Ask "Z"

How much does a résumé lie matter?

April 11, 2019
Q. Recently, it came to light—only to me—that one of our star employees lied on his résumé six years ago to get the job. Our organization has a zero-tolerance policy on dishonesty, so I’m in a real bind here. This person’s production is really off the charts. Any advice?

Meet the new boss, humbler than the old boss

March 14, 2019
Q. I’m taking over a company and soon I’ll have to get up before 400 people, greet them and explain my vision. But what is the very first thing I need to say up on that podium?

When it all seems so empty

March 14, 2019
Q. I recently had a health scare, followed by that moment of realizing how meaningless so much of the pursuit of business success is. Now I’m looking for a way to care again about work before my performance slips further. What should I do?

Best flop ever!

February 10, 2019
Q. What business failure was the most educational for you?

It’s a conference, not a vacation

January 10, 2019
Q. Our company is liberal with sending its people to various conferences around the country. They all come back seemingly rejuvenated and flush with new ideas. Some of it is useful; most of it is not. What can I do to ensure that these costly training trips don’t turn into junkets?

Wait, you mean there’s something more important than money?

December 13, 2018
Q. I’m considering taking a prime job but suspect I’m being low-balled on my compensation. On the other hand, there’s fierce competition for the job and I don’t want to make waves I can’t settle before they make their decision. How important a factor has compensation been in your own career?

Don’t make ‘rival’ a dirty word

December 13, 2018
Q. I just took over a small company and am considering befriending the main business rival in our area. In general, do you think that “keep your enemies close” game is worth playing?

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?