Category: Management

“I Don’t Have Time”

When my son was little, he wanted me to buy him a toy each time we went to the store. I would usually say no. “Why?” he would ask “Can’t we afford it?” My answer: “We can afford it but, this time, I am not buying this toy.” With the mortgage and school fees, yes,

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Advice from an Interim Mentor

She grabbed my arm and, sounding like some sort of romance heroine, said “Don’t go! I never had this before.” “What?” I asked. “A mentor,” she said. The district had taken its time to find the right replacement for its vacant Director of Finance position. It was a big promotion, but she was definitely the right person

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Procedures – or Not?

When I started my first “real” job at a California bank I was shown volumes of procedures manuals. Once, when I didn’t know what do next, I called someone at head office and was icily informed “It’s in the manual.” Then I switched jobs to different bank, one that prided itself on being small, regional and customer focused. I

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A Candidate’s Interview Questions

At the end of any job interview a candidate is often asked “Do you have any questions for us?” When the candidate answers “No, not really” the impression is created that they aren’t interested, insightful, or engaged. Here are some typical candidate questions from Business Insider. Check them out and consider asking a couple of these at the

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Gossip: Good Sign, Bad sign, or Just a Sign?

The Harvard Business Review just came out with an article “Stop Enabling Gossip on Your Team“. Yet in 2013 that same magazine published an article entitled “Go Ahead and Gossip.” As a consultant I spend a month or two at a school district and then move on. The level of gossip in an organization is immediately clear to

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Book Review: Magic Words by Tim David

What can a magician teach you about business?  A Lot, it turns out. To quote the author: It’s pretty hard to be a leader if no one is following. If you want to move mountains you need to be able to move people…Most people try to motivate others by begging, bribing, and reasoning them to

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Interview questions about strengths and weaknesses are old standards. Everyone preparing for a job interview needs to be prepared to answer them. Strengths: Forbes suggests that you brag without being obnoxious. Provide concrete examples to illustrate your successes. Tell a couple of brief stories and make them memorable Weaknesses: This is the hard part. The classic advice is to

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Book Review: Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work

I wish I could have read “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does” by Susan Fowler at the start of my career. It would have been helpful to not only learn the concepts but also to be coached in their practice. I have gleaned some of this information from mentors and coaches, such as: “money is only a de-motivator”. and “when you

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Three Monkeys and the Question of Evil

When we were in Bali in February we purchased a set of “Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil” figurines.  When we got home we realized we had been given two “Speak’s” and no “See’s”. This led me to ponder – should we really endeavor to see no evil?  I suppose in the Buddhist tradition one would

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Grants, Entitlements, and Carryover

When I started working at a California school district one of the first things I had to learn was the difference between a grant and an entitlement. A few years ago the state accounting manual was revised to refer to funding sources (resources) as either those with a fund balance or those with unearned revenue and no fund balance.

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