Ask "Z"

Ex-colleague trashes us online: What to say?

June 8, 2022
Q. A senior leader was let go from our company. As a friend of hers, I’ve become aware of disparaging things she now writes online about it—nothing widely seen, but I think many of them are unjustified. I want to stay friends, but also put an end to these inaccuracies. Any suggestions?

How to get your team to huddle up again

May 11, 2022
Q. I’m starting to feel like a football coach who has “lost the locker room.” After a couple of projects went very bad, I sense the staff has lost faith in me. What can I do?

When to present your vision to your employees

April 13, 2022
Q. Do you set aside specific times to convey to your employees your grand vision for the organization, and for them?

Fancy business words that might mean nothing

April 13, 2022
Q. Which do you think is most important to your organization—mission, core values or vision?

Anger: The go-nowhere, get-nothing product

March 9, 2022
Q. I had an employee I came into conflict with two years ago, and I just can’t seem to get over what he did to me. We’re both at different jobs now, but a couple of mutual colleagues have noticed my bitterness. I’m not sure how to get over it—my anger surprises me.

Squash bad products in stage one

January 12, 2022
Q. I’m trying to write down basic new product principles to adhere to before anyone designs anything. What’s some good product design wisdom that can be boiled down into something memorable?

Do I dare get crazy with my life?

November 10, 2021
Q: At 45, I’m considering leaving the corporate life for a year, maybe even two, to travel abroad with my mind completely clear, just to learn and expand my horizons. In your experience, is it ever self-sabotaging to make a leap like this in the hopes my future will take shape afterward?

How can a grumpy veteran lead a newbie?

October 13, 2021
Q: Sometimes I think I’m doomed as a leader because I listen to what far younger people are saying and I think, “You just don’t get it. You don’t have any life experience. Just wait 20 years and see if you still believe your nonsense.” Am I just a hopeless dinosaur?

For hotheads, establish ground rules

October 13, 2021
Q: I was ready to interview a potential CFO with excellent qualifications when one of his references mentioned that while he was terrific, he also had “a bit of a temper.” I figure that this means it’s actually a big one. How do I bring up my concerns in the interview?

Embroiled in a “Knives Out” situation

September 8, 2021
Q. The VP of our company was just let go, opening the door for my colleague to run roughshod over a key division, making sweeping changes and instigating “performance-based” layoffs. I can tell he’s delighting in the chance to turn the tables on people he perceives to be rivals. What can I say to this person to get him to exert some self-control before he crushes employee morale even as profits improve?