Category: Management

Grant Carryover: An Ounce of Prevention

I have a short term assignment at a new district.  When working with grants that carry over year after year it is a great idea to check that the “carryover” amount is correct.  I did a quick check yesterday on two grants and found in fact the carryover was not correct on either of them. For the

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Gift Cards Anyone?

The short answer – just say no! Here’s a thought experiment.  Imagine I want to give you a bonus of $100 as appreciation for your hard work and dedication to education.  I cannot just do it because: You are in a union.  This payment has to be bargained. The board of education has adopted a salary schedule.  If

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When Communication is a Problem

We all believe that communication is the key to all good relationships, whether these are of a personal or business nature. Lately, when I’ve been told that “there’s a memo on that” or asked “have you read the manual,” I am reminded that there is also the type of communication that signals that something dysfunctional is going

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I Never Want to Talk to You Again

The county where I am currently working has one of the most wretched computer systems in creation.  Everything is messy: it is just workaround on top of workaround.  There are so many places where you can do real damage.  For example, how do you handle a new salary schedule?  Just overwrite the old one. And

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You are Worth my Time

Much has been written about disengaged employees. Right now they could even make up the majority of your company’s workforce and they are impacting your productivity and your bottom line. Some employers simply blame the employee.  They approach this problem by hiring slowly and firing fast. All well and good, and I support it.  But

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An Interview Question on a Mission

If you are going for a leadership role in the Business Services section of a school district, you are probably going to be asked something like the following in an interview. If we hire you into this role, how will you advance the mission of the school district? Not Recommended: You created this position so I don’t have to tell

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The Handshake of Death

A handshake should be neither limp nor bone-crushing.  This is common knowledge. But how should you handle a death-grip handshake that is clearly designed to intimidate? I inadvertently stumbled across the answer when meeting with a customer who had used our bus services and was now not paying the bill. The transportation manager had arranged the meeting.  I

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Reasons and Excuses, Bali Edition

My grandfather used to say “reasons are not excuses,” meaning that just because you have a reason, don’t expect that to function as an excuse to relieve you of the consequences of your actions. I used to plan our family vacations down to the gnat’s eyelash.  For each trip I would make a binder that functioned as a

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Reasons, Excuses, Rationalizations

My mother recently had a fence replaced.  The “Fence Guy” was a self-employed franchisee for a national chain.  When he did not show up on the appointed day my mother left three unreturned messages before complaining to the franchisor.  Fence Guy eventually called back and said he was behind and he would be there in three weeks. 

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Resources for Aspiring School Business Leaders

Continuing my series for future school business leaders, I offer short commentaries on some of the most useful technical and policy resources for California school business aspirants.  In no particular order, here they are: 1.  School Services of California.  This is a subscription service.  If you are in California it is likely that your school district is a

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