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Mistakes administrations do
by Jay Gutman
2016-10-01 10:13:07
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I’ve worked with several administrations, and here are the mistakes that I have encountered in no particular order. Administration basically means being organized, and most mistakes involve lack of organization.

1. Giving company credit cards for purchases

They’ll go to the office supply store, invite the manager for a drink. Pay with the credit card, get the equivalent in cash, minus a small percentage. Or fake office receptions or office dinners, have a drink with the caterer, pay with the credit card, get the cash back, and the cash goes right into the pocket.

This doesn’t just happen in third world countries. If you want your employees to handle the cash properly, you probably want to have someone in charge of the petit cash. People tend to give the 20 dollar bill way more respect.

admin01_4002. Imposing  complicated software

Most employees, regardless of their educational background, are more comfortable with pencil and paper. Most employees are more comfortable using their brains.

You want to have an IT manager that will be the IT brain of your company. You want to put the computer science majors in charge of the IT and the software. You want regular employees to choose between simple software and pencil and paper, and you want them to hand those to the IT people for data processing purposes.

Software can slow down, can crash. It will also cost you a lot of time and money to train your employees learning how to use that software, employees who are often not IT majors and know little about computers. If you’re the kind of company that forces employees to use several types of software, expect office riots every time the software bugs, and the employees swearing it had nothing to do with the bug.

3. Making two people do one person’s job

If you ask two people to handle files, expect them to be chasing each other like cats chasing mice. When dishing out files, assign different people different categories of files. You can have them check if there’s no mistake, but don’t make them handle the files together. Don’t put two people on a project unless you’re absolutely sure they’re not trying to outcompete each other.

4. Hiring a fact-checking bully

You want someone in the office in charge of checking facts, making sure there’s no missing file and that the numbers got right. But if the person in charge of doing that is the hot-blooded kind of person who yells their lungs out the minute they see a small typo, you will have to invest a lot of time and money hiring new staff all year long. Trust me, most resignations at administrations involve fact-checking bullies.

5. Hire talkative people

When interviewing candidates for administrative positions, the more introverted the better. People who show signs of extroversion such as telling long stories or giving long answers to interview questions will tend to have trouble adjusting to the quiet environment administrative offices tend to be. Save the talkative ones for sales or counseling.

6. Hiring people who lack organization skills

During the hiring process, you will want to look for people who know how to put files in order and be able to present files and sheets in neat order. Some people are good at that, others are not.

7. Hire intellectuals

Administration is more of a “gray collar” job in-between a white collar and a blue collar job. Although the atmosphere tends to be more quiet and cleaner than most factories (depending where you work) administrations often involve jobs that require a lot of concentration but few analytical or problem-solving skills. You don’t want your administrators to have Masters’ degrees or to have backgrounds as academic researchers. Hiring intellectuals would be like hiring Einstein to solve three plus two.  

8. Provide painfully long job descriptions

One of the administrative positions I held included: technical writing, translation, interpretation, graphic design, photography, event planning and organizing, some teaching and training, handling budgets, classifying and organizing documents, calling and staying in touch with clients, sales, collecting documents, editing and proofreading documents, grading student assignments, public relations, video editing, HTML editing and keeping in touch with hundreds of people. I swear that was all in my job description and I wasn’t allowed to ask for help. I did not have 20 years’ experience before taking the job, nor was I provided a private office or the kind of wages the job description implies. I could barely walk when heading home and could not feel my legs at the end of the day. I did learn plenty of skills, but when dishing out job descriptions, take it easy. Oh, by the way, I was also not allowed to stretch when clients came in and had no room to stretch my legs. Oh, and I got fired for being sick.

9. Hiring people who like to yell at other people

Handling files involves care and demands lots of concentration. Yelling at an employee for making one mistake will only lead to a snowball of errors which could lead to an avalanche at your department.

10. Don’t pay people whose job is only to make sure other people are working

Infamous periods of history will be associated to your organization.

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Emanuel Paparella2016-10-01 11:04:36
One of the most sterling example of efficient and effective organization is of course that of Adolf Hitler. They managed to plan and administer a Holocaust in a 90 minute conference and then executed the plan in 3 short years, exterminating 11 million innocent people, never asking why the trains had to be made to run on time. They did many other things efficiently. There is a politician in the Philippines who admires the efficiency and plans to imitate it... Indeed, there is order, and then there is order...

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