Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

The CEOs Role in Leading Transformation

Sunday, December 18, 2016

TransformationPrevious ABS blogs have highlighted the processes involved in organisational transformations and change management. However, until recently, none of the research or articles looked in detail at the role the CEO of an organisation should play in this process.

The management consulting and research company McKinsey&Co have published just such an article based on their extensive research and experience in this area (read it here). While allowing for the vast differences in organisations and the particular uniqueness of each one, they have distilled four key functions that together are what leads to the CEO playing a successful role in a transformation. While providing just a summary, the entire article is worth the read. These roles are:

  1. Making the transformation meaningful
    • Adopting a personal approach
    • Openly engaging others
    • Spotlighting success
  2. Role-modelling desired mind-sets and behaviour
    • Transforming yourself
    • Taking symbolic action
  3. Building a strong and committed top team
    • Assessing and acting
    • Investing team time
  4. Relentlessly pursuing impact
    • Rolling up your sleeves
    • Holding leaders accountable

Committing to these actions more often than not sees the CEO play an important part in a successful transformation. Thinking about your role as a CEO, or your CEO, how many of these actions would you say are happening?

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:


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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:


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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


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12 Lessons You Learn or Regret Forever

Sunday, August 28, 2016

LifeIt is painful having to learn lessons the hard way. So we at ABS have found an article that will help take the pain out of life’s lessons. Writing for Inc. magazine, Travis Bradberry points out 12 lessons that as a leader of an organisation we need to learn sooner or later, and the sooner the better. You can read it here. We are not going to spoil the article for you, but as a teaser, following are some of the lessons Bradberry helpfully points out, and offers some advice with:

  • You’re living the life that you’ve created
  • Being busy does not equal being productive
  • Don’t say yes unless you really want to
  • Seek out small victories
  • Don’t seek perfection

Without even going into the details of them, those simple headings alone should change your life, so don’t neglect reading the full article.

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.


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The Four Building Blocks of Change

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Some people get really excited about change. I am a bit more cautious and tempered – maybe I’m just too lazy to be bothered with all the hard work that goes with it. However, change is really a constant in today’s environment, and while never easy, does need attention.


McKinsey & Company recently published an excellent article by Tessa Basford and Bill Schaninger (read it here) that identifies the four key factors that successful transformations were built upon. In summary form, these factors are:


 1. Fostering understanding and conviction

  • That is, congruence between beliefs and practices
  • People often wrongly assume everyone understands the “why” of the change
  • It’s important to develop a change story to be told

2. Reinforcing changes through formal mechanisms

  • Remembering that association and consequences shape behaviours
  • There is a need to align reward with desired behaviours
  • Collaboration and purpose are more valued by employees than compensation

3. Developing talent and skills

  • Old dogs can learn new tricks
  • Some people don’t realise that they need to learn new skills
  • But people who believe developing new skills won’t change a situation are more likely to be disengaged

4. Role-modelling

  • People mimic (consciously and unconsciously) individuals and groups who surround them
  • Key opinion leaders exert more influence than CEO’s

When (not if) your organisation undergoes change, just remember that successful transformations use these four building blocks. Are you ready for change?

The Avondale Business School can help you with change management in your organisation – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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Millennials: Burden, Blessing or Both

Monday, April 11, 2016

MillennialsSo the millennials are joining the workforce, and by 2025 (less than 10 years time) will comprise 75% of the workforce. They know they have options, and are more than prepared to exercise them. As employers, you need them more than they need you, so what are you going to do to attract and retain them, because they are more than prepared to not work than work for someone they don’t like.

In a recent article by Joanna Barsh, Lauren Brown and Kayvan Kian for McKinesy & Co (read it here) they report on the results from interviews with millennials to find out more about what it takes for employers to engage with them and provide an attractive workplace.

It is important to realise that as employers, you cannot assume “business as usual”, and you have to change to stay competitive, no matter what your industry. Here are the six tips the authors propose, coming from the millennials themselves – to find out more about each of these, follow the link above to the full article:

  1. Build bridges with data
  2. Put communications on steroids
  3. Develop a culture of mentorship
  4. Get creative about professional growth
  5. Make flexibility more than polite talk
  6. Shape mid-level managers into leaders

This week, try and incorporate just one of these ideas into your workforce culture, and get ready for the millennials.

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.


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6 Workplace Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Sunday, October 11, 2015

MythsJust a few days ago Forbes online published a blog with this title by David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom (read it here) that really challenges conventional wisdom about the workplace. They look at six common beliefs and then dig into the research to find out whether it is actually true of not. Here are the ones they quashed:

  1. 8-hour work days lead to productivity
    Wrong! Research indicates that the most productive workers do not work a full eight hours in a day, and take 17 minutes of break for every 52 minutes worked. They also point out that some places are now introducing 6-hour work days with no loss in productivity.
  2. Money is the best motivator
    Wrong again. The research shows it is actually feeling appreciated and having good relationships at work that employees value most and keeps them motivated.
  3. Jump right in, put your head down, and get it done.
    Again, wrong. Instead, research shows that tasks are best accomplished by pausing first, asking plenty of questions, and taking time to tweak the project.
  4. High achievers make great managers.
    Sorry, this is wrong too. Instead, the research has revealed that great managers are those people who actually take them time to understand their people and their talent.
  5. Remote employees are less engaged.
    Uh Oh. Wrong. The research shows that employees who moved to working remotely experienced a sustained productivity increase of 13%. Not inconsiderable.
  6. Do what you love, and you will never work again.
    No – this is wrong as well. On this issue, the research notes that it is asking the question at the start of a project, “What difference could I make that other people would love?” that makes all the difference.

As you process these rebuttals to traditional thinking, challenge yourself to implement one of these changes and see if it works for you and your organisation.

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


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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Multitasking 2Tim Hartford has written in the 3 September 2015 edition of FT magazine on the issue of multitasking (Read it here) with some very interesting results. Referencing current studies on the topic throughout, Hartford looks at the history and modern phenomena we know as multitasking. Are we destined to multitasking as a by-product of our modern era? It is fuelled with technology that allows us to text, talk, email and watch through the same device almost simultaneously. Some have argued that this is not really multitasking, but actually an addiction to the internet.

One of the studies cited notes that multitaksers tend to overrate their ability to multitask, and are in fact quite bad at it. The same study also notes that multitasking typically makes us more forgetful, and unable to apply information in different contexts.

Multitasking has also seen the rise of the Zergarnik Effect, which is when we leave things unfinished and then find ourselves unable to let go of them mentally. Our subconscious keeps reminding us that these things need attention. Doing a bit of this and a bit of that feeds this effect and keeps our brains from resting. The good news is that we do not actually need to complete these tasks, just to develop a plan of how and when and then write it down.

Interestingly people who are very good at multitasking can often also be the people who provide creative solutions to issues – it stimulates thinking creatively.

It is a very challenging article that ends with six ways to multitask with some success:

  1. Be mindful
  2. Write it down
  3. Tame your smartphone
  4. Focus in short sprints
  5. Procrastinate to win
  6. Cross-fertilize.

The Avondale Business School can help you ensure your time is highly productive – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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The Science of Organisational Transformation

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Organisational TransformationI have been rereading the classic text on change management, Leading Change, by John Kotter, and it seems that as a result, everywhere I look there are articles, blogs, books and references to change management. One report that has really captured my attention is a McKinsey and Company report on a survey they recently undertook on Organisational Transformation. It is published in a September 2015 report, and can be read here.

The obvious point is made that successful large scale organisational transformation doesn’t just happen – it requires a lot of hard work. The work of the McKinsey researchers resulted in the conclusion that investing in designing before making the changes makes a big difference to success. In fact, McKinsey reports that about 20% of organisational transformations are successful without any prior design work, whereas if all four of the following factors are present before and during the change process, the success rate rockets to 74%.

The four key activities are:

  1. Role modelling
  2. Fostering understanding and conviction
  3. Reinforcing changes through formal mechanisms
  4. Developing talent and skills

No one of these is more important than any other, what is important is that all four are implemented.

Other key results from the survey include:

  • Most change processes are on the basis of improving weaknesses rather than building on strengths. This was also noted as being much less effective than designing change to achieve both.
  • When key influencers (not just positional leaders) are involved in the design process there is a significant improvement in the chance of success.
  • The process of HOW the design process is undertaken is just as important as WHAT is designed.

The authors of the report summarise the survey results in this way:

Leaders would do well to spend time thinking through the design process to ensure that their transformations are focussed and that multiple stakeholders are involved.

It is worth taking notice if the probability of success for your organisational change can lift from 20% to 74%!

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