Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

The Importance of Urgency

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How do you become and maintain leadership in your industry when your industry is changing so constantly? McKinsey&Company report that the average large firm reorganizes every two to three years, and the average reorganization takes more than 18 months to implement! How can an organisation focus on strategy when reorganization seems to dominate?

In their article entitled ‘Organising for the age of Urgency’ (click here to read), Aaron De Smet and Chris Gagnon of McKinsey&Company report that companies still need to change, but argue there is another way than to enter the endless cycle of reorganisations. They identify that companies that are successful adopt more radical approaches, and become more responsive, more flexible, and shift decision-making to the front-line, (or “edge”). Based on their observations, they have developed an organisational outline of what the most successful organisations have adopted, and shown in the following diagram:

The key areas identified is that urgency must become the single biggest imperative for the company. The default for organisations is to fall behind competitors, and to succeed, companies must move qui8ckly. Jeff Bezos of Amazon asserts that companies need to adopt high-velocity thinking, using 70% of the information they wish they had to make decisions. It is also important to use emergent strategy and leadership, which the authors compare to improvisational jazz, where all the players improvise and are empowered to adapt. Successful companies also try new things, accept failure, learn from that, and try again.

Agility is the second component of the model, which means being willing and able to shift quickly to reshape the business. This includes creating a flatter organisation and moving away from title/rank having total control. Decisions are instead made in real-time by those that are in the moment at the front-line.

Capability is the third element, and includes creating a workforce who are able to adapt and integrate with new technology. It also embraces and continual learning, which includes learning being personalized for employees so they can act more urgently and improve effectiveness. The leadership model is also transformed by being less about control and more about influence, decreasing the need for many positions of formal authority.

The last of the model components is identity. Successful organisations need to have stable processes, tasks and roles. This includes having a simple but consistent series of process across the entire organisation. It is also important to have a purpose that inspires employees, one which leaders model. Employees thrive where they are part of an organisation that creates real value.

Creating an organisation that embraces urgency, coupled with agility, capability and identity does away with the need for constant reorganization and reactive strategies. Instead, as noted I the article, “you’ve got an organisation that can play fast and long”. A highly recommended read for people who really want their organisation to succeed.

Welcome MLM Winter School Students!

Friday, July 6, 2018

July means Winter School for the Masters of Leadership and Management (MLM) students in ABS. Each year they come for their two week residential component of their program.

In this first week students in the Strategic Planning for Leadership unit worked on a group presentation project, which was presented on Thursday, under the watchful eye of Associate Professor Lisa Barnes.

Enjoy the collegial time together and the opportunity to not only learn from fantastic ABS staff, but to also from each other and build your professional network.

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.

What’s Keeping You Awake at Night?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sustainability and long term growth prospects are what’s keeping Australian company directors awake at night, according to the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Director Sentiment Index 2018 (Click here to access the report).

Other issues troubling the sleep of Australian directors include:

  • Structural change/changing business models
  • Corporate culture
  • Business reputation in the community
  • Data security

Do these issues resonate with you? What about the following trends identified in the report as having the biggest potential impacts:

  • Positive Impact:
    • Big data
    • Increased transparency
    • Automation
  • Negative Impact:
    • Mass retirement of older workers

Australian directors have a generally optimistic outlook for both the Australian and international economies, with NSW directors most optimistic for their state, and WA directors most pessimistic for theirs. While directors expect lower unemployment in the next 12 months, they also anticipate increases in inflation, wages and the ash interest rate over the same period. Growth is still expected, including an increase in profits. However, there is growing pessimism regarding the level of government red-tape and corporate reporting requirements.

Directors are also focusing more on corporate culture, with the three most significant ways of changing corporate culture being:

  • Regularly featuring culture on board and audit committee agendas
  • Capturing data on key cultural indicators
  • Communicating the ethical position of the board and business

As you reflect on your own business, are these issues similar or different to your own circumstance, and how these issues may impact your business. Most importantly, how prepared are you to face what is looming on the horizon. Avondale Business School is well-placed to help you position your organisation to ensure you enjoy success.

Are You Digitally Mature?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

We have no choice – digital disruption is on us, and those organisations that can adapt and adopt quickest will be the market leaders in an increasingly competitive environment.

This finding comes from the recently released research through the MIT Sloan Management Review, in collaboration with and sponsored by Deloitte Digital. Their report, ‘Coming of Age Digitally’ (click to view the report) shares the findings of their research project, involving more than 4300 managers and executives from around the world.

Also included in the findings are some important insights regarding companies adapting to the digital environment, including:

  • Digitally maturing companies push decision-making further down into the organisation;
  • Digital business is faster, more flexible and distributed, and has a different culture and mindset than traditional business;
  • Developing – not just having – digital leaders sets digitally maturing companies apart.

Obstacles that companies may face as they attempt to mature digitally include the need for a change in mindset, increased collaboration, and the need to move quickly. The research report offers a number of suggestion and practical steps to adapt, including experimentation and iteration, continued learning and pushing decision-making down the organisation.

Digital transformation is occurring so rapidly that organisations need all the help they can get in keeping pace with this change. This applies to all organisations, profit and not-for-profit. Reports such as the one from MIT Sloan can help you keep abreast of best practice, and the Avondale Business School is happy to partner with you to see your business succeed.

ABS Challenges Directors

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Board of Directors of Adventist Senior Living NNSW recently completed several modules of professional development, delivered by the Avondale Business School team. The sessions were held over three days, in February and May, and topics included the roles and responsibilities of directors, as well as finance, marketing, human resources and information management for directors.

Warrick Long and Associate Professor Lisa Barnes shared cutting edge practices and the latest research in these areas, also drawing on their extensive experiences as directors and leaders in the not-for-profit sector, including with aged care and disability services. The directors appreciated the interactive nature of the sessions, with up to date and practical information. Their feedback reflected that while they had been challenged, they were presented with easy to understand relevant concepts.

ABS presenter, Warrick Long, noted that “this is a great example of a board of directors taking their responsibilities very seriously, and endeavoring to improve their knowledge and sharpen their governance skills – it was a pleasure to work with them”.

The Avondale Business School has a suite of programs that can help your directors and leaders develop the winning edge for your business. For more information, contact Warrick Long to discuss customizing something unique for your organisation. Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

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.

 

How To Be A Bad Manager

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bad Managers

I was intrigued recently to read an article in The Huffington Post (find it here) that identified eleven ineffective leadership styles. It was hard while reading not to assign the names of people I have worked with through the years against these. It was even harder when I realised I was guilty of a number of them.

The article is a quick read, in infographic style, so I’m not going to reproduce all the material here, but I will highlight the top five styles that most annoy me:

  1. Micromanaging
  2. Autocratic
  3. Dictatorial
  4. Excessive consistency
  5. Mushroom management

As you read the article, think honestly about your own leadership and see if you are guilty of having any of these styles, and if you do, then develop a plan to see if you can move from being ineffective to effective. Your employees will love you for it!

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?

Are You A Toxic Leader?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Toxic LeadershipThat’s a tough question to answer for many of us. We would like to believe that we have no faults, and if only everybody did what they were told, before I tell them, then the business will go alright. Unfortunately, sometimes we are the problem, and for leaders it may be our leadership.

In a recent blog in Business News Daily (Read it here), Nicole Fallon Taylor outlines 4 warning signs that you may be that toxic leader. The article is well worth the read, if you are game! As a teaser, the four warning signs are:

  1. Your team keeps disappearing
  2. People don’t look to you for guidance
  3. You frequently have negative emotional reactions to work situations
  4. You feel the need to control all aspects of your teams’ operations

But don’t despair if you recognise some (or all) of these behaviours, as there are things you can do to reduce your toxicity. Fallon refers to strategies that include self-awareness, humility and accountability. In the article there are three questions to ask yourself regarding your interactions with people. Why not try some of these out during the next week and see what happens.

The Avondale Business School can help you be an effective leader– find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

E: Warrick.long@avondale.edu.au

P: 02 4980 2168