Ask "Z"

Your mission, should you choose to state it

November 8, 2018
Q. Our company has no mission statement. I’m not quite in a position to write one, and it seems like we’re doing fine without it. Should I start the ball in motion toward creating one, or let it lie?

I’m CEO, but come on, I just work here!

November 8, 2018
Q. I’m tired of caving to the ‘You were in charge when this bad thing happened so you need to take responsibility’ mentality and apologizing for things I realistically have no control over. Look, I oversee 100 people and can’t be everywhere at once. How do I state this without seeming like I’m weak?

Benign dictatorship? It’s a gamble

October 21, 2018
Q. I find that my people respond powerfully to assertive, one-sided authority. But is this model dead? Am I a dinosaur?

When it’s okay to be a little paranoid

October 11, 2018
Q. In a society where things we did and said twenty years ago can be so easily retrieved and held against us, I’m nervous seeing my name attached to so many work documents I never actually see, emails from the company, etc. Am I being needlessly paranoid?

Desperate times call for desperate mediations

September 13, 2018
Q. Two people who work for me have an extreme personality conflict going back a couple of years. I think it’s irreparable. Separating them is impractical; they represent the entirety of their division. What should I do?

Help! I’m not funny!

September 13, 2018
Q. I give a lot of presentations and am always envious of people who can evoke a laugh in all the right spots. I myself just don’t have that skill. Can it be learned?

Is MBWA now DOW?

August 9, 2018
Q. I used to hear a lot about “management by walking around,” but not so much anymore. Has it become passe?

‘You’re choosing sheet cake over us?’

August 9, 2018
Q. I just had a top person tell me he won’t be attending an absolutely vital meeting next month because he’d promised to be there for his kid’s birthday. When I pushed him a little, he said it was a thing he “really needed to do.” Do I respect this guy totally or think of him as lacking in what it takes to bring him up to the higher levels?

Laugh and the company laughs with you?

July 12, 2018
Q. Thinking back on all the jobs I’ve ever had, it occurs to me my favorite managers and leaders all had one thing in common—a hearty, even booming laugh. Is there a lesson here?

Oh, the passion!

July 12, 2018
Q. If I see one more claim from someone on LinkedIn about how “passionate” they are about their work, I’ll lose it. Really, how many people are lying through their teeth about their so-called “passion”?