Archive for the ‘Employees’ Category

The Upside of Addressing the Downside of Technology

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Digital and mobile technologies give – but they also take away. Leaders of organisations need to play an active role in designing workplaces that encourage the adoption of healthy technology habits. Such is the thrust of a recent paper entitle ‘Positive Technology’ (read it here) by Deloitte.

This paper alerts leaders to the down-side of technology, warning about the potential perils of workplace digital technology. Some of the key dangers identified include:

  • Constant streams of messages resulting in a deteriorating of the individual’s ability to adequately process information;
  • The ease of creating virtual meetings making it too easy to include more people, and thus create opportunities for days of endless meetings; and
  • The unhealthy use of workplace technology which has seen increasing instances of poor sleep, anxiety and depression amoung employees; and

A very positive aspect of this report is the inclusion of suggestions for employers to address these issues. A few examples of these include:

  • Using available data of employee usage patterns to help individuals better understand and regulate their use of technology;
  • Incorporating ‘nudge’ strategies into workflow processes and applications to help break technology addiction;
  • Ensuring that the organisations leaders openly display healthy and balanced technology habits.

The article is an important contribution to current discussions on the role of technology in the workplace, where the speed of technology adoption and change is outpacing effective workplace practices and culture. By being reminded of this issue, we are now in a position to choose to care for our employees more than we care about technology.

You can contact the Avondale Business School if you would like more information on how we can help you with this, or any other business issue. ABS@avondale.edu.au

What Does CEO Stand For?

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

“Effective CEO’s should make as few decisions as possible!”

This statements, taken from their book ‘CEO School: Insights from 20 Global Business Leaders’, authors Stanislav Shekshnia, Kirill Krachenko and Elin Williams come to the conclusion that  CEOs should be Chief Enablement Officers. In a summary article in INSEAD Knowledge (click here to read), the authors share their finding that in today’s organisation the main role of the CEO is to enable other employees to perform, rather than being the ‘Commander-in-Chief’..

That is, employees today are typically highly skilled professionals who most often are “better than anybody else- including the CEO – at what they do”. Consequently such employees don’t need to be directed, they need to be enabled to fulfill their role.

The authors identify seven key practices that CEOs who enable their teams display. In a much abbreviated summary, these are:

  • Reducing uncertainty
  • Encourage collaboration and remove organisational barriers
  • Create productive autonomy for employees
  • Support but challenge employees
  • Make learning available to every employee
  • Stay in touch with the business and outside world
  • Role model enabling leadership

Leaders who focus on an enabling culture are able to focus more on the essential elements of their role and that of the company. They create productive environments where employees are supported, much like a professional athlete who is being coached to maximum success.

This article is highly recommended to leaders who want to maximize the success of the employees and their organisations. Avondale Business School is able to help you in your leadership through our Executive Development and leadership programs.

Workforce of the Future

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

‘Competition for the right talent is fierce. And ‘talent’ no longer means the same as ten years ago; many of the roles, skills and job titles of tomorrow are unknown to us today”.

Rather than being daunted by this finding by PWC in their report “Workforce of the Future”, PWC provide some excellent scenarios of what 2030 may look like, and what organisations should be planning in order to prepare. The reports is based on a survey of 10,000 business leaders globally. (click on the image to access the full report).

PWC identified five megatrends, or forces, that are shaping the future. These megatrends are:

  • Technological breakthroughs;
  • Demographic shifts, that is, the changing size, distribution and age profile of the world’s population;
  • Rapid urbanization, which involves the significant increase in the world’s population moving to live in cities;
  • Shifts in global economic power, between developed and developing countries;
  • Resource scarcity and climate change.

Rather than extrapolate these into one potential future, PWC consider four scenarios (or ‘worlds’) based on varying degrees of fluidity between collectivism and individualism, and business fragmentation and corporate integration. These scenarios recognise that there are multiple potential outcomes possible, and that organisations need to ensure they are thinking about a range of futures, rather than betting everything on just one possible alternative. The outcomes of this extrapolation into 2030 are:

  • The Yellow World, where humans come first
  • The Red World, where innovation rules
  • The Green World, where companies care
  • The Blue World, where corporate is king

The one common thread throughout each scenario is the rise of automation and the implications of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), which will result in a massive reclassification and rebalancing of work.

While providing helpful recommendations for individuals and society as a whole, the report also suggests a few things organisations can also do to position themselves for whatever future unfolds:

  • Recognise that linear predictions don’t cut it – there are multiple and emerging visions of the future;
  • Make decisions based on purpose and values;
  • Embrace technology as a force for good;
  • Focus on humans and the humane.

This is an excellent and informative report that is easy to read, yet challenging. Leaders looking into the future would do well to consider this report and how their organisation is preparing for an uncertain, but different, future. And Avondale Business School is excited to be able to partner with you to achieve success.

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.

 

Micromanaging Could be Killing Your Employees

Sunday, November 6, 2016

MicromanagingVery recent research has looked at how having less freedom in a high-stress job can increase the likelihood of employee death by over 15%. Chad Brooks provides a great summary of  this research in a blog (read it here).

Interestingly, where employees have control within their high-demand jobs, there is a 34% decrease in the likelihood of death as compared to a low demand job. Therefore, in stressful jobs employees need control over what they do and when. This can be energising to employees when they feel they have more freedom.

The study also found that in low control jobs employees are often heavier – frequently the result of using coping mechanisms like eating or smoking to cope.

The lesson from this is that organisations should focus more on giving employees more say in how their work gets done. Are you a micromanager? Or do you trust your employees?

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

Multitasking Doesn’t Work!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Multitasking 4I have met a lot of people in life who have been very proud and vocal about their ability to multitask, notwithstanding I am a male and supposedly have diminished multitasking abilities. However, a recent article from Andrew Medal in the Entrepreneur blog (find it here) suggests multitasking is not as good as we’ve been led to believe.

The article contends that switching from task to task is very ineffective as it takes our brains some time to adjust to the new flow of thoughts, and rapidly changing disrupts these flows, and compromises the quality of our work. I wonder if this principle would equally apply to rapidly moving from one meeting to the next, with little time between to process or adjust?

Medal proposes a system to increase productivity, based on the method developed and implemented by Ivy Lee in 1918. The process involves six steps:

  1. Make a list of six important tasks for tomorrow at the end of each work day.
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. ?
  6. Complete all tasks on the list in the same manner and repeat the process for the next day.

What are steps 2 – 5? Well you will need to open the article and find out! However, I can attest that the process does work well, except for when a crisis occurs!

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 Smart Office

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Smart OfficeSo what makes a smart office? Adam Uzialko in a recent Business News Daily blog (read it here) gives a quick overview of how technology is changing business. So what is the smart office? It is where technology makes the physical work environment intelligent and adaptable. The aim of the smart office is to unify operations under one system and empower that system with machine-learning technologies.

But what of the employees? Well the theory is to free them up to do real work, the type of work technology cannot do. See our previous blog: ‘Machines Replacing Humans’ for more details on what type of work this might involve.

The smart office will most likely incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes smart lights and thermostats, virtual reality cameras and speakers and more. Machine learning will do things like direct enquiries to the most suitable person in the company based on that person’s skill sets, and interconnectivity and control will be dominated by automated systems all linked to apps able to run from hand held devices.

However, as with most office environments, no one size fits all, and technology needs to be tailored to each company’s specific needs. And budget. Smart office technology can be expensive so companies need to be confident there will be a payback.

Uzialko ends his blog by proposing that maybe the smartest office at all will be the no office work environment, which will enable employees to work from anywhere at any time. But a word of caution, our own research in this area has found that this can soon turn into employees being required to work everywhere all the time (see the blog Anytime Email and Work-life Balance ).

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

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

Managing Up

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Manage Your BossThere is plenty of advice out there on how to lead and manage teams, and we at ABS have presented many of these. However, in a recent Business News Daily blog Nicole Fallen Taylor writes about a different perspective to managing – managing your boss, or managing up. You can read the full article here, but following is a brief summary of the main features.

Don’t be afraid to manage up – which essentially is learning what your boss’s work style is and adapting to it for achieving the best possible results for the team. Remember though that every boss is different, and one size does not fit all. Also remember that your boss has many more people to worry about than just you, so don’t be too pushy or all-consuming. The author provides a few tips on what might help in this process:

  1. Earn your boss’ trust
  • Build friendly rapport
  • Learn how they prefer to work
  • Leave your ego at the door and commit to your manager’s and company’s goals
  1. Give regular feedback (but don’t nag)
  • Don’t take up all their time – they have more to do than just listen to you
  • When invited – provide honest feedback
  • Be aware of your boss’ communication preferences
  • Don’t catch them off-guard!
  1. Show that you’re a team player
  • Don’t try and micromanage your boss
  • Look to add value to the team, for example:
    • Keep cool under pressure
    • Offer solutions, not just problems
    • Mentor junior staff

And most importantly, managing up is not sucking up! It is all about the success of the team, where everybody wins.

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

How To Do Sick days

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sick daysRecently I felt a bit out of sorts, but was proud that I was able to “soldier on” and still turn up to work and get a few things done. But I was challenged about the real virtue of doing that, and found an article in ‘The Muse’ by Richard Moy (read it here) that gives some tips on how to handle being sick.

Moy makes the point that we all feel like we need to get to work in order to keep on top of things, but challenges this. In the article he proposes three things most of us are not doing right, and offers some tips on how to get it right.

The article is not particularly long, so I’m not going to summarise it all, however the main issues Moy addresses are:

  1. You’re treating your sick days as an all or nothing proposition

What to do instead of going into work sick

  1. You’re trying too hard to get out of the house

What to do instead of going out

  1. You’re working too hard

What to do instead of taking meetings from bed

Presenteeism is a real issue in workplaces now, whereby employees come to work sick, but are basically ineffectual for as long as it takes them to get better. Whereas if they were to stay home, they are more likely to get well quicker, and you actually gain in productivity more than if they come to work sick. Not to mention the risk of spreading their disease to other employees causing them to get sick as well.

So let’s make a pact to take the time to actually take our sick days, and get better sooner. If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168