Posts Tagged ‘ABS’

Moving Boards From Good To Great

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

What does it take to move a good board to becoming a great board? A recent publication from the PWC governance Insights Center (read it here) provides a series of questions that guides you through this very process.

This excellent article is easy to read and provides great guidance and explanations as to what boards can do to address these questions.

The 9 questions are listed below, but the document expands on these so to get the maximum benefit, it is highly recommended you follow the link to the whole article.

  1. What skills or attributes are we missing?
  2. How well are our committees functioning?
  3. Do we have strong board and committee leadership?
  4. Are we getting our agenda right?
  5. How could our pre-meeting materials be improved?
  6. How effectively are we engaging with management?
  7. Are we making good use of executive sessions?
  8. Are we staying current?
  9. How do we get more value from our performance assessments?

Think about your board, and how you might use these questions to move from good to great. The Avondale Business School (ABS) can also help you and your board become greatt, simply contact Dr Warrick Long at or 02 4980 2168.

Change Successfully

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

If it’s not one thing, it’s another – either technology is changing, structures are changing, or the economy, or all three at once, or something else again. So when leadership announces to employees another organizational change, is it any wonder there is usually a collective groan from change-fatigued workers who get defensive at the idea.

Patti Sanchez in her excellent article ‘The Secret to Leading Organizational Change is Empathy’, (read it here), addresses this touchy issue and offers leaders some sound advice: how information is communicated to employees during a change matters more then what information is communicated. Sanchez builds a strong case for communicating empathetically, while being honest enough to admit most leaders don’t know how.

Following are the headline three strategies leaders can implement to make the next change process smoother:

  1. Profile Your Audience at Every Stage: Take the time to identify the key groups of employees based on how they might feel about the proposed changes, then plan communications to address them accordingly. Typically they may be excited, frightened or even frustrated.
  2. Tell People What to Expect: so the more informed people are, the more they will be able to process the discomfort they may feel. While this should be a no-brainer, it seems to be a non-starter for most leaders. Trust your employees and just tell them what is going on.
  3. Involve Individuals at All Levels: Unless there is broad involvement, the change just won’t happen.

These look so common sense, and yet few leaders actually take the time to put them into practice, thus stymieing their transformation process. Do you think you could at least try these the next time you are involved in change? And the Avondale Business School (ABS) can help you with this, just contact Dr Warrick Long to find out how.


ABS Students Test Online Ordering Platforms in the Classroom

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Students in BBUS22070 Management of Information Systems tested the online platform of ordering pizzas used by “Dominos”. They tracked in real time the process of ordering, making, transporting and ultimately delivering of the pizza.

The class used the experience to test the reliability of the online platform, from the initial online order, to payment and ultimately to assess if the order was correctly prepared and delivered in a timely manner. The final test of course was the taste test – of which all agreed was a success. This exercise was created by our new sessional lecturer Dr Homa Freeman, a newly graduate PhD in the area of Information Technology. Students agreed this was a great way to test IT systems and online platforms, as well as share a tasty dinner together.

The class is planning an excursion to visit the Avondale College IT team, to see the challenges of a real world IT division within a higher education provider. Great to see students doing practical applications of the theory they learn in the classroom.

ABS Presents at International Business Research Conference

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The 10th Sydney International Business Research Conference was recently held, where the conference Chair was Associate Professor Niloufer Selvadurai, who is an expert in Intellectual Property Law from the Macquarie University Law School. Seen here with Associate Professor Lisa Barnes who was also invited to the Conference as a Keynote speaker on the topic of “Research and Collaboration” to share in her journey in the murky waters of research and publications.

Papers were presented by researchers from as far away as Sweden, and it was a great opportunity to network with researchers not only from Australian Institutions but from many institutions located in Malaysia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Lisa also assisted in presenting a paper with her former PhD student Annika Westrenius, who graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2016. The paper was titled “Big decisions in small business: Stakeholder priority” and discussed the challenges small business owner managers face when making decisions in relation to stakeholder management. For the full conference program click on the attached link

ABS Joint Research Project with Alphacrucis College

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Avondale College is partnering with Alphacrucis College on a joint research project entitled: “Women in Higher Education Institutions: Constraints and Enablements”. The project arose from the invitation extended by the Avondale Women’s Group to Professor Lily Arasaratnam-Smith who is the Deputy Vice President Student Affairs and Chair of Academic Board of Alphacrucis College.

Lily Arasaratnam-Smith gave a presentation on challenges and opportunities for female academics, particularly in light of the current “male, pale and stale” executive environments in the higher education sector. On sharing her experiences, she invited Associate Professor Maria Northcote (Discipline of Education, Avondale College) to share her academic journey at the Alphacrucis Women’s Executive meeting late last year. At this meeting Maria shared her “mistakes” as an academic, but also her learnings from those mistakes.

Associate Professor Lisa Barnes from ABS was invited as the March 2019 guest speaker at Alphacrucis, and shared her journey and challenges to create a life/work balance, particularly in her role as a parent as well as Head of Discipline. Breakfast meetings, late running afternoon meetings and inefficient meetings all contributed to her imbalance, but the satisfaction she gets from the teaching, flexible working options and the support from her co-workers has contributed to less stress about the balance.

Feedback from the presentation: “Thank you for your honesty, for your transparency on a subject that resonates well with me personally (especially the aspect of the mum-work-life balance). From your story, I am glad for the aspects where you have been victorious, thus paving the way for women in your wake. Although a difficult journey, your passion for advocacy for women has seen incredible victory. Thanks for sharing. From a fellow mum who is already wondering about dinner and hoping that my very helpful husband will remember to do homework with the 9 year old….”- Rachel.

This sharing of experiences led to the notion of a joint research project. Based on a replicated study that so far has shown some initial similarities.

Factors that support or constrain career development:

Women in Higher Education: Challenges & Opportunities, a cross institutional study – watch this space.

Book Review: Visioneering

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Creating his own word, Visioneering, Andy Stanley provides an excellent process for finding your own vision and translating that into a leadership context in his revised book Visioneering: Your guide for discovering and maintaining your personal vision (2016, Multnomah).

Stanley is emphatic on the importance of personal vision as a part of leadership. Without having a ‘True North’ perspective, leaders have nothing to guide them through the treacherous waters of leadership. What is particularly of interest is that Stanley does not pull any punches on how difficult the process and maintaining the course can be. Refreshingly he is open about the challenges and provides some guidance on working your way through them.

As the book is written in a Christian context, Stanley draws on scriptural stories to illustrate the Visioneering process. With particular reference to the story of Nehemiah, the author gives a relatable process that is easy to translate into one’s own life and experience.

Stanley does a good job of providing a convincing argument for the importance of vision and aligning one’s personal vision with the organisations.

I found the book to be easy to read without being condescending, and very logical and well organised. I would highly recommend this book for new leaders, or leaders who need to re-calibrate and check they are on course.

Reviewed by Dr Warrick Long, Avondale Business School

Book Review: Slow

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Slow down! That essentially is the advice from author Brooke McAlary in her book Slow: Live Life Simply (2017, Allen &Unwin). I was pleasantly surprised how much I related to this book.

Drawing on her own experiences, McAlary outlines well the difficulties of modern life, including the myth of ‘work-life balance’, and the pointless aim of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. Offering a smorgasbord of strategies to deal with these pressures, McAlary is honest about the challenges and openly admits her own failings in striving to slow down.

Primarily using her own experience, McAlary outlines what strategies have worked for her in trying to balance work, family and personal well-being. What I really appreciate in this book is how the author also outlines what hasn’t worked for her and takes pains to stress that there is no one right way, and each of us needs to experiment to find what works best for us.

I found her strategies very relatable (although not all work for me), particularly the concept of ‘Wobbly Balance’, when referring to work-life balance. By the time I got to the end of the book, I was already trying new things, making small changes to my life, and enjoying the benefits. And the stress had already started to disappear.

The book is really well organised, and very easy to read.

It would appeal to a wide range of readers, and leaders would benefit greatly from many of the strategies. I highly recommend this book.

Reviewed by Dr Warrick Long, Avondale Business School

Culture Starts at the Top

Thursday, March 21, 2019

A recent article by Nicholas Barnett for Governance Institute Australia deals with the role of Boards and senior leaders in create culture in the organisation (read it here).

He refers to ‘Tone at the top’ which he notes as, “being a high bar for honesty, integrity and ethical behaviour noting that it is a foundation stone for forming and shaping a robust, resilient and ethical culture”. While typically thought of as being the board and CEO, it also includes executives, audit and risk committees, etc. By setting a high bar, research has shown that both character and performance make for more trusted and higher performing organisations.

Recent exposure of poor culture in the financial services insider in particular has highlighted the need for organisations to ensure they are caring for their culture, and that it is being developed from the very top.

You will need to read the entire article for the full explanations, but a summary of the key behaviours to form a good culture include:

  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry and show genuine remorse
  • Words are cheap: You must walk the talk
  • Systems, incentives and consequence management may need to be re-aligned
  • The chair and the CEO are the chief integrity and ethics officers

How does you organisation compare to these practices? Is it time for a culture check? The Avondale Business School (ABS) can help you. To find out how, simply contact Warrick Long via or 02 4980 2168.

Leadership Succession in Adventist Schools – A Partnership

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dr Peter Williams recently had the opportunity to present some of the findings from his Faith-based School Leadership Succession research to Adventist Schools Australia (ASA) NSW School Principals and Administrators (to view the PowerPoints click here). The findings presented centred around the leadership aspirations levels of ASA employees, as well as the factors influencing the willingness and unwillingness of ASA employees to apply for school leadership positions. Peter’s presentation concluded with a number of practical implications for these school principals that could assist leadership development at the local school level. This presentation was very well received, and further discussions have led to an active partnership being entered based around researching and strengthening the leadership supply pool within the Adventist education sector.

Reflections on my Pathway: Supervision and Publishing

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Former Avondale student Christopher Akroyd returns home to conduct a research seminar hosted by the Avondale Business School on March 15, 2019. Currently working as Assistant Professor at the prestigious Oregon State University College of Business with a role that includes Research supervision and publishing. Chris shared his journey that began in 1985 at Avondale College as a tertiary student. Working at Sanitarium while studying he graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelors of Business degree.  He went on to complete his MCom, MBA and PhD degrees before taking on the job at the Oregon University.

His presentation at the research seminar included three very pertinent topics that benefited the group of participants from Avondale College.  Chris shared his experience Research Supervision – Building a community, Research methodology – Finding a lens, and on Publishing – Persuading editors and reviewers.

‘Knowing when to defend your position and when to change track and do what editors and reviewers ask you to do was a key to getting papers accepted’.