Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

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.

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.

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.


Performance Management Reinvented

Monday, May 23, 2016

Performance ManagementJust in case you didn’t know, the traditional annual performance management discussion is on the way out. An increasing number of companies are ditching the time-consuming, subjective and demotivating practices for new ways of managing employee performance.

McKinsey & Company have published an excellent article on this issue (read it here), complete with examples of companies that are implementing these new practices. Interestingly no one is suggesting the idea of performance management be abandoned, merely that it needs to morph into a much more effective process. Amongst the ideas raised in the article are the following:

  • Rethinking what constitutes employee performance
    • Instead of focussing on the middle ground, identify clear over performers and underperformers
    • Highlight and encourage exemplar performances
  • Automating real-time analyses
    • Using apps for continual crowd-sourced performance data throughout the year
    • Collected in real-time which is not only fresh, but enables managers to draw on actual evidence
  • Severing the link between evaluation and compensation
    • Link compensation to the performance of the company, not the individual
    • Studies indicate that employees value meaning (seeing purpose and value in work) as the most important factor.

In handling performance management, it is now coaching rather than evaluating that is the key. The article list three practices that seem to deliver the results, these being changing the language of feedback, providing constant crowdsourced vignettes, and focussing discussions on the future rather than what happened in the past.

Performance management is changing, and companies that succeed will be the ones that change with it. The Avondale Business School can help you keep ahead in performance management. To find out how, simply contact Warrick Long on:


P: 02 4980 2168

7 Secrets of ‘Servant Leadership’ That Will Lead You to Success

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Servant LeadershipI’ve never been comfortable with the term ‘servant leadership’, despite writing a Masters paper on it that scored very well (the lecturer loved servant leadership so I just told him what he wanted to hear!). I wonder if it was because I had not seen it modelled very effectively, and in more recent times I must admit that I am seeing more and more. When it is done well, it creates an environment of trust and confidence where people flourish and organisations gain the benefits from that.

Writing recently in the Inc. online edition, Peter Economy identified the 7 secrets of servant leadership. You can read the full article here, but as a teaser, here are a few of them in simple point form:

  1. Every person has value and deserves civility, trust, and respect
  2. People can accomplish much when inspired by a purpose beyond themselves
  3. Lovingly hold themselves and others accountable for their commitments

Once you read the full article, it’s time to reflect on your own leadership and see if there are some aspects of servant leadership that you can introduce. Maybe think of just one you could try this week.

The Avondale Business School can help you with servant leadership in your organisation – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Stress Reduction Tips

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Stress ReductionThe calendar year-end can either be a relaxing time for many, or a frantic period for others. Either way you might just take a few moments to think about the stress in your life and how to reduce it.
Nicole Fallon from Business News Daily has collected a range of ideas and summarised them below (read the full article here). The challenge is to see if you can introduce even one of these in the New Year and improve your stress situation.

  1. Change your habits
    a. Schedule breaks into your day.
    b. “Go for a walk, grab coffee or take the time to sit down and have lunch”
    c. Devote time to physical, mental and emotional self-maintenance.
    d. Keep a handwritten to-do list.
  2. Change your communication
    a. Socialize with your co-workers.
    b. Use the right communication tools.
    c. Cut ties with negative people in your life.
  3. Change your mind-set
    a. Accept that you’re not immune from stress
    b. Stop thinking you have to be right.
    c. Remember that all negative situations will passs

The full article gives more detail and examples for each of these, which might help you reduce the stress in your life.

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.

P: 02 4980 2168

Use Your Calendar to Form Good Habits

Sunday, August 30, 2015

CalendarRecently Stephanie Lee blogged some really useful tips on using your calendar more effectively to form good habits. You can read the full article here. These habits can be personal (like exercising) or professional (read ABS InfoLink each fortnight). Whatever they are, Lee has some very handy tips to use your calendar to help.

The major parts of the article are as follows, and under each are specific tips and ideas to help make it work. It is worth the time to read the full article and take on board the finer details. Here are the major points of the article:

  • Break down the habit
  • Figure our time and frequency
  • Add the main action item to your calendar
  • Tips for when you ignore calendar alerts
  • Help to drive the habit home
  • Have patience

This last point was particularly interesting. In it, Lee refers to the common understanding that to make a new habit stick it takes 21 days. This is not actually the case, as shown in research undertaken in 2009 and referred to by Lee, which discovered it takes anywhere from 18 – 254 days to make a habit stick.

So what are you going to do today to begin a new habit?

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.


P: 02 4980 2168

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.


P: 02 4980 2168

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


P: 02 4980 2168

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pass the BatonIn the most recent McKinsey Quarterly in May 2015 (Read it here), they cite a stunning statistic, that one in three CEO successions fail, because of the wrong person going into the role. That is a huge failure rate, and one that costs business an extraordinary amount of money.

While it is the responsibility of the Board to replace a CEO, it is the responsibility of the CEO to develop a pool of talent for the Board to choose from. And this is where many organisations fail. In fact, McKinsey further quote that two-thirds of US companies have no succession planning in place for the CEO. What are you doing to develop your successor?

The ideal process, according to McKinsey, is a multi-year (say 5 – 8 years) structured program that involves multiple candidates in a rotation system. The CEO is best suited to manage this process as they best understand the business, and what lies ahead (that is, develop leaders for where the business is going, not where it is). The Board should involve up to three board members to work with the CEO and HR manager to ensure the process is taking place and developing talent in-house.

McKinsey identify three areas, or clusters of criteria, to use in developing would-be leaders. These are:

  1. Know-how
  2. Leadership skills
  3. Personal attributes

They also caution about three types of bias that can creep into the process:

  1. ‘MOM’ Bias (i.e. More of Me) – whereby the CEO is looking for a copy of themselves.
  2. Sabotage Bias – when the CEO undermines the process by selecting one candidate and favouring them throughout.
  3. Herding Bias – where the committee adjusts their actions to reflect that of the CEO, thereby removing any independence.

Take the time to reflect on the succession plans (if any) of your organisation for your role. Do you need to start the process? Remember that the bigger the pool, the more options the organisation has to get it right!

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.


P: 02 4980 2168