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Organization

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I work in a very disorganized shop in the entertainment industry. Everything is a last minute emergency. On every project, the owner assigns the wrong person to the wrong task, and he says to just get used to it. He ignores the shop manager, but listens to people with less knowledge. The owner means well, but does not see the light. I have been here for two-and-a-half years, and the only reason I hang on is that the work is fun. What is your opinion?
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Management retained a consultant to help our department run better, but he seems to know nothing about our department's technology, and very little about how to manage. We are open to new ideas, but we haven't heard one yet. This seems like a colossal waste of time and money. Any thoughts?
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I work in a very disorganized office. Everything is a last minute emergency. On one project, the boss asked several people to do the same job, and I spent two days on a project that had been assigned to someone else. My manager said we just need to get used to it. The turnover rate is extremely high, with many people leaving in disgust. Their complaints never make it past middle management. Is there any hope, or should I just jump ship?
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I work in a small business directly with the owner on a daily basis. He has a terrible time managing paper. He leaves letters, messages, and documents everywhere. Even visitors comment on the mess, and my papers easily get lost in his. I am not his secretary, but I would like to clean some of it up, although I don't want to ask him about each thing. How do I get things in order without confusing him or causing him to protest?
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We were just given extremely detailed job descriptions from the Human Resources Director. She said that there is too much overlap and confusion of job responsibilities, and this is the way to end it. Most of us feel the new descriptions are too structured, and although we have expressed this to her and to our manager, we feel stuck. What can you suggest?
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Our company did a reorganization of a few areas, and I have kept all of my past responsibilities, plus I am now over an area that I know very little about. The manager of the area seems competent, and I am taking the place of her former boss who left the company. I'm very busy as it is, and I don't think this department should have been placed under me. Is there a way to say this to my manager without looking weak?
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I have not been with this company very long, but it is one of the most unorganized businesses I have ever seen. In places where systems and procedures are needed, there are none, and many of the existing systems are long obsolete. My manager tells me that this looseness is by design, adding that chaos can build creativity and agility, and that companies that are too structured are left behind. Am I off base in thinking that this makes no sense?
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We have a new assistant supervisor, and the first thing she did was to rearrange people, causing our production to slow and errors to occur. Her newest plan has people standing around for three-quarters of the day, and the regular supervisor could not care less about this. Should we just wait for the boss to realize what is going on?
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My boss and I were discussing a difficult long-term employee who supposedly reports to me, but has made a career out of being belligerent and independent. I feel several major errors were made with this person, with the approval of my boss. This employee was converted from hourly to salary, and he now chooses to work minimum hours and leave early. My boss says I can terminate him, but I said, "I don't believe you." How do you set a salaried employee's hours, and, since all of this has damaged my relationship with my boss, how do I repair that?
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My manager gives me grief about the most trivial and time-consuming chores that I am supposed to complete. I admit that I am behind on them, but I do well on every important part of my job, and my manager says nothing. He only focuses on the incomplete minor tasks. What do you suggest?
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My manager rarely has any time to meet with me. The problem is that there is another manager who works closely with him who keeps giving me assignments. These assignments have nothing to do with my job and skills, and I don't like the work. My manager has told me to do what this manager says. What should I do?
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Our company backs its managers 100%, whether they are right or wrong. There are no checks and balances to see if a department needs attention by someone in senior management. What can an employee do about this?
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I get most of my assignments from my manager, but there is another manager at his senior level who also gives me projects and tasks. Although my manager is satisfied with my work, the other manager is never happy with it, and his communications are insulting and degrading. Most of the time, he is flat-out wrong. When I show him I am right, he ignores me. I've told my manager and he does nothing about it. How should I handle this?
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My manager is slowing taking away the most important and creative parts of my job and reassigning them to other people or to himself. I have told him that I can handle these responsibilities, but he takes them away anyhow. My job is getting awful and I am wondering what you suggest.
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I work in accounting and I report to the controller who reports to the owner. The controller gives me my assignments, but then the owner gives me other projects. My manager insists that I am only to do what he says and ignore the owner's requests. He says he'll deal with the owner. Whose orders should I follow?
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My office is a mess. I have piles of work scattered all over the place, but I know where everything is. I can find what I need quickly, even if I have to step over a pile or two. My boss said this is unacceptable and I have to clean it up. Does this make sense to you?
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My manager gave me an assignment, and I worked long hours for several days to complete it on time. When I gave it to him, he said that he changed his mind and does not need it. With that, he set it aside on his desk and gave me another assignment. There was no apology or explanation. How do I prevent the same thing from happening again?
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One of the managers who report to me makes long lists of whatever I assign to him. The problem is that when I follow-up, he scrambles through his list, finds the missing assignment, and says he'll take care of it. Too many projects are falling through the cracks, and I am wondering how to correct this.
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How do you deal with an employee who does very good work but whose office is a complete mess? There are papers piled all over the floor, chairs, table, and desk. I think she sets a bad example for her employees, and it's embarrassing when visitors see her office. Is there a way to improve this without interfering with her work?
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Whenever we have a department meeting, our manager puts me on the spot. If I make a presentation, he challenges me with impossible questions. If there is a discussion, he calls on me in the middle and asks a tough question. This is embarrassing and annoying, but I donít know how to get him to stop. What can you suggest?
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