The Dance Centre had, over the past 23 years, developed a reputation for excellence across Australia as well as in the Perth dance community. The exam results achieved by its students were second to none. Many of its students had gone on to tertiary studies, majoring in dance. Others had progressed to dance administration with other organisations.
The school was located in one of Perth’s “blue ribbon” suburbs. It catered for students as young as four, through to young adults. Typically, students stayed with the school for 12 years, leaving when they finished high school.
The school had a high repeat rate between generations. Mothers who had been students were now sending their daughters there. There were 150 students at the school and eight teachers. Five boys attended the school. There were two classes each afternoon from 4pm to 7pm, as well as all day Saturday.
The emphasis at the school was on contemporary styles of jazz and modern dance, but it also had a strong classical school. Spanish dance was
John Koot is chief executive of Balfour Wauchope, Australia’s largest privately owned baking group. The company is based in Adelaide with 640 employees. He has been general manager of Westons Biscuits and general manager of Fine Earth Foods. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.
AIM: Can you describe your career in management?
Koot: I didn’t go to university. I started as a storeman, and became the youngest store manager in Victoria at Half Case supermarkets. I was in charge of a business turning over $200,000 a week and with 100 people. Supermarkets are the toughest training ground: you work on such slim margins and have such tough cost and financial controls. Human relations are also very important because a lot of the staff are casual.
AIM: What came next?
Koot: I had a young family and was putting in 100 hours a week. I became a sales rep with Westons biscuits, then a sales supervisor. Then I was promoted to state sales manager in Adelaide. When I landed there the area had been
Cultivating the learning organisation through coaching. By Suzanne Skiffington and Perry Zeus
How does one organisation achieve sustained success while a seemingly identical competitor is struggling? It is no accident that organisations consistently rated as leaders in their sectors are also some of the best places to work.
A New York institute recently asked employees in a wide variety of industries and vocations: “What is important in your job?” The top-ranking answer was “open communication”.
Coaching is an open-communication skill. The companies that ranked highest in the survey were led by people who communicate like coaches and facilitators rather than managers and bosses.
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A recent United States study on managerial learning suggests that formal developmental relationships – that is, coaching and mentoring – are the most effective means of encouraging growth and change in managers. Of the respondents with formal coaching programs, 77% cited improved retention and improved overall pe
By Tim Watts
The appointment of Fred Hilmer – a management academic with no media management experience who reportedly said that he does not read newspapers – to the chief executive post at John Fairfax Holdings was a surprise to many. But the decision of the Fairfax board highlights a growing trend in the recruiting of senior management.
Gone are days when the ability to manage an organisation effectively was considered to come from years of hard-earned experience in the ranks, understanding the organisation and its clients from the bottom up. The increasing professionalism of managers has ushered in an era of portable executives. The head-hunters estimate that the typical tenure of chief executives has fallen from between six and eight years in the 1980s to about three years for a new appointment today. A growing number of top managers are following a freelance career, traversing the globe applying an ever expanding set of skills to a variety of organisations in a range of
At the end of 1995 a business alliance was forged between the innovative high-tech New-Zealand company Spectrum Industries and the Hong Kong company Panda Computing, a company in the Ching Group. Panda wanted to move into the high-tech area that Spectrum was pioneering and was in a position to provide the alliance with the sort of market potential that Spectrum could never hope to match.
The alliance partners had decided on a sector with a short innovation cycle in the high-tech market of the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, the product and service that the alliance was developing needed to be launched quickly. As time was of the essence, executive appointments were made internally.
It was decided to locate the corporate headquarters in Hong Kong – close to the market for the product. The technical-support division of the company would remain in New Zealand, and senior management, marketing, finance and corporate and human resources would be gradually relocated to Hong Kong. A New Zealander, Peter Carpenter, was appoint
Rob Carter is chief executive officer of the Brisbane City Council, the world’s largest council (by area). Before that he was director-general of the Department of Planning and Housing in Victoria and director-general of the Housing Corporation of New Zealand. He has a master of economics from Monash University, and has studied at the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.
AIM: How did you begin your career?
CARTER: I ran my own consultancy for 13 years out of Melbourne. I did a lot of public sector projects in areas such as the labor market and industry studies, and developed a lot of contacts in public sector management. I took a job as the deputy of the director-general in the Victorian Ministry of Housing and Construction. The job in New Zealand (with the Housing Corporation) came up and I applied. That was when Roger Davis was changing everything: they had a very advanced approach and chief executives were expected to manage a high lev
I wish to make a complaint! Whether you are running a pet shop or a billion-dollar service industry, your reaction will probably be to hurry into the back room and hope someone else will handle things. By Jennifer Denham
Many businesses and staff complain about customer complaints. The most common perceptions of the process are:
However, there are benefits in customer complaints if you deal with them wisely. You can make them the avenue for improving your service.
WIIFM What’s in it for me?
The benefits of good complaint-handling:
Business teams and footy teams have much in common: ranging over the entire field has changed the game radically from what it was when each player stayed in position. But is the change for the best? By Adele Ferguson
In 1997 a financial services company spent countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars rejigging itself along team lines. It hoped to create a series of dream teams that would lift performance and change its command-and-control culture. Eighteen months later, the company is struggling. It has had mass walk-outs, its debt has blown out and it is recording losses.
Although this is an extreme case of what can go wrong with teams, it epitomises the problems corporate Australia is facing in the late 1990s. Most companies are organised along team lines. There are executive teams, cross-functional teams, process redesign teams, quality teams and self-directed work teams. Even management schools encourage, sometimes require, students to work in teams.
Teams have been a fad for 15 years. But, unlike most fa
De Best fashions is one of the four largest fashion-design companies in Melbourne. The company was established 15 years ago by the current managing director, Dorothy Lighthart.
About five years ago, while on a fashion tour through several states, Dorothy met Quita Wishnoski. Lighthart had seen a number of Wishnoski’s designs in a show and had taken an immediate liking to the designs.
As Lighthart considers herself to be a good judge of young talent she decided to hire Wishnoski to work in her company. At the time the company was only medium size, as a lack of top-quality designs had restricted the expansion of the company. Wishnoski was brought in as one of the company’s four main designers. Initially this meant a large increase in salary costs, but they were offset by the opportunity to design for a much larger clientele.
The four designers are directly responsible to the managing director, who coordinates all their tasks and maintains an active and informal relationship with them.
For three years Wi
David McNee is director of the metals trading company Pinard Enterprises and director of Sheet Metal Supplies, a company of which he was formerly executive director. He is a Fellow of AIM.
AIM: How did you start?
McNEE: When I finished school I didn’t want to go to university, so I decided on an apprenticeship, so I went into an engineering firm.
AIM: So you started at the bottom. How did you rise up?
McNEE: A lot of hours, and some of it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I have also wanted to be involved in other areas. I have always enjoyed my jobs.
AIM: How important is education in management?
McNEE: I have only become involved in education in the past two years when I did a business-management certificate at AIM and a diploma at the University of New England. When I was in the sheet-metal industry I would do 60 to 70 hours a week, so I didn’t get time. But since I have started doing training, I realised what I was missing; why this approach or that approach