Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Social Media Trends for 2017

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Social MediaLike it or not, social media has become a mainstay for communication, both at a personal and business level. And in 2017 there are some trends that will change the game, according to Tom Ward writing in a recent Forbes online blog (read it here). Ward cites the fact that there are now over 2.5 billion social media users worldwide, and this is growing 9% per year. Your customers/clients, employees, and other stakeholders ARE using social media, and you do need to have an effective social media strategy to engage with them.

The article is an easy read, and won’t take long, but it covers 5 trends Ward predicts will impact business in 2017. You will need to read the article for the details, but in point form these trends are:

  1. Live Video
  2. Messaging Apps
  3. Social Commerce
  4. Virtual Reality
  5. Social Channels Will Continue to Evolve

As Ward notes, “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms have become such a part of our life, it’s hard to imagine how we lived without them”. Does your business have a strategy that will incorporate these trends? Or will your business be left behind?

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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Don’t Let the Facts Get in the Way

Sunday, February 28, 2016

justthefactsWe have all been in the situation I am sure where we are in a “robust” discussion with someone and they just will not budge from their position, despite the fact we are putting indisputable evidence and facts before them. Our brilliant argument backfires. Frustrating to say the least.

Typically this has been explained by psychologists as the other person, in hearing your argument, recalling their own defensive arguments and “digging in” for the battle. It results in a fruitless attempt to reason and does not resolve the situation. If we are honest, we have probably been guilty of doing this ourselves. But there is another possible explanation for such belligerence.

Recent research by Gregory Trevors and other published early in 2016 (read the full article here) studied the responses of 120 people to arguments that challenged their erroneous position with facts. They found people did not “dig in” because they were convinced their argument was right, but because the contrary argument threatened their sense of identity and consequently triggered negative emotions that impaired their ability to understand and digest the new information.

For many of us our beliefs define who we are, and to have those beliefs challenged, even with indisputable facts and evidence, is to challenge who we see ourselves as – our very identity. Consequently our instinctive reaction is to defend who we are, and in that process, we are unable to digest this new information.

While more research is needed in this area, the current research can give us some clues as to how we might handle these sorts of discussions (arguments) better by giving us pause to reflect on how we might frame our discussions/arguments. We need to avoid putting them into the context of this identity concept by de-personalising the points we are making. Also, it may be better to handle such discussions in two or more parts by initially exposing the other person to this new information and giving them time to process and assimilate it before requiring them to act on it.

Think about your role and situations where you may be required to challenge someone with new facts, for example in the context of introducing change into the workplace. How can you approach this differently, now knowing that you may well be threatening people’s very identity?

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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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:


  • Keep calm
  • Proof read
  • Stay concise


  • 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.


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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. 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.


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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


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It’s Time to Kill the Performance Review

Monday, June 8, 2015

Performance ReviewsMelissa Dahl looks at the research into performance reviews in a recent Science of Us blog (read it here) and finds that there is little to support its practice. It appears the annual performance review is typically viewed as just another thing on the list of compliance items for managers and employees, with little actual benefit.

Dahl reports that the research has discovered the performance review is treated as an administrative ritual to be performed rather than valued. Usually it is a demotivating process rather than motivating employees to do better. The most recent research notes that the annual performance review ignores the social context of the workplace. That is, it is a formalized process that is both artificial and unnatural. Supervisors are required to shift from being inspiring and motivators to evaluators.

And most surprisingly, the research indicates that even employees who view a negative review as an opportunity to grow and learn will most often end up feeling discouraged and unmotivated.

There is an alternative that has emerged from the research – a simple one at that. It is to discontinue the annual performance reviews and instead use informal feedback sessions to address issues as they arise. The research shows conclusively that where a conversation directly follows an issue occurring there is usually an actual improvement in performance.

So the message is clear – stop imposing artificial performance reviews on your employees and instead start having timely conversations with them. But only if you want to see employee performance improve.

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


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Successful Leaders Say These Things

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Getting to be in a position of influence is one thing, being a person of influence is quite another. Great leaders are those who understand that positional influence is very limited, but personal influence is much more long-lasting and widespread.


What is it great leaders do that sets them apart from mediocre leaders who depend on wielding their positional power? By and largely it is in the words they use. Peter Economy, a writer for Inc., has compiled a list of the 17 things successful leaders say every day that sees their employees becoming partners rather than adversaries, complete with the trust and loyalty that businesses need to function at high levels. You can read the full article here, but the 17 things? Here they are:

  1. What do you think?
  2. I trust you.
  3. I know you can do it.
  4. It’s not your fault.
  5. I’m proud of you.
  6. Please.
  7. Thank you.
  8. Great idea–let’s do it.
  9. I’ve always got time for you.
  10. I couldn’t have done it without you.
  11. No one is perfect.
  12. What can I do to help?
  13. I made a mistake.
  14. I need your help.
  15. Anything is possible.
  16. I’m sorry.
  17. I’ve got your back.

A challenge is to try using some of these over the next two weeks (and mean it!) and see what happens in your workplace.

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.
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Transformational Change

Monday, July 7, 2014

TL3As a father of two daughters I was more involved in Barbie parties and My Little Pony movies than the Transformers. But I understand the premise that in a very short space of time seemingly innocuous objects can turn themselves into something much more dramatic and action-oriented.

If only transformational leadership was that simple – being able to go overnight from a mild-mannered average leader to a world-changing mega-inspirational charismatic successful leader. Unfortunately it is not that quick and easy, but with a clear strategy and determination there is no reason why any leader cannot be a transformational leader.

One of our subscribers sent us a link to an excellent article on the MindTools website (Read it here>>) that gives some good tips on becoming a transformational leader. The article is a good read, and in summary, the four steps to follow are:

  1. Create an inspiring vision of the future;
  2. Motivate people to buy into and deliver the vision;
  3. Manage delivery of the vision;
  4. Build ever-stronger, trust-based relationships with your people.

While each of these steps encapsulates a number of components, it is very interesting to note that the key to transformational leadership essentially revolves around vision and relationships. So if developing, nurturing, and building both vision and relationships gets you well on your way to being a transformational leader, take a few moments to reflect on how well you are doing this.

When you mention vision to your employees, do their eyes light up with excitement, or does it generate yawns or looks of bewilderment? Is your vision motivating people or gathering dust on a shelf? Are you delivering on vision, or just doing what you’ve always done, but under a different name? Are you building relationships, or breaking them?

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.


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A Leadership Master Class

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Outside the box

If you had the opportunity to pick the brains of 8 of the smartest people in leadership today, would you do it? How much would you be prepared to pay?

Plenty of people took the opportunity recently to attend the ‘World Business Forum’ in Sydney, held May 28 – 29, 2014. They were treated to leading edge thinking and ideas that challenge the status quo and call leaders to think in different ways.

Thanks to one of the major sponsors, NAB, you are able to get the benefit of this forum through a synopsis of each presentation which captures the major points. These are a great read; quick, punchy and challenging.

The main presenters and their areas of interest are (click on the presenter to read more):

  • George Kohlreiser – Lessons in leadership from hostage negotiation
  • Randi Zuckerberg – Developments in technology
  • Ram Charan – Good ideas with no execution ends in no results
  • Gary Hamel – Change management
  • Kevin Roberts – Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) thinking
  • Andreas Weigend – How people are making purchasing and lifestyle decisions
  • Michael Porter – Opportunities if we are willing to recalibrate thinking and strategy
  • Lyn Heward – The 7 doors to enhance creativity, motivate high performance and foster innovation

While there is something for everyone in this mixed bag of leading thinkers, my personal favourite is Ram Charan’s 7 steps to excellent execution – the way to actually get things done.

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


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