Photo credit: SAMANTHA GÜT

Department of Education failed to treat student tuition aid notifications as mission critical

This year, the annual process of informing college-bound students of their federal tuition aid package has been a fiasco due to numerous issues with the redesigned Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form launched by the U.S. Department of Education. If a system is mission critical to the success of an enterprise, run the old system in parallel with the new system until it’s debugged, before ceasing operation of the old system. Not doing so is irresponsible and has far reaching adverse consequences.

Too many ‘chiefs’ strip accountability from people who actually run the business

The use of the chief officer title continues to proliferate to now include chief cloud officer, chief AI officer, chief DEI officer, chief sustainability officer, chief impact officer, chief listening officer and chief knowledge officer. Bestow a chief officer title only when the position is mission critical to the success of the company. The chief officer position, however, must never dilute the accountability of executive line or staff management.

Don’t let your company’s bureaucracy stand in the way of success

A frequent complaint of business unit managers is that staff department bureaucracy impedes their ability to get things done due to unnecessary policies and procedures that take time and discretion away from running their business. Policies and procedures that are not related to legal/compliance requirements or good management practices can get out of hand. They strip the business unit managers’ ability to effectively run their businesses. These policies need to be periodically reviewed and sunsetted if they serve no useful purpose.

How should university presidents respond to campus protests?

American Jewish students do not impact Israeli policies, so why are they being harassed, threatened and intimidated on many campuses across the U.S.? The reason is antisemitism. Students who are not protesting also have rights. They have the right not to have their ability to attend class disrupted by protestors who have taken over campus buildings. So, How should university presidents respond to campus protests?

Stay ahead of the market to avoid being obsoleted by competition

How do you avoid being overtaken by a competitor introducing a new product or service? Develop products and services that customers and clients don’t yet know they need, even if it means making obsolete your current product or service offering. Better you do it than a competitor. Follow the advice of Andy Grove, the former chairman and CEO of Intel: “Only the paranoid survive.” In business, there is no truer statement.

How not to increase shareholder value

Is violating the law and paying fines just the cost of doing business, placing profits above corporate responsibility? No! I like the ethical standard to which Warren Buffett held the employees of Salomon Brothers when he served as interim chairman: “Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.”

My 500th column: Advice fundamental to your personal success

This is an important milestone for me—my 500th column published by the Philadelphia Business Journal. In this column, I share advice that I believe is fundamental to our personal success. These are: Take advantage of opportunities that come your way and create your own opportunities. Get out of your comfort zone. Your personal integrity and reputation are everything. “Where does the power come from to see the race to its end? From within.”

Employee trust in their leaders is key to building a high performance team

The foundation of every effective organization is trust in that organization’s leadership. An annual Gallup survey indicated that in August 2023, only 23% of employees agreed with the survey question, “I trust the leadership of this organization.” Quoting the Gallup survey, “However, when leaders communicate clearly, lead and support change, and inspire confidence in the future, 95% of employees say they fully trust their leaders.” So, how does a leader engender trust?