Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

Social Media Trends for 2017

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Social MediaLike it or not, social media has become a mainstay for communication, both at a personal and business level. And in 2017 there are some trends that will change the game, according to Tom Ward writing in a recent Forbes online blog (read it here). Ward cites the fact that there are now over 2.5 billion social media users worldwide, and this is growing 9% per year. Your customers/clients, employees, and other stakeholders ARE using social media, and you do need to have an effective social media strategy to engage with them.

The article is an easy read, and won’t take long, but it covers 5 trends Ward predicts will impact business in 2017. You will need to read the article for the details, but in point form these trends are:

  1. Live Video
  2. Messaging Apps
  3. Social Commerce
  4. Virtual Reality
  5. Social Channels Will Continue to Evolve

As Ward notes, “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms have become such a part of our life, it’s hard to imagine how we lived without them”. Does your business have a strategy that will incorporate these trends? Or will your business be left behind?

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


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Don’t Let the Facts Get in the Way

Sunday, February 28, 2016

justthefactsWe have all been in the situation I am sure where we are in a “robust” discussion with someone and they just will not budge from their position, despite the fact we are putting indisputable evidence and facts before them. Our brilliant argument backfires. Frustrating to say the least.

Typically this has been explained by psychologists as the other person, in hearing your argument, recalling their own defensive arguments and “digging in” for the battle. It results in a fruitless attempt to reason and does not resolve the situation. If we are honest, we have probably been guilty of doing this ourselves. But there is another possible explanation for such belligerence.

Recent research by Gregory Trevors and other published early in 2016 (read the full article here) studied the responses of 120 people to arguments that challenged their erroneous position with facts. They found people did not “dig in” because they were convinced their argument was right, but because the contrary argument threatened their sense of identity and consequently triggered negative emotions that impaired their ability to understand and digest the new information.

For many of us our beliefs define who we are, and to have those beliefs challenged, even with indisputable facts and evidence, is to challenge who we see ourselves as – our very identity. Consequently our instinctive reaction is to defend who we are, and in that process, we are unable to digest this new information.

While more research is needed in this area, the current research can give us some clues as to how we might handle these sorts of discussions (arguments) better by giving us pause to reflect on how we might frame our discussions/arguments. We need to avoid putting them into the context of this identity concept by de-personalising the points we are making. Also, it may be better to handle such discussions in two or more parts by initially exposing the other person to this new information and giving them time to process and assimilate it before requiring them to act on it.

Think about your role and situations where you may be required to challenge someone with new facts, for example in the context of introducing change into the workplace. How can you approach this differently, now knowing that you may well be threatening people’s very identity?

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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Cell Phone Distraction

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cell Phone DistractionTurning our cell phones onto silent in order to focus and not be distracted may just be a fallacy. A new study just released (read it here) has found that where we even hear or feel the buzz of our cell phone, our concentration breaks and we are more likely to make errors in what we are doing.

In the study, those participants whose phones stayed completely silent were able to complete the tasks with fewer errors than those whose phones made even the slightest noise; even a vibrating buzz was enough to distract to the point of errors being made. And for all those who have purchased the new Apple Watch – the small buzz you feel gently letting you know you have new messages or a phone call is all it takes to break your concentration and increase the possibility for you to make more errors.

It seems the only way to ensure your cell phone does not distract you, is to turn it completely off, or put is somewhere we you cannot see or hear it at all. As useful and convenient as they are, cell phones do pose a threat to our concentration levels and accuracy in our work. So when you really need to focus – turn off the cell phone.

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


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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


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Workplace Trends 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

At the beginning of the new year let’s take a moment to think about what trends are likely to impact on our businesses this year. According to a recent article in Business News Daily (read it here), the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SOIP) has identified the top 10 from a survey of its members.








While this is predominantly US based, we all know that what happens in the US pervades our own environment sooner rather than later. These trends are very interesting and business leaders would do well to take note and assess if they and their businesses are ready. The detail is in the article, the main points are:

  1. Mobile assessments, collaboration and recruitment;
  2. More Big Data for decision making;
  3. Less work-life balance;
  4. Technology changes (again);
  5. Doing more with less;
  6. Multigenerational workforces;
  7. Recruiting new employees and retaining high achievers;
  8. Diversity initiatives;
  9. More social responsibility;
  10. New laws.

How are your positioned to respond to these looming trends? Some are new, others are continuations, while some are good news and others bad. Whatever, the important thing is to ensure your business thrives rather than just survives.

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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Successful Leaders Say These Things

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Getting to be in a position of influence is one thing, being a person of influence is quite another. Great leaders are those who understand that positional influence is very limited, but personal influence is much more long-lasting and widespread.


What is it great leaders do that sets them apart from mediocre leaders who depend on wielding their positional power? By and largely it is in the words they use. Peter Economy, a writer for Inc., has compiled a list of the 17 things successful leaders say every day that sees their employees becoming partners rather than adversaries, complete with the trust and loyalty that businesses need to function at high levels. You can read the full article here, but the 17 things? Here they are:

  1. What do you think?
  2. I trust you.
  3. I know you can do it.
  4. It’s not your fault.
  5. I’m proud of you.
  6. Please.
  7. Thank you.
  8. Great idea–let’s do it.
  9. I’ve always got time for you.
  10. I couldn’t have done it without you.
  11. No one is perfect.
  12. What can I do to help?
  13. I made a mistake.
  14. I need your help.
  15. Anything is possible.
  16. I’m sorry.
  17. I’ve got your back.

A challenge is to try using some of these over the next two weeks (and mean it!) and see what happens in your workplace.

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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Doing Great Leadership

Monday, August 18, 2014

A recent article in Inc. by Peter Economy looked at the changing nature of leadership. In the article (read it here>>) six things are identified as being a constant amongst the fast paced change in leadership thinking.


In summary, these are:

  1. Constantly renew focus and revise goals – at both company and individual employee level;
  2. Emphasise information and communication – great leaders communicate more – both the good news and the bad;
  3. Encourage involvement and initiative – funnily enough the people who generally know how to do things better, faster, cheaper etc. are the ones actually doing it – listen to them;
  4. Provide autonomy and flexibility – great companies have engaged employees who become that by having input into how they do their job;
  5. Engage in action learning and application – great leaders have identified and are already training their replacements;
  6. Recognise and praise – does this really need explanation? Say thank-you and be positive;

As a leader, are you great? You can be.

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop great leadership – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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The Deloitte Australian Business Trends 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

In a recently published report, Deloitte have identified nine business trends that will re-shape the world and Australia in 2014. Their report can be accessed here.

Leaders of organizations can be forgiven for feeling nervous at the potential shake-up in the business environment that is looming. Looking at just three of these trends should be enough to rattle your tree. Remember these are trends not predictions, reflections of what is already happening, not what is predicted to happen.

  1. Social Impact

The social issues of Australia are too big for any one sector (Government, NFP, Business) to solve. The realization is dawning that it will take collaboration and partnerships between sectors to have any real impact.

Some businesses in the mining sector in particular are already engaged in such partnerships, with marked levels of success. Programmes such as these will grow within Australia, and entities involved in the NFP sector should be looking at ways to ‘partner-up’ with the business sector.

  1. Social Media

Surveys of executives’ consistently highlight the growing use and importance of social media as a legitimate business tool. A 2013 survey by Deloitte Australia noted that 48% of Australian consumers update their social media nearly every day (5-7 days per week) and 34% consider it an important tool. But the growing digital footprint does come at a cost.

However, social media advertising is now the fourth most influential category of advertising.

Social media now includes as standard social TV channels (like YouTube).

The consensus is that while specific tools may come and go, social business is here to stay. Avoid it at your peril.

  1. C-Suite version 3.0

The C-suite (derived from management titles beginning with chief….) has been based on a traditional model. Today there are more and more functional specialists being appointed. Roles are appearing like Chief Operations Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Information Officer, etc. to the point where CEO’s today have more direct reports than ever before.

Typically the most recent additions are in the digital, customer oversight, innovation and transformation areas. This highlights the importance business is placing on these aspects of business. The challenge is to avoid a silo mentality by compartmentalizing these functions, and to ensure there is cross-collaboration and integration across the business.

It is a challenge, but an important one.

Thinking about your business, are you ready for these trends that are happening now? What changes do you need to make to ensure your business is not left behind?

The Avondale Business School can advise your organization on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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A Leadership Master Class

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Outside the box

If you had the opportunity to pick the brains of 8 of the smartest people in leadership today, would you do it? How much would you be prepared to pay?

Plenty of people took the opportunity recently to attend the ‘World Business Forum’ in Sydney, held May 28 – 29, 2014. They were treated to leading edge thinking and ideas that challenge the status quo and call leaders to think in different ways.

Thanks to one of the major sponsors, NAB, you are able to get the benefit of this forum through a synopsis of each presentation which captures the major points. These are a great read; quick, punchy and challenging.

The main presenters and their areas of interest are (click on the presenter to read more):

  • George Kohlreiser – Lessons in leadership from hostage negotiation
  • Randi Zuckerberg – Developments in technology
  • Ram Charan – Good ideas with no execution ends in no results
  • Gary Hamel – Change management
  • Kevin Roberts – Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) thinking
  • Andreas Weigend – How people are making purchasing and lifestyle decisions
  • Michael Porter – Opportunities if we are willing to recalibrate thinking and strategy
  • Lyn Heward – The 7 doors to enhance creativity, motivate high performance and foster innovation

While there is something for everyone in this mixed bag of leading thinkers, my personal favourite is Ram Charan’s 7 steps to excellent execution – the way to actually get things done.

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


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‘Pro Bono’ Boards

Monday, May 12, 2014

7 Steps for Effective Pro Bono Boards

Many NFP Boards are comprised of directors and members who graciously volunteer their time and skills. These ‘Pro Bono’ Boards are still required to function at the same level as professional boards all be it with much more limited resources.

A recent article by Kate Costello (Founder and Managing Director of corporate governance company, Governance Matters) outlines what she believes to be the 7 steps for an effective Pro Bono Board. In summary these are:

1. Size of the Board – Inefficiencies arrive when a board exceeds 9 members.BoardMembers1

2. Right Mix of Skills – Membership needs to be based on potential contribution, not as a reward

3. Choose the Chair on Ability – A board well led is a successful board

4. Effective Allocation of Board Time – Spend most of your time look through the windscreen (forward) not the rear-view mirror

5. Measure Strategy Outcomes – We get what we measure, not what we expect.

6. Exhibit Right Behaviour – Be a functional unit comprised of functional members, not a dysfunctional unit with dysfunctional members.

7. Understand the line between governance and management – Ensure there are no grey areas, and that management and the board know what their respective responsibilities are and trust each other to carry them out.

Looking at this list, how does your board stack up? Is it an effective board?

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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