Archive for the ‘Governance’ 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.


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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Four Ways That Accountants Turn To The Dark Side

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Accountant FraudAccountants and book keepers are not perfect. That may be a revelation to many, and unfortunately recent research at the University of NSW reveals that they have been known to commit fraud. Not all of them, of course, but a number of them

A recent online UNSW BusinessThink article (read it here) showcases research by Paul Andon, Clinton Free and Benjamin Scard into fraud by accountants in Australia, examining 192 successful fraud prosecutions. Essentially they found the four major pathways into fraud:


  1. Personal circumstances – “crisis responders”, people who have some personal crisis in their lives (like marriage breakup, gambling debts). This group is the most common (in excess of 50%), the majority of whom are female.
  2. Situational elements – “opportunity takers”, people who see an opportunity too good to pass up, and are often satisfying some need to take revenge or right a perceived injustice.
  3. Humans are fallible – that is, anyone is capable of fraud – people make mistakes.
  4. Attitudinal flexibility – “opportunity seekers” who are proactively looking to commit fraud, and “deviance seekers” who are calculating and unremorseful in their actions.

Interestingly the research also found that it frequently takes a long time to get caught. Warning signs to be on the lookout for include people not taking annual leave (for fear of being found out), and not having adequate separation of duties.

Fraud is committed by anyone, for a variety of reasons and motives. Are you reducing the risks of fraud in your organisation? If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


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Slow Deciders Make Better Strategists

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Strategy 3What contributes the most to making good competitive-strategy decisions – Education? Experience? Outsiders with new ideas? Mark Chussil, in a recent HBR Online article (read it here) shares some findings from data he has collected based on competitive-strategy decisions.

Chussil has developed a matrix of decisions, highlighting the four styles of strategy decision-making as follows:




Chussil’s experience indicates that those in the best performing group are the “I don’t knows”. These are the people who take their time and consider alternatives before launching into making their decision.

This is opposed to those who “Already know”, and are overconfident, not really looking for other solutions, because they “already know” the answer. Close behind this group are the “Now I knows”, who have a high degree of confidence following pondering the issue for a time.

The lesson that Chussil draws out is to take a “not so fast” approach and really consider alternatives before committing to action.

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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Running Better Meetings

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Meetings 2It is a common fallacy that organisations that have a lot of meetings must be good at meetings. In reality, they typically just perpetuate the embedded meeting culture that is often not very effective. There is a wealth of resources on running effective meetings, and one of the latest offerings comes from Renee Cullinan in the April 29 2016 edition of (Read it here), in which Cullinan identifies three of the biggest areas for improving meetings.


  1. Including Introverts

Noisy people are not necessarily smarter, they just think out loud and so create the impression they are. Introverts are typically much quieter and process information internally. Consequently it is very common in meetings for the loud people to dominate discussion and reach a conclusion or consensus before the quiet ones have had a chance to contribute, leaving the decision-making process the poorer as a result.

Cullinan advocates a number of potential solutions for this, one of which is to circulate the meeting material prior to the meeting, thereby giving the introverts an opportunity to read and process the material prior to the meeting, and to then come to the meeting prepared to contribute.

  1. Remote Team Members

People who join meetings via teleconference often find it hard to contribute and report feeling left out. It is not uncommon for them to zone out and do other work during the meeting.

Again, Cullinan has a number of worthwhile suggestions for inclusion, one of which is to use video technology as often as possible instead of teleconference, thereby giving people a visual reference and ability to be seen.

  1. Women

Numerous research efforts have proven that during meetings women are far more likely to be interrupted and their ideas taken less seriously.

Amongst the proposed solutions from Cullinan is to create a culture of not allowing any interruptions, irrespective of who is speaking, and to “call it when you see it”.

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


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Lessons from Starbucks

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lessons LearnedIf you don’t know who Starbucks is then you really need to get out more, read more, or watch more TV. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse in the world (21,000 stores in 65 countries) and one of the fastest-growing companies in the USA.

I am a firm believer in learning from other people’s success (and failure) and applying those lessons to my own organisational context. There are some great lessons from Starbucks to be learned. If you are in the customer business (and every company, Church, School, Aged care entity is), then you can learn from Starbucks. These lessons all come from an article I read in Forbes (Read it here), where you can get the details on the following bullet points:

  1. Have a Mission
  2. Ask Your Customers Questions
  3. Know Your Customers and Employees
  4. Be Innovative
  5. Take Responsibility
  6. Go Against the Grain
  7. Embrace Social Media
  8. Everything Matters
  9. Choose the Right Partners
  10. Be Consistent
  11. Fit In With the Region
  12. Have the Right Leaders

Some readers will already be saying, “These don’t apply to my industry or business”, or “What does this have to do with me?” I guess all I can say is that Starbucks is successful and achieving growth at world-record rates. Are you?

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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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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The Five Levels of Delegation

Sunday, July 5, 2015

DelegationI was interested to read Peter Economy’s thoughts on delegation in a recent online Inc. blog (read it here), as I had not really thought much about there being different levels of delegations. It is obvious now that it is through delegation that a leader manages to achieve the objectives of the organisation, and to actually get things done. Leaders who claim not to be able to delegate to their staff merely highlight how ineffective they themselves have been at recruiting, training and managing their staff.

The article goes into some details as to each level, and where it is most effectively used, and is well worth the read. In summary, the five levels are:

Level 1 – Assess and Report

Level 2 – Recommend

Level 3 – Develop Action Plan

Level 4 – Make the Decision

Level 5 – Full Delegation

Ideally, as a leader you will be looking to develop people to the point where they are capable of operating at level 5, but realistically that will not be the case with everyone. The decision you then face is whether they can be developed further, or they have reached a level where they can still contribute to the organisation effectively, or if it is time to part ways. The tough stuff of leadership.

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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Global Trends in the Business of People

Sunday, May 10, 2015

People JigsawEach year Deloitte publish a report into the global trends in the area of leadership and human capital. Their most recent report has just been released, called Global Human Capital 2015: Leading in the new world of work (Access it here). In compiling the report, Deloitte consulted with 3300 business and HR leaders in 106 countries (including Australia and NZ).

The report identifies ten major trends, within four major themes. The top five major trends are:

  1. Culture and engagement: The naked organisation
  2. Leadership: Why a perennial issue?
  3. Learning and development: Into the spotlight
  4. Reinventing HR: An extreme makeover
  5. Workforce on demand: Are you ready?

What is evident from the report is that the “softer” areas of business are now the priority, as it is a new world in which we operate. For example, employees are now always connected and can access information about whatever management says instantaneously to confirm its validity. They also use social media to check perceptions and reputations. Employees also consider themselves more as customers or partners than employees. As such, they have expectations on how they will be treated that is substantially different to the traditional employer-employee model.

Two paragraphs from the report are particularly interesting in directing company leadership to addressing these issues:

It is time for a shift in how leaders’ performance is being measured. Rewards should be directly related to leaders developing successors and sharing talent not simply on meeting a strategic or operational KPI. A greater emphasis on a coaching environment should form a part of development and assessment frameworks with out-of-the-box development opportunities considered, such as business partnering, being considered.

Today’s leaders must look to engage their employees and therefore it must be made a corporate priority. Real steps need to be undertaken to ensure work is more meaningful. Leaders need to ensure they are being authentic in their style and transparent in their approach to feedback and coaching.

Thinking about your business, are you planning for the future, or responding to the past? Your success depends upon the future, not the past.

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


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The Answer is Involvement

Sunday, May 10, 2015

DirectorsBut what is the question? The question centres on what makes the best directors (or Executive Committee members).

Research by McKinsey research and published in the Harvard Business Review Online (Read it here) have found that there are no shortcuts to being a very effective director. In fact, the latest trend is for effective directors to be spending just as much time out of meetings engaging with the company on board activities as they do in board meetings.

The article details the various types of engagement with management on the following topics:

  • Engaging between meetings;
  • Engaging with strategy as it’s forming;
  • Engaging on talent;
  • Engaging the field;
  • Engaging on tough questions.

This concept runs contrary to established thinking of directors keeping their involvement to a minimum, and leaving management “to do its job”. However the research found that directors who took the time to engage had more significant and valuable contributions to make, thus adding value to the board.

One other thing this process enabled was for directors to mix up their roles, and for someone to be assigned each meeting to ask the hard questions of management. Being engaged meant the directors had confidence that they knew enough about the issues and the business to do this, and that management respected this knowledge. It also ensured that the board process was more robust and that all issues were appropriately examined and interrogated.

There are no short cuts to being an effective director and board, and management needs to have a thick skin and engage with directors who are prepared to learn more about the business.

The Avondale Business School can assist your board to become a high performing board – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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