Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Avondale Business School collaborates with Business

Monday, May 15, 2017

Business and College collaboration is a wonderful way to enhance student learning. A recent excursion organised by the Avondale Business School to Sydney saw students visit 3 business to get insights into risk management, marketing, human resources and accounting.

The first business to open its doors was the Mascot Air Base facility. Manager of Airline safety lead them into the emergency procedures training facility which demonstrated the approach to risk management, in particular in relation to the evacuation of passengers in the event of an emergency. Students were privileged to be shown the various different aeroplane doors used to deploy passengers, rafts and survival kits. They were also shown the pool used for ocean training, in both the dark and in the rain.

Students were then put into the emergency procedure training simulator, where they experienced a crash landing in which the cabin lights turned off and the cabin filled with smoke. Students followed the orders of the cabin staff in relation to “evacuate, evacuate” and were led safely out of the simulator. Some students also were given life vests to deploy, and shown the various safety features such as the water activated light. Students had a better appreciation for flight crew and risk management procedures, after this confronting experience.

Students then headed out to Allianz stadium, for a tour of the facility. Students were taken down the ramp into the stadium, and the logistics of running the stadium that is shared by three different codes of sport (NRL, Rugby Union and Football) was explained. The marketing of the stadium signs, the sponsorship of the different codes and general keeping of the grounds were explained. Students asked questions such as who are the sponsors and what are the benefits of sponsorship from a marketing perspective.

Student then headed into the Sydney Roosters facility where they were led into the boardroom for an “Apprentice” style session (yes Mark Bouris is on the Board of the Sydney Roosters), by the Chief Financial Controller Mr Manuel Vlandis. Students were presented with financial information about the club and the challenges of running a rugby leagues club from a financial perspective. Questions were asked of the salary cap, costs of injured players, and how the model works in relation to revenue streams such as memberships, gate takings and sponsorship. The CFO was happy to answer the questions, and speak of his relationship with the Board and the new strategic plan they are currently developing.

Students then headed next door to the NSW Waratahs headquarters. There the player development manager Lachie McBain explained the complexities of running a rugby club, including issues such as preparing players for life after sport. He talked about the initiatives the club has in place for players such as further education and financial planning. He discussed the available careers in a rugby association, and his role in relation to his employer being RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association), formed to prepare players for life after sport. The club facilities were shown to the students, including the training areas, technology viewing areas and player lounge. Students asked questions in relation to membership numbers, revenue from Foxtel, sponsorship and player wages.

Feedback from the day included the following:

“It gave us insights into jobs where we do not see what happens behind the scenes”

“It was awesome to see business applied in a sporting context”

Avondale Business School will continue working with these businesses in the future, turning textbook learning into the reality of business. As the late Wallaby and Lawyer Ross Turnbull stated “There is nothing that I learnt in SPORT that doesn’t apply to BUSINESS, or LIFE” (2014). This excursion came from research done previously into the education of current sports people for their career after sport, a paper to be presented at the Global Conference on Education and Research (GLOCER 2017), which will be held during May 22-25, 2017 at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus in Sarasota, Florida.

 

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?

Great Performers Make Their Personal Lives a Priority

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Work life Balance 2The great dilemma for most people striving for success is to balance their personal lives with their careers, so that neither suffers. How difficult that can be is represented by numerous broken relationships and unrealised dreams. In a very recent post on the Harvard Business Review site, Stew Friedman explores this idea and proposes a way of making it work. You can read the full article here.

Friedman references examples of successful people who have achieved in the four areas of life – work, family, community and self, and talks of “four-way wins” that result in all of these areas being enriched through the span of one’s lifetime. While using these examples, Friedman does so in order to highlight that anyone can achieve this, and it is not the domain of the rich and successful only.

While the article elaborates on these examples, there are three principles that Friedman advocates as the starting point for this success, a quick summary of these are:

  1. Be Real – that is, act with authenticity to clarify what is most important to you.
  2. Be Whole – see how the most important things to you in work, family, community and self affect each other.
  3. Be Innovative – simply experiment with creative ways to get things done, that suit you and those around you.

No one said it was going to be easy, and it does require some degree of strength to work to align these actions between the various domains so they all line up with core values. But when you achieve this, there is less conflict and you can move forward. An interesting comment from Friedman is that the examples he gave of successful people, “…persisted because of their commitment to their families, communities and private selves, not in spite of them.”

The first step – what matters most to you?

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 Myth of Open Office Spaces

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Open OfficesThe idea of open office spaces comes and goes, and has recently been revived by a new group of employers looking to “break down barriers” and create “collaborative” and “team-oriented” work spaces. However, recent research questions this premise and instead suggests that open office spaces cause more problems.

Rachel Morrison and Keith Macky surveyed 1000 Australian employees about their experiences with open office plans. You can read about this research here. Contrary to the popular myth, their research found that there were increases in “employee social liabilities”, which include distractions, uncooperativeness, distrust and negative relationships. They also found that co-worker friendships and perceptions of supervisor support worsened.

The authors surmise that in open office environments, employees develop coping strategies like withdrawal which create a less friendly team environment. In addition, from the research, cooperation became less pleasant and information flow did not change in a shared office space.

Acknowledging that providing every employee with their own office is unlikely to happen, two strategies shared by the authors include:

  • Use panels, bookshelves or green walls of plants to block visual distractions
  • Allow the use of noise cancelling head phones to reduce noise distractions

Maybe it’s time to rethink your office layout and give back some privacy to your workers. If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long:

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Not-for-profit Workers Are Happier Workers

Sunday, July 31, 2016

NFP WorkersMoney doesn’t always buy happiness! Reviewing a recent article by Martin Binder in the Journal of Economic Psychology (find it here), Christian Jarrett writes in the BPS Research Digest (read it here) that Binder’s study looked at British people working in both commercial and not-for-profit organisations.

One of the surprising findings was that while there are many “perks” in working for a commercial organisation, people in the NFP sector were typically happier with their lives, more satisfied in their jobs, and believed more strongly they were making a difference.

Other findings included:

  • For-profit employees would need to earn an additional £27,000 to be as happy as an equivalent NFP employee
  • Women and higher education people are more likely to work in the NFP sector

Some may question whether by their very nature happier people are more likely to enter the NFP sector, however Binder does not believe this is the case.

This is a very interesting and challenging research project, and has implications for both sectors of the workforce. What else can for-profit entities do to increase the happiness of their workers, and how do NFP entities ensure they do not exploit the generosity of their happy workers?

Are you happy in your work?

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

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

If You Are Hiring on the Basis of Skills, You Are Doing it Wrong!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

HiringManagers typically don’t do enough to understand their own organisational culture, and that exposes the organisation to significant risk. Such is the assertion in a recent Australian Financial Review article (read it here) that looks into organisational culture.

In fact, the traditional definition of organisational culture as being ‘the way we do things around here’ is challenged in the article with an alternative suggestion being ‘how we understand what motivates individuals at the forefront of our business and why they are engaging in the conduct they are.’

One of the main points of the article is that organisations typically hire people based on their skill sets and capabilities, yet fire them because of their behaviours and cultural fit. Why not instead consider behaviours and cultural fit at the time of hiring? Hence the question as to whether Australian managers really know enough about their organisational culture and people to really know what people are needed to move the organisation forward.

Another issue raised in the article concerns what organisations say is their purpose and culture often being quite different to what customers and front-line employees are actually experiencing. This is identified as a significant risk for organisations whereby people are empowered to disregard management statements because they have proven to be meaningless.

Within your organisation, does your organisational culture at all levels match what you say it is? And even more importantly, are you hiring people who are congruent with that culture? 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 Secret to Being a Better Leader: See and Hear Others

Sunday, July 17, 2016

EmpathyConsistently people who have good empathy for others are proven to be better leaders, lead more effective teams, and gain power more readily. What does it mean to be empathetic? According to Dacher Keltner in a recent Science of Us article (Read it here), it is the understanding of what other people think and feel. Using Abraham Lincoln as an example, he quotes a journalist (Thurlow Weed) from the Albany Evening Journal who said of Lincoln: “He sees all who go there, hears all they have to say, talks freely with everybody, reads whatever is written to him.”

Keltner refers to numerous studies that show the positive results of being empathetic. It increases team effectiveness, one’s ability to negotiate better, widens the circle of friends, and enables one to gain power much more easily. In part this is because when people are heard and understood, they are more willing to be influenced by such people.

However, an interesting phenomenon occurs – Keltner refers to studies that show once empathetic people attain power, they often experience empathy deficits, whereby their empathy disengages. By losing this empathy, people in power then start disrespecting people and those once harmonious relationships are now jeopardised and tend to undo the previous good work.

The challenge for those that do rise to power is to be conscious of this and to purposively commit to maintaining the empathy that got them where they are. As Keltner points out from Lincoln, the secret is to see and hear others.

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

Business Kindness

Monday, July 4, 2016

Business KindnessAs an accountant I was trained that the only things that matter are those that can be measured. And now, much to my surprise, kindness is one of these things! Recent research into Australian organisations has resulted in the Workplaceinfo Business Kindness Index. You can read more about it here.

I was unaware that there is a growing movement of business kindness within Australia and globally. Some people might even ask why is it important? The report cites research from University of NSW that provides an answer: “Leadership compassion – ‘the ability of leaders to spend more time and effort developing and recognising their people, welcoming feedback, including criticism, and fostering cooperation among staff’ – is the single greatest influencer of productivity and profitability”. Being kind makes money!

Some of the key takeaway points of the report include:

  • Providing time to listen and interact with others makes a difference
  • Voice concern and support
  • Understand that process systems revolve around people, not people around processes and their parts
  • There is no change without leadership.

So creating a culture of kindness makes good business sense. Can you afford not to be kind? The Avondale Business School can help you with your organisational culture. To find out more, contact Warrick Long at:

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

The Secret to Delighting Customers: Putting Employees First

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy CustomerSo we all agree that happy customers not only return, but share their positive experience. Consequently, organisations looking to thrive are constantly looking for ways to keep customers happy.

Recent research by McKinsey&Company, through Dilip Bhattacharjee, Jesus Moreno and Francisco Ortega (Read it here), has found that a major contributor to keeping customers happy is to empower employees. While most companies understand the need for engaging customers, and have made it a strategic priority, many struggle with the implementation simply because it falls down at the front line. The reality is that the front line staff are the ones who engage with customers, and unless they are on board then all the best strategic intentions in the world are not going to do the job.

Bhattacharjee et al found that there were four key approaches to developing workers that were consistent amongst those companies that were successful in keeping customers happy and engaged. These are:

  1. Listen to employees and deal with the problems and needs as a priority
  2. Hire with attitude, not aptitude, in mind, and build on this attitudinal strength
  3. Instil frontline workers with purpose, not rules
  4. Tap into their creativity by assigning autonomy and responsibility

The article, well worth a read, illustrates these points through an actual case study of an organisation that has implemented these and found the associated success that goes with it. It concludes by pointing out just how much easier it is for customers to shift loyalties, which has increased the need for companies to ensure the frontline workers who interact with their customers are engaged and valued.

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop these customer service and employee management skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168

Core Values

Monday, June 20, 2016

PurposeWhat are your organisations’ core values? Not the ones that you say are values, but the ones that actually reflect who you really are?

In a recent article by Nicole Fallon Taylor (read it here) she highlights core values and the role they play in our organisations. Essentially they are the culture of the company, and irrespective of what we might say our organisation does, it is these core values that really matter.

It is certainly one thing to define your core values, and quite another to actually live them out. Saying one thing and doing another is a recipe for disaster in any organisation.

Do you live your values, or simply talk about what you want other people to think they are? The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop core values – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168