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La Trobe Business School

Month: April 2018

LBS alumnus and MCFC leader talks about what makes a successful team

What does it take to guide an elite football team to win their record-breaking third championship title?

Former professional women’s soccer player and La Trobe Business School alumnus, Louisa Bisby, takes us behind the scenes in her role as W-League team manager at Melbourne City Football Club (MCFC).

 

 

Team manager versus coach

My position as a team manager is very different to that of a coach, because I don’t assess on-field performance and select the team. Instead, my role and responsibility is to offer individual off-field support to team members and ensure all football operations run smoothly. This starts from the moment a player signs with MCFC, throughout the season and to the end of their time with the club. It involves organising player registrations, transfer papers, flights, accommodation, transport, education assistance, post-football ambitions and any administration.

Logistically, it’s my responsibility to ensure that the players, coaches and support staff have all that they require to service the team to their best ability.

The most enjoyable part of my job is the variety of tasks. It’s everything from helping on-pitch, to organising equipment and kit; to off-field football operations and MCFC activations, such as coordinating player appearances. I communicate with a diverse group of external organisations, from governing bodies (like Football Federation Australia, International Football Federations such as the National Women’s Soccer League in the US, ASADA, and other W-League clubs), to community clubs, hotels, transport companies and travel agencies. The role’s diversity gives me a better understanding of the football landscape, players’ needs as individuals and their goals for life after football.

Often, I’ll be the first person a new player will see at the airport when they arrive from overseas or interstate. This means my initial interaction with them can potentially determine their first impression of the club. Should they stay, it’s then my role to make sure that they know MCFC provides support off-field and that they can approach me with any matter of concern.

As team manager, you need the ability to create a professional bond with everyone, on and off the field.

 

A team of differences

There’s many different personalities, cultures and age groups within a team. No one person is the same. Each player comes with a different story, upbringing and set of experiences. Within the A-League team, the youngest player is aged 17 and the oldest is in their 30s, so their levels of knowledge and life experience can vary.

As a previous player in the Australian W-League and Matildas representing Australia, I used to play with, and against, some of the MCFC W-League team, which also helps build trust. Due to having seen me play and what I have achieved, players feel confident that I understand the game and what it takes to reach the highest level.

A big part of creating a bond is the trust and the confidence that someone has to come and talk to you, whether it’s positive or negative. You need to be able to guide players in the right direction, ensure your choice of words is appropriate and, if needed, send a player to someone who is qualified to give the right advice.

Committing to a common goal is what leads a sporting team to success. Players and staff must be dedicated to supporting one another on and off-field to win a title. Collectively, people need to ensure that everything is in place throughout the journey for players to succeed. It’s not just about the football operations, but the professionalism to help players come into an environment that’s easy, where they can walk in, get changed, and know what they’re doing at all times.

It’s known that if there’s something else in an athlete’s life, they’re more successful, because good sport/life balance gives them another focus away from elite competition and the pressure to perform. It is my goal to get players studying or doing something else other than playing football.

 

Studying at LTU

Completing a Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) at La Trobe was beneficial for my career. It gave me insight into how the sports industry worked, how policies and procedures were implemented and also accounting and budgeting. It helped me establish my organisational skills and see the importance of communication with a variety of people from all aspects of life. As part of the course, I did a practical placement at VicSport, which supplemented the theory I’d learned.

Having studied at La Trobe, I can say it’s one of the best sports universities in Australia.

It’s a very supportive, athlete-friendly university. My lecturers were easy to talk to and very understanding of my football career. It’s not just the course content that allows you to gain career opportunities, it’s also advice from the lecturers when you need it and a professional network. The teachers have a lot of contacts within the sports industry. Since graduating, I’ve maintained relationships with lecturers like Professor Russell Hoye and Dr Pam Kappelides. They’re always willing to have a conversation and ask me how I am.

My advice is to gain as much experience as you can while you’re at university. At university, I knuckled down, studied hard for three years, made networks and did some volunteering. I helped out with couple of local football clubs and volunteered at events like triathlon and rugby. Even if it’s not a sporting event, you’re still going to learn something, there are always logistics behind it. It’s about challenging yourself – the more experience you have, the higher your chance of getting a job.

 

La Trobe University and A-League soccer team the Melbourne City Football Club have been proud partners since the club’s inception in 2009

 

My first job was as Game Development Officer for the former Melbourne Heart Football Club, which put my uni degree to good use in the workplace. In this role, I organised, planned and managed festival clinics and community events in suburban and regional areas, schools, local community centres and football clubs. The work also involved match day activations, including small-sided games at half time, football clinics and mascots (5-12-year-olds that walked out with players before the match).

When I got the job at Melbourne Heart FC, they didn’t only just ask the references on my resume, they also rang different coaches and spoke to my lecturers to find further information about me.

It’s a big industry with tight networks. Your sporting achievements and behaviour, along with your professional reputation, definitely contribute. You need to behave in a manner that will assist you with potential future work, regardless of whether you’re an elite athlete or not.

 

This blog post was originally published on NEST. Read the original article.

Highered helps LBS students, graduates and alumni get hired

La Trobe Business School is a member of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), a global accreditation network of 488 top business and management schools. The La Trobe MBA and the Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality) are both accredited by EFMD through the prestigious EFMD Programme Accreditation System (EPAS).

Highered

The EFMD network has a Global Career Service called Highered, only offered to member schools,which provides a platform on which organisations can post employment, trainee and internship positions for students, graduates and alumni. Only those studying at or who have graduated from an EFMD member institution have access. All La Trobe students and graduates can now take advantage of the LBS school accreditation and join others within the EFMD network, linking with employment and internship organisations around the world.

Globally there are more than 50,000 students using Highered-EFMD Global Career Services, with approximately 1,500 new members joining each week. Just in the last three months, there have been more than 100,000 views of positions at over 100 companies.

How does it work?

Once an account is made, you can login to your personal homepage to find internship, trainee positions, and graduate positions that are relevant to you from companies around the world.

Online assessment

There is also the opportunity to complete a complimentary online assessment, focused on work-related behaviour, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and motivation. This is a useful tool as there is an increase in corporations using online assessment solutions in their hiring practices. The online assessment can help to prepare for interviews and thereby gain a competitive advantage in the recruitment process. The resulting report is for personal use and is not shared with or accessible by companies or La Trobe Business School. The tests are delivered by cut-e, the world leader in online assessment, and are only accessed via your personal account.

Join today to get Highered!

Why risk management is so crucial the start-up economy

Traditionally business risk management has been used to reduce and better understand the likelihood and uncertainty various ‘events’ can have on businesses achieving their objectives e.g. financial uncertainty, legal liabilities, strategic management decisions, cyber threats, accidents, natural disasters and business continuity etc. Increasingly, however, business risk methods are being incorporated into new start-up sciences, business design and prototype testing for new ideas, products and services well before firms go to market. Application of these risk based start-up sciences is also a key strategy to help new start-ups attract potential investors by minimising investor risk.

Disruption

The global business environment is being driven by new digital technologies and disruption. This includes 3D printing, quantum computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence and new platform economics led by Facebook, Google, Uber, and Alibaba etc. (see Klaus Schwab, 2016, The Fourth Industrial Revolution). It continues to be a problem, however, that a lot of entrepreneurs and start-ups fail because they do not clearly understand the ‘risks’ associated with their business proposition from the start. In this context they waste time, money, resources and effort building the wrong product or service for the wrong market at the wrong time.

Risk mitigation and systematically de-risking

So increasingly building a successful product and business is essentially about risk mitigation and systematically de-risking your business model overtime by identifying and testing the problem your product or service is attempting to solve. Applying more rigorous start-up scientist helps reduce the ‘risk ‘of business failure. The approach requires you to develop a feasible solution and prototypes and to try out on consumers to give feedback before launching the final product to the market. Start-up sciences include Design Thinking, Lean Canvas and Innovator’s Method etc. to reduce risks and manage uncertainty across the key end-to-end start-up design process.

For example, in 2012, Ash Maurya redesigned Osterwalder’s earlier Business Model Canvas to develop his Lean Canvas idea.  The Business Model Canvas provided a template describing nine essential elements of an existing business: customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, resources, activities, partnerships, and costs. Maurya’s Lean Canvas is a one-page business modelling tool that helps increase the probability of success by starting with the customer and using information or data derived from business-model hypotheses to lower risk and reduce uncertainty.

National Innovation Forum

At the La Trobe Business School/NORTH Link National Innovation Forum held in September 2017 a number of business leaders, consulting firms and academics came together to discuss Australia’s innovation system and how to increase innovation particularly for start-ups and SMEs. Several of the presentations chose to focus on the use of start-up science as a means to reduce business risk and manage business uncertainty.

For example, Antonio Palanca, CEO and Co-Founder of the HiveXchange presented a case study on his business, which has created a new form of business-to-business e-commerce called trust-based e-commerce, which is designed specifically to meet the challenges in perishable produce supply chains. Palanca described the company’s journey and how the use of Lean Canvas methodology shaped field experiments and prototypes to reveal problems early that became the foundation of HiveXchange’s trust based e-commerce software. Palanca explained that the benefit of this approach was that as you go through the stages you reduce risk and therefore become more attractive to investors and you can drive more commercial innovation on a global scale.

Similarly, Christine Axton, Director in Monitor Deloitte’s strategy practice, presented a short overview the innovator’s method and illustrated its application in a case study. Based on the work of Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer (2014) the innovator’s method is designed to help firms to specifically manage uncertainty in the innovation process. The innovator’s method offers a set of tools and methods to consider and test uncertainty at each of the end-to-end innovation process steps.

Several other presenters at the Forum referenced Eric Ries’ book The Lean Start-up: Creating Growth through Innovation, as a major influence on their business or teaching practice. The thrust of Ries’ book is that start-ups tend to be much higher-risk endeavours than they need to be because they build elaborate products before testing them with consumers. Applying Ries’ build, measure lean-loop, allows firms to reduce waste, optimise production processes and find out what their customers really want before they go to market.

 

What the above illustrates is that the traditional application of business risk methods and tools are changing. The future of business risk management is no longer just seen as a method to identify, assess and control threats to an existing firm’s systems, people, capital and earnings.  It is increasingly used as a key part of the start-up science that is nurturing a new generation of start-up businesses and de-risk businesses overtime.

 

This Blog is written by Dr Mark Cloney and originally published in Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RMIA), The Risk Magazine, No.3, March 2018, p.20. Read the full magazine here. Mark is Professor of Practice in Economics at the LBS. Prior to joining La Trobe University, Mark was the senior executive officer responsible for enterprises’ risk management, business planning, audit and protective security in the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water. Mark teaches in the economics discipline and risk management practice.

MBA becoming a pre-requisite for career advancement

La Trobe alumnus Marcus Guthrie completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in late 2015, studying night classes while working full-time. He’s now the CEO of Mildura Health Private Hospital, where he oversees 130 staff, three theatres, 29 in-patients beds, a day procedure unit and an oncology unit. Guthrie shares his insights on why you need an MBA to progress your career, and the benefits of studying at a regional Victorian campus.

La Trobe alumnus Marcus Guthrie, CEO of Mildura Health Private Hospital

From the hotel business to CEO of Mildura Health Private Hospital

I’ve been in management roles since 2000, albeit in a different career, as a director in luxury hotels around the world. My career path was from the Whitsundays, through the Caribbean, to the Seychelles and in the Maldives. There I was tasked with converting two islands from three star to five star. We mobilised 750 multinational staff and the project was quite successful. Along the way I had a family developing, so we decided to come home to Mildura. Initially, I was appointed General Manager of the Mildura Golf Resort. Then, I was awarded a position as Business Manager at the Mildura Base Hospital. That progressed to Patient Services Manager, looking after four departments and around 100 staff. And then Medical Administration Manager, taking care of all the senior specialists in the hospital, as well as Ramsay Healthcare Specialist clinic. In late 2017, I became the CEO of Mildura Health Private Hospital. As I was progressing in the healthcare industry, I realised I needed an MBA for three reasons. The first was the learning and growth opportunity; the second reason was that it’s really becoming a prerequisite to have an MBA on your file; and thirdly, largely, for career advancement. An MBA is fast becoming a prerequisite for career advancement.

Doing an MBA

Starting an MBA offers a fantastic learning and growth opportunity and a network of professional friendships. A lot of businesses require their middle to upper management cohort to have an MBA, for the value it brings to an organisation.

First, it cements the management fundamentals that you already know. What I found interesting was that management fundamentals haven’t really changed since the 1700 and 1800s, so it’s about learning to apply those theories to your everyday practice. It’s a good opportunity to reflect on those management fundamentals and prune them to suit the current business landscape. Second, there’s a large focus on sustainability and responsible, ethical leadership. I really enjoyed that aspect of the MBA – it ensured that I was on the right path within the work environment.

What I enjoyed the most was the networking. When I started my MBA there were 66 people in my cohort, many of whom I still keep in contact with – they’re from all different industries around Victoria and Australia. I learnt about their careers, about their professional challenges and professional opportunities, and the ideas they are trying to implement in their own careers. That was a really rich learning experience for me. Marcus was also drawn to the La Trobe MBA’s flexibility: “I could spend time with my family, handle my work commitments, but also have class time.”

La Trobe’s Mildura campus

La Trobe’s campus in Mildura was a significant factor for me starting my MBA, because I could complete the MBA from my home base. My job was really busy, but so was my personal life. We have three very young children, so I needed to support to my wife and children at home. At the time I spoke at length with the MBA Director and it was quite clear that the La Trobe MBA was a great opportunity for me. I could spend time with my family, handle my work commitments, but also have class time. There was great flexibility.

I was able to complete work, race home to see the family and then go to La Trobe to study one or two nights a week, from 6–9pm. I really enjoyed the night classes because they suited my lifestyle – they didn’t affect my work schedule. As well as that, there was the option of intensives from Fridays through to Mondays. You could pick various intensives on your calendar throughout the year and take off a significant amount of study time by doing that. And if I wanted to travel to Melbourne or the other regional campuses to complete my studies, I could.

Clear vision

My vision was to become CEO of this hospital one day. It still feels quite strange to have achieved my goal, although I’ve had a really clear vision for five or six years now. I remember saying to one of the Board members five years ago that, ‘Ultimately this is where I see myself and this is where I’d like to be’. It’s good to have a clear vision, but there’s a lot of hard work and also an element of luck involved – quite easily I could have gone in another direction. So that’s been a bizarre realisation, that I’ve actually got here – all the while knowing that the hard work has only just started.

There are many service moments in a patient’s journey that can have a positive effect on their overall care, says Mildura Health Private Hospital CEO Marcus Guthrie. You can draw a lot of parallels between hospitality and hospitals. Patient treatment should be viewed holistically, inclusive of all interactions a patient has throughout their journey of care. We look at a patient’s journey through a hospital as opportunities to care, and our interactions with family and friends of the patient are important contributions in the journey of care. It’s not just about treating the patient and the patient gets better, it’s also about the other contributions along the way: the quality of food and the friendliness of staff that deliver the food, the cleanliness of the hospital, or saying hello to a family member as you pass in the corridor. There are a significant amount of service moments in a patient’s journey that can have a positive effect on the overall care of the patient.

My vision for Mildura Private Hospital has always been to provide safe, quality healthcare. If the management team and I continue to have that goal, then I’m sure we’ll be very successful. The hospital’s a fantastic resource for Mildura. We service 70 per cent of Mildura Health Fund members and we also service a catchment area of Broken Hill, Renmark and Robinvale. It’s a really important hospital for the local community, especially because we’re co-located with the Mildura Base Hospital. There’s plans for expansion in the future, which will benefit the local community and members. Hopefully in the future, both hospitals can work together even further to improve service to the community.

Marcus Guthrie graduating from his MBA at La Trobe in 2015

 

I talk to people about La Trobe’s MBA all the time because I really believe in it. Don’t be worried about the workload. You should treat it similar to a sport, where you have to train two nights a week and then you generally have one day on the weekend that you’re committing to that sport. If you can commit that as the bare minimum, you should be able to navigate through an MBA quite easily.

 

This blog post was originally published on NEST. Read the original article.

Take home lessons from the ball tampering scandal

The ball tampering scandal is both simple and complex.  Simple in its conception and implementation. Complex in terms of its repercussions.

Ignominy.  Public shame or disgrace. That’s what I felt last week.  I was asked by ABC radio to comment on the suggestion that Australia needed to look to the New Zealand cricket team for guidance about how to develop a team culture that also embraced sportsmanship.  I lived in New Zealand from 2004 to January 2018.  For fourteen years, I had relied on the Australian Cricket team to mask the horrors of only two Rugby test match wins against New Zealand during my time in New Zealand. I was an expert in turning any conversation about New Zealand’s dominance of Australian rugby into a conversation about cricket.  The Australian Cricket team had been my cultural defence. On some days, it was my cultural attack.  My bouncer! And now I was acknowledging that “Maybe yes, the Australian Cricket team should look towards New Zealand for some inspiration and guidance”.  I should have added that the Cricket Australia hierarchy could contact any junior cricket coach should they be unsure about what is right or wrong in the context of a game of cricket. I am blaming the ignominy for being so forgetful.

Two weeks on, two issues stand out for me

Ten seconds. Maybe less. That is about all it took for Australian Cricket captain to process the information in front of him and fail to intervene. The rest, as they say, is history. In uttering the words “I don’t want to know about it”, Steve Smith committed a leadership faux pas of some magnitude. Taking no action is an action.  His silence provided tacit approval.  Or more eloquently, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke, the 18th century Irish political philosopher seemed to know more about 21st century Australian cricket than what he could have ever imagined. The take home lessons are: 1) The phrase “Hang on a second…” might be one the most useful phrases for the ethical leader, 2) Ethics are not just 24-7; ethics are also 60-60, as in minutes and seconds. Ten seconds. Maybe less.

The sanctions meted out to the “Cape Town Three” (i.e. Smith, Warner and Bancroft) are different from what have been handed to other miscreant players.  There is no better example than Faf De Plessis. Twice sanctioned for ball tampering, he has not been forced to miss a single game of cricket. One month after his second transgression, he was made captain of the South African cricket team. One tenet of natural justice is that the punishment must fit the crime. My argument here is not whether the punishment does or does not fit the crime. My argument is that the 9-month and 12-month suspensions are demonstrably different from that applied to other cricketers found guilty of the same rules violation.  Take home lesson is that there is natural justice and then there is cricket justice. And cricket justice is not concerned with benchmarking.

 

Ten seconds and sanctions without precedent. It’s just not cricket… as we knew it.

 

This blog is written by Dr Geoff Dickson, Associate Professor and Head of Department of Management Sport and Tourism. His teaching and research interests include governance, interorganisational networks, leadership, strategy, risk and law in the sport industry.

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