Category: Productivity

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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Excel Mastery is What Exactly?

I used to think that the more Excel formulas you knew and the more adept you were at macros, the more you could claim Excel mastery. I have changed my mind.  Those who create complex spreadsheets that are beyond the skill and understanding of their users are pushing the program beyond it’s useful limits. Spreadsheets

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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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The Mystery of the Black Box

The black box is usually associated with tragedy.  However, this post is not about airplane accidents.  It is about wasted opportunities and undefined steps. There is a cartoon that shows a blackboard full of calculations.  The calculations on the left hand side are, presumably, Step One and those on the right hand side must be Step Three.  Between

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Annotated Timeline for School Funding (California)

When I first started out in California school business, I was a bit confused by the state’s revenue certifications and re-certifications.  I wished I had an overview of the entire process. So – here’s one I put together: Annotated Principal Apportionment Timeline This does not contain enough detail to be used instead of your complete annual calendar,

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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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