Business Administration Education Guide

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What makes an Expert?

As I was responding to questions posted in a free Business Administration forum I was told that I could not promote myself / business by including my blog link. I was told that people in the forum were paid to give professional ‘counsel’. I asked what the difference was between paid professional counsel and free advice from someone who has 10 years of business experience. The question went unanswered.

I believe this is a legitimate question that goes beyond a title. Was I out of place for posting my advice with my blog link because I was not being paid by the free forum owners? I have met Professional Counsel of different industries that had only 2 to 5 years of experience.

I believe this is misleading to the people who choose to follow those who decide their small minimum amount of years of experience classifies them as ‘Experts’. Further, I believe that probably all industries should have a minimum number of years before a person can claim they are experts or even allowed to say they offer experienced counsel in their field. Who wants to go a Heart Surgeon ‘Expert’ with only 3 or 4 years of experience? An expert to me means they have several years of experience and continuingly updates their skills with continued education in their chosen field of business.

Most of the replies I saw to legitimate questions were false, rude or negative. Yet we constantly hear other people talk about how rude and heartless the world has become. How can this ‘change’ materialize if we as individuals do not become the change we want.

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi

Niels Bohr, father of modern theories of atomic energy, said that "an expert is a person who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field."

As our knowledge of things expands, the ability of an individual to know all things about a field diminishes. Computer manufacturing is broken into several subfields

Large mainframes, components of the machines, personal computers, business machines, laptops and then, of course, there’s all the software needed to run the gizmos smoothly.

Assuming that a field of knowledge exists, then learning a great deal about the subject can make you an expert. Knowing as much as there is to know about the subject and doing something with that knowledge can make you a great expert. Expertise is a prerequisite to responsible and important writing on a topic.

No, I’m not an expert, I am only offering my opinions.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Box ordinance gets vetoed by city mayor

The city council of Chicago, IL failed to override Mayor Richard Daley’s veto of the business ordinance being called Big Box. If the city council had undone the veto the ordinance would have required large business retailers in the city to pay their workers higher wages.

My first question is who came up with the name for the ordinance? Did it start out as a joke or was it intentionally named ‘Big Box’? In truth, the wages that retail employees are paid is shamefully low. If your boss doesn’t like you, you stand to have your hours cut which in a dominos effect could result in you living in cardboard box.

City council of Chicago, IL held a vote of 31 to 18 which was three votes short of the 34 votes needed to override the mayoral veto. However, Ald. Joe Moore (49th), sponsor of the so-called Big Box Living Wage Ordinance, has vowed to continue the fight by presenting a new measure that would be broader, applying to workers of companies with at least 1,000 employees.

Services Employees International Union (SEIU) president says he’s not discouraged because they have made progress in their fight for better wages.

In the last couple of days, I’ve been doing a lot of business administration research on Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization for businesses. One title that has been coming up frequently in forums and searches is Having no idea what this was and blaming my Libra curiosity as well as my geek hag characteristic I started researching and Goggled My self learning Tech education continues to become more Gumbo than Chicken Noodle soup.

While people are becoming less communicative in the walking (especially the business) world and plugging remotely into the virtual one; Yahoo is continually and aggressively moving forward in effort to be top dog in everything online and to administration needs.

Yahoo bought in order to bring new features and servers to their users; which is a social book marking service mainly used by the IT savvy. The power of community is ever present online and while some may not stop to add our voice on the street, three times the amount will in the power of online communities. looks to be anther neighborhood. For those who are computer efficient but IT inefficient, you may feel like a greaser (1950s) - from the wrong side of the tracks.

Your account requires a download which could discourage the IT challenged. The download takes only a moment and requires you to close and re open your browser. However, once you have your new account, you’re left to wonder “what now”?

Directly under your profile links is ‘Hot Now’. Looking at the link titles alone perplexed me. There was a posting called Legend of the BloodNinja which read like a bad IM session from a stranger that picks your IM name at random in desperate hope of communication that will eventually lead to an online date (to be polite). This was followed by news of the latest program release by MSN and that was followed by Nano talk. NOTE: Nano - A prefix meaning one-billionth.

On the right side of the web site you’ll see a listing of ‘Tags To Watch’. Funny was the first ‘Tag’ and I pondered again, which holds the majority of reasons for use - Personal or Work Related? In order to keep my curiosity business related I click on Business. Each tag has a list of subjects that you can click on. But what my voyeur nature was more interested in was how many other people saved the tag in their sharable profile. By seeing “saved by” 29 people / 234 people / 920 people on different tags enticed me to click on the tag to know why so many people were saving the tag.

My first curiosity was MySpace: The Business of Spam. It was saved by 129 people and talked about the ingenious business marketing & advertising behind MySpace. Almost every one I know has a MySpace profile including myself. I got tired of being asked why I didn’t know about a particular event when it was clearly posted on their MySpace; “don’t you have a MySpace profile”? I do now.

After reading the mildly interesting theory of the MySpace beginnings I decided to ‘Save This’ in my profile. However I couldn’t find the ‘Save This’ link inside the article. I stumbled around for a while before I realized that I was transported to a different web site from So I pressed the back arrow button and there next to the title was ‘Save This’. Ahhhhhhh Got it. I decide this is worth keeping so that many other people can read about (in my opinion) the newest form of Spam. After saving the link I go to My Bookmarks and see that I now have 1 saved link for my newest neighborhood to enjoy.

While most of what is on is Tech Talk soup there are some very interesting articals, news releases and references for us not so savvy tech people. Rather or not it has a future even with Yahoo’s name behind it remains to be known. It looks like Yahoo gained more an advantage from the workings of while hasn’t gained much from Yahoo’s branding.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Choosing your battles

Impossible people are everywhere and normally I can avoid them by just not returning their calls or emails or by simply walking away. However, when an impossible person is someone in business the answer isn’t always so easy. I remember one particular administrative co worker I shared an office with. The position and company was an ideal match for me, however the co worker I shared a business office with created an unbearable administrative environment. The entire department including other business administration departments literally dreaded any communications or activities with this person and had filed several complaints with Personnel without any improvement. To make matters worse I was one of only a few people who stood up to her bullying. This only antagonized her into more radical bullying.

The concept of picking your battles is supposed to mean you pick the battles that you can win. Choose your battles carefully. Don't let frustration or exuberance lead you into a situation where even if you win, you lose. Winning isn't just about winning the argument - it's also about resolving the problem or maintaining a relatively sane business administrative relationship with the person. From my own experience based education I believe that choosing the timing of your ‘battle’ can be more important than choosing what to battle over. There will always be occasions when what you want to win will weigh heavily on timing.

If the person with whom you’re having a problem with is reasonable and sensible, solutions are relatively simple. I’ve learned to ask myself two questions when the person seems genuinely levelheaded.

  • Was the mistake my fault?
  • Is this a case of misunderstanding?

Try to see it through the eyes of the other person. Does the mistake or problem cause them difficulty? If a mistake cost me 2 extra hours of administrative work I would definitely be upset. If this is the case and you are at fault there is every reason to believe that apologizing will end the problem. After apologizing, ask this person to show you what not to do so you don’t repeat it.

If this isn’t a mistake of yours you can either eat it as yours and let the person who did the mistake know what happened or you can ‘pass the buck’ by letting them know who made the mistake.

I have taken the mistake as my own and let the other person know. This solved a potential argument while it also created a more positive business relationship with someone else. In one case, I learned that the ‘mistake’ had a much longer history than just 1 person or incident. After back tracking and investigating the newest mistake to the original; we found out it was created by a software malfunction a year and a half before we had been hired. In addition, there were several of these little mistakes lingering about in the business’s internal system.

Everyone I know has encountered an impossible person at one time or anther. Rather the person was an administrative co worker or an irate client; they tend to share three main characteristics:

  1. They are convinced that everything is someone else's fault
  2. They believe they have done no wrong
  3. They cannot be reasoned with

There is no one right answer in dealing with impossible people. I’ve had a career with both healthy & toxic business relationships. When faced with a toxic administration I have tried different methods to resolve the situation or at the minimum continue a business environment with as little confrontation as possible. The one thing I have realized is that each person I have had a confrontation with have responded differently to what should have and what should not have worked. As I travel down Memory Lane here is my education in dealing with impossible / difficult people.

Recognize there may not be anything you can do about impossible people.

Impossible people have developed a complete mastery of blaming skills and could be education experts. They can proficiently convince others that they are the victim or someone else is the cause of all the mistakes. Realize that if you accept responsibility for your own faults and resolve to improve yourself, it's not you; it’s them who are the problem. Remember, impossible people can do no wrong.

You cannot deal with impossible people the same way you deal with everyone else.

On most occasions you may have to confront impossible people the same way you would confront a child having a temper tantrum. I remember confronting a roommate who wasted away six weeks and couldn’t pay the following month’s rent. I told her half of the rent was her responsibility and she needed to find a way to pay her obligations. She flew into a rage screaming about how she couldn’t deal with all the pressure I was putting on her and how unfair it was that I couldn’t “just deal with it” that she didn’t have the money. Her temper tantrum got do dramatic that I actually started laughing without meaning to. Needless to say she moved out a couple of days later.

Protect your self-esteem.

If your ‘impossible person’ is a business administrative co-worker you work with daily they may portray you as the source of all evil. You need to take active steps to maintain a positive self-image. Remind yourself that this person's opinion is not the truth. However, do not defend yourself out loud in an argument; it will only provoke the impossible person into another tirade. Much like not showing fear to a wild animal, do not show anger to an impossible person. They will grasp anything that provides them the opportunity to lay blame and guilt on you.

Don’t allow the impossible person make you into a “replica" of them self.

If you find that you suddenly understand and agreeing with the impossible person chances are you may be adopting much of the offender's own behavior. This is a huge and precious gift to the impossible person so please avoid it at all costs. I know it sounds terribly cheesy but be a "can do" person. Human behavior is changed through positive modeling.

Impossible people will see your kindness as weakness.

When an impossible person asks something of you, don’t decline right away. If the favor is something that helps you, a co worker or a business, project go ahead and do the favor. However, if it is something that you honestly don’t have time for or the ability to complete kindly, confidently and regretfully decline. Sometimes, just one favor will turn a person’s behavior towards a more positive one. On the opposite side of the coin… one favor can also add fuel to an already building wild fire, so consider the favor and outcome before accepting.

  • Be confident but not argumentative
  • Do not attempt to make any physical contact with the person; even if it seems harmless or well intentioned.
  • Ignore them
  • Kill them with kindness
  • Never tell others in the administration office how you feel about this person. You never know who talks to whom
  • Talk to your boss / supervisor

If all else fails, start looking for a new business. Full time employees spend 40 hours a week at the same place. Salaried employees can spend much more per week. The hours may not always be happily satisfying but neither should they be horrendously stressful. We should spend as many hours as we can enjoying what we do in our lives. People who have become ‘impossible people’ have given up on life and feed off those who have not. A personal hero for me is Donald Trump who said if you’re not enjoying what you do for a living than your not doing the right thing.

Gadget Of The Week by Time Online

"A Two-Wheeled Mouse That Roars"
Gadget Of The Week by Time Online