the ABS staff and were shown the student lounge, computer rooms and board room. They also met staff from the Smart Business Hub, one of which was an ABS alumni who shared his experience of Avondale.

Students were then shown their options in terms of majors, double major and minors all available at ABS. The new wellness module of “Foundations of wellbeing” was discussed which focuses on the whole student experience and for particular interest to business students was the notion of understanding emotional intelligence.

Students where then shown how to forward emails to their phones, enrol in units, access their timetable and how a Moodle site operates. Of particular interest was the discussion on Academic Integrity and how to reference correctly. After some well earnt nourishment (morning tea), the students then got involved in some “get to know you” games. It was a breath of fresh air to have new students walking down the corridors again. On behalf of the ABS we wish them well on their journey and look forward to being a big part of that experience.

Avondale Business School Awarded the Faculty “Excellence” Award for 2018!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

During the 2019 Staff Professional Development week at Avondale College, the Avondale Business School (ABS) was awarded the Faculty of Education, Business and

ABS Team Members (L-R) Dr Warrick Long, Associate Professor Lisa Barnes (ABS Head), Dr Peter Williams, David Wilson. Absent is ABS Department Assistant Diane Smith

Science “Excellence Award” for 2018, for recognition by external parties of their research output, external engagement activities and teaching.

The staff at ABS have worked hard in 2018 to engage their students with businesses, which involved taking students on excursions to Sydney to visit Qantas, the marketing firm Professional Advantage, and visiting the Australian Institute of Company Directors. A little closer to home, another excursion visited Life Health Foods, which included a factory tour and samples of their products.

The ABS was also recognised for their internship program which had doubled in size from the previous year, and their current research projects, one of which included the new Smart Hub facility located within the business school to reduce commuter travel time for staff who normally travel to Sydney for work and helped create a better work/life balance for employees outside of Avondale.

ABS also had a busy year providing consulting services to a range of organisations in areas such as governance, professional development, board updates and leadership training. Quite apart from this ABS members are also actively engaged in numerous boards and committees with organisations, which helps to keep them current with industry.

The ABS was also recognised for the completion of 2 staff PhDs, and attendance and presentations at several conference and winning two “Best Paper” awards. A great achievement for the ABS.

Book Review: Option B

Sunday, January 13, 2019

How do you rebuild your life after the loss of you husband and the father of you two young children? Business leader Sheryl Sandberg has no choice but to adjust to her option B life.

Sandberg, with the insights of her co-author psychologist Adam Grant, lays out the raw emotion of the loss she experienced, and the pathway she chose to move forward, pursuing her option B life, now that her option A had been taken away from her forever.  Their book is Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (2017 and published by WH Allen)

Whilst Sandberg draws from your own deeply personal experience, the book introduces a range of other issues in life that can cause us to have to look at an option B for our life. It addresses subjects like the role of friends and family, our own self-confidence, getting back into the workplace, and helping kids through the journey as well.

Using solid well researched principles, the authors give the reader tools rather than a prescriptive approach to handle whatever life has thrown at you. This acknowledges that each situation is deeply personal and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.

The book is well written, organised well and flows easily. It was very easy to read and challenged me in not only thinking about how to handle the difficult moments in life, but how to help other people handle theirs. I highly recommend this book, which although is not a standard management text, certainly is very important in slef0leadersherip. I believe it is important that everyone read this book.

Reviewed by Dr Warrick Long, Lecturer at Avondale Business School

Book Review: Turn the Ship Around

Monday, January 7, 2019

Control, competence and Clarity is the three-pronged approach former submarine commander David Marquet used to transform the US Nuclear Submarine Santa Fe into the most successful submarine in the US Navy. He tells this story in his 2012 book “Turn the Ship Around: A Trues Story of Turning Followers into Leaders”, published by Portfolio Penguin.

Marquet believed that every follower can be a leader, and that through them becoming leaders in their own right, the organisation would thrive and grow. His approach proved right and transformed the Santa Fe into a highly efficient and effective network of people. Divesting control, developing competence and providing clarity are the key components of this strategy.

Detailing how he implemented this when he took over command of the Santa Fe, Marquet provides a look into the inner workings of life on a submarine. The book is a great read with examples and stories that make the practical application of his ideas easy to see and readily apply into other workplace contexts.

What I particularly appreciated was the stories of things that did not work, and how these “failings” were part of the learning process.

The book is well written, organized well and flows easily. This book is now one of my favorites and I would recommend it to any leader looking to take their leadership to the next level.

Reviewed by Dr Warrick Long, Lecturer at Avondale Business School

Book Review: Leadership in Action

Monday, January 7, 2019

Rising over 40 years from the rank private to two-star General in the Australian army, John Cantwell has spent a lifetime leading Australian men and women in challenging and sometimes deadly circumstances. Using practical examples of what did and didn’t work during this time, John Cantwell lays out his thoughts on leadership in an excellent book “Leadership in Action – Lessons for the real world from a real leader”, published in 2015 by Melbourne University Press.

Believing that anyone can learned the skills of leadership, Cantwell puts together a simple to read but highly effective book on the essential elements of leadership, within an Australian context.

The book is a great resource for new and aspiring leaders who want to find the key areas for their development, or to lay out a strategy for their leadership. It is also a very timely reminder to established leaders of what their leadership can be if they are prepared to continue learning.

The organisation of this book is very logical and straightforward. In fact, you don’t need to read cover to cover, but can pick out key areas that you may particularly want to focus on. The whole spectrum of leadership is covered, but in bite-sized chunks that are quick to read and easily transferable to the workplace. This is a very well written book that should appeal to all leaders, new and established and a highly recommended read.

Reviewed by Dr Warrick Long, Lecturer at Avondale Business School