Posts Tagged ‘Time Management’

Great Performers Make Their Personal Lives a Priority

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Work life Balance 2The great dilemma for most people striving for success is to balance their personal lives with their careers, so that neither suffers. How difficult that can be is represented by numerous broken relationships and unrealised dreams. In a very recent post on the Harvard Business Review site, Stew Friedman explores this idea and proposes a way of making it work. You can read the full article here.

Friedman references examples of successful people who have achieved in the four areas of life – work, family, community and self, and talks of “four-way wins” that result in all of these areas being enriched through the span of one’s lifetime. While using these examples, Friedman does so in order to highlight that anyone can achieve this, and it is not the domain of the rich and successful only.

While the article elaborates on these examples, there are three principles that Friedman advocates as the starting point for this success, a quick summary of these are:

  1. Be Real – that is, act with authenticity to clarify what is most important to you.
  2. Be Whole – see how the most important things to you in work, family, community and self affect each other.
  3. Be Innovative – simply experiment with creative ways to get things done, that suit you and those around you.

No one said it was going to be easy, and it does require some degree of strength to work to align these actions between the various domains so they all line up with core values. But when you achieve this, there is less conflict and you can move forward. An interesting comment from Friedman is that the examples he gave of successful people, “…persisted because of their commitment to their families, communities and private selves, not in spite of them.”

The first step – what matters most to you?

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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Multitasking Doesn’t Work!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Multitasking 4I have met a lot of people in life who have been very proud and vocal about their ability to multitask, notwithstanding I am a male and supposedly have diminished multitasking abilities. However, a recent article from Andrew Medal in the Entrepreneur blog (find it here) suggests multitasking is not as good as we’ve been led to believe.

The article contends that switching from task to task is very ineffective as it takes our brains some time to adjust to the new flow of thoughts, and rapidly changing disrupts these flows, and compromises the quality of our work. I wonder if this principle would equally apply to rapidly moving from one meeting to the next, with little time between to process or adjust?

Medal proposes a system to increase productivity, based on the method developed and implemented by Ivy Lee in 1918. The process involves six steps:

  1. Make a list of six important tasks for tomorrow at the end of each work day.
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. ?
  6. Complete all tasks on the list in the same manner and repeat the process for the next day.

What are steps 2 – 5? Well you will need to open the article and find out! However, I can attest that the process does work well, except for when a crisis occurs!

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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Managing Up

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Manage Your BossThere is plenty of advice out there on how to lead and manage teams, and we at ABS have presented many of these. However, in a recent Business News Daily blog Nicole Fallen Taylor writes about a different perspective to managing – managing your boss, or managing up. You can read the full article here, but following is a brief summary of the main features.

Don’t be afraid to manage up – which essentially is learning what your boss’s work style is and adapting to it for achieving the best possible results for the team. Remember though that every boss is different, and one size does not fit all. Also remember that your boss has many more people to worry about than just you, so don’t be too pushy or all-consuming. The author provides a few tips on what might help in this process:

  1. Earn your boss’ trust
  • Build friendly rapport
  • Learn how they prefer to work
  • Leave your ego at the door and commit to your manager’s and company’s goals
  1. Give regular feedback (but don’t nag)
  • Don’t take up all their time – they have more to do than just listen to you
  • When invited – provide honest feedback
  • Be aware of your boss’ communication preferences
  • Don’t catch them off-guard!
  1. Show that you’re a team player
  • Don’t try and micromanage your boss
  • Look to add value to the team, for example:
    • Keep cool under pressure
    • Offer solutions, not just problems
    • Mentor junior staff

And most importantly, managing up is not sucking up! It is all about the success of the team, where everybody wins.

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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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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Core Values

Monday, June 20, 2016

PurposeWhat are your organisations’ core values? Not the ones that you say are values, but the ones that actually reflect who you really are?

In a recent article by Nicole Fallon Taylor (read it here) she highlights core values and the role they play in our organisations. Essentially they are the culture of the company, and irrespective of what we might say our organisation does, it is these core values that really matter.

It is certainly one thing to define your core values, and quite another to actually live them out. Saying one thing and doing another is a recipe for disaster in any organisation.

Do you live your values, or simply talk about what you want other people to think they are? The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop core values – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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Only You Can Make Your Job Meaningful

Monday, June 20, 2016

PurposeMelissa Dahl previews an article in MIT Sloan Management Review (read it here) by Bailey and Madden that explores the failure of bosses who attempt to create meaningfulness on the job for their employees. Surprisingly, the results are usually a fail.

The authors found that leadership has little impact on meaningful moments at work. In contrast, bad management ranks as the number one inhibiter of meaningful work.

Instead, Bailey and Madden have found that it is each individual who makes their work truly meaningful and deeply personal. They cite as examples the office cleaner who finds his work very meaningful, and the corporate CEO who doesn’t.

The conclusion they reach is that it is not up to anyone else to create meaning in your work, it is just up to you.

Are you finding meaning in your work? Perhaps the Avondale Business School can help by working with you to develop your personal leadership and management skills. To find out more, contact Warrick Long at:


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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:


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It Doesn’t Have to be a Sacrifice

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Corporate Social ResponsibilityUp until recently, much of the discussion surrounding corporate social responsibility puts it as either profits or being socially responsible, but not both. And on face value it might appear that way, however more and more organisations are recognising that the two are not mutually exclusive.

Studies are showing that investing in socially responsible ways of doing business are generating longer term profitability and generating higher returns for investors. A recent article in the Huffington Post Australia outlined 10 companies that are in fact achieving this. You can read the full article here.

Some of the ways these companies are achieving social responsibility include:

  • Zero waste
  • Valuing aging workers
  • Women in leadership
  • Environmental responsibility

Think about your organisation – is it demonstrably socially responsible? Should it be? Maybe this week think of one way your organisation can take some positive steps towards being a model corporate citizen in the area of corporate social responsibility.

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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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.

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Nobody Cares How Hard You Work

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Long HoursAn article recently in 99U had this headline, and it really caught my attention. And you can read it here. Working through the available research, author Oliver Burkeman points out that most likely we “chronically confuse the feeling of effort with the reality of results”. That is, just because we have spent a long time at work doesn’t mean we have actually achieved anything of significance.

Burkeman highlights the “labour illusion” which is where people are more concerned that a job appeared to take an appropriate amount of time rather than whether it was actually done properly. He gives examples like the locksmith that became so good at his job he was able to do most things in little time, but then his customers complained that they felt cheated that it took him so little time and effort. Also, you know that little whirly thing on flight search pages that spins about while you are waiting for the best deal available? Well people would rather wait for a longer time with that showing, than not have it showing and get the results quicker, because it looks like the site is “working hard”.

He also brings to attention the “Effort Trap”, whereby spending a 10 hour day barely achieving anything other than routine is felt more worthy than spending two hours “in deep hard concentration on hard thinking, followed by a leisurely afternoon off”. Yet the two hours is more effective than the 10. Yet we still fall trap to the idea that hard work is what ultimately matters.

This idea lives in too many workplaces, where promotion is linked to the boss sensing the effort and hard work resulting from long hours, rather than your outputs. It should be more about making sure you are doing the right things, rather than just doing a lot of things.

Burkeman advises us to spend the first two hours of our workday on the most important tasks, and challenges us to consider limiting our working hours. Being tired at the end of the day is not a good indicator of a day well spent.

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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