Ask "Z"

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?

Best flop ever!

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

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?

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?