July 19, 2006

What makes a good administrator? (All comments welcome)

Am presenting a session at next week's Warwick Network on this particular topic. Now I do have plenty to say on the subject but was interested in what others might think.

Am especially interested in relation to the issue of the adoption of or engagement with (or indeed comprehension of) new technologies etc. So, does a good administrator have to be in the vanguard of IT developments or is it simply enough that s/he is comfortable leading or embracing change, whether in IT or anything else?

And is there something different about University administrators?


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    • Maintaining awareness of developments in the field, such that new technologies that will save time and money, not just implementing it for the sake of doing so
    • Concious effort to make security of the network and data on it the primary objective, even more so than perhaps even availability
    • Use of tools such as tracers to identify and monitor potential problems, including purchasing more expensive equipment with remote monitoring ability in the aid of more efficient network operation
    • Should be capable of dealing with requests from users and explaining problems to them in non technical manners
    • Sensible adoption of network policy to control network use but not impinge users in operation
    • Multi environment competent
    • With regard to new technologies, understanding how to implement into the existing network is very important, as is designing the solutions from the out for high availability

    Is there something different about uni admins? Yes. Unlike most companies which generally have a corporate wide level of IT awareness the uni admin has to deal with people who can write C++ code in some departments and as such aren't particularly inhibited by some things as they can just program round it and the nature of their course means they require less draconian security anyway because of how Windows handles security levels. They also have to deal with people who know very little, save files on the desktop and then wonder why they aren't there next time they log on.

    Good luck with the talk, would be interested to know what you cover afterwards.

    19 Jul 2006, 09:06

  1. Chris May

    I think (though I could be wrong) that Paul is talking about a different kind of administrator, Chris. You're talking about a sysadmin, Paul's talking about a role which seems (IME) to be rather exclusive to Universities, Health authorities, and other big semi–governmental organisations. It's a manager who makes a concious effort not to specialize, but rather focusses on co–ordinating the efforts of others in whatever field they happen to be in at the moment.

    One of the things that really surprises me about administration at the university is the way that people seem to move between departments – so someone might spend 2 years as a middle–manager in Careers, then switch and do the same in the Academic Office, then do a stint in the Library, and so on. I haven't seen much evidence of this kind of generalism in the more 'commercial' organisations that I've worked in, where people tend to move upwards within their own department rather than switch specializations frequently.

    Interesting ITS seems to be largely exempt from this; perhaps because the skills set required is more specialist and takes longer to acquire?

    19 Jul 2006, 09:28

  2. I would agree with Chris's comments on generalisation. It's surprised me that the generalist approach persists to such a degree in an age where increased gloabl competition between institutions demands that a more specialist approach is surely required.

    Can universities continue to operate on a Jack of all Trades, Master of None basis? Is this effective both in terms of operational ability and cost?

    I would also raise a question here about the relationship bewteen Admin and Academic Departments (puts on hard hat and prepares to duck…). Having studied the history of Warwick to a fairly in–depth level it strikes me that there has always been a duality in the role of administrators as on the one hands servicing the needs of Academic Departments and on the other running the University – note that these are not necessarily the same thing. The balance between these two things shifts I guess from Administration to Administration. I would suggest that the former role favours the generalist, the latter role the specialist.

    19 Jul 2006, 09:44

  3. Jeremy

    Phew! How about 'ability to write in clear english!' (Sorry Tom, just joshing!).

    A. Good administrators should be
    1.Able to understand the immediate system they are operating in as well as its role within larger systems
    2. Understand the impact on smaller systems as well as
    3. Understand the people in that system.

    Bad administrators only do one of two components of this job, usually missing out the third.

    B. Good organisations (comprised of good administrators) are
    1. obsessed with informing people about the role of one department and its interactions with others.
    2. Prepared to talk openly about the issues surrounding interacting systems without being defensive or territorial.

    C. The main difference between administrators in Universities/public sector and the private sector is that in Universities there is a tradition that a good 'systems' administrator makes a good 'people' administrator, when these are actually very different skills.

    Sorted!

    19 Jul 2006, 11:36

  4. Forgot to include in A:4. Understand the people in interacting systems.

    Sor–ry!

    19 Jul 2006, 12:17

  5. Actually – that's quite a good point.

    Perhaps a bit of systems theory would not have gone amiss in the Warwick Network programme.

    There's always next year.

    19 Jul 2006, 14:51

  6. This is good stuff folks – keep 'em coming. I had meant to say 'I don't mean systems administrators' but forgot!

    The comments re systems approach are particularly interesting – I suspect that very few administrators actually look at their working lives in this way – but perhaps they should.

    The generalist v specialist debate is always fertile ground…

    19 Jul 2006, 14:59

  7. I would be interested to hear why the University does the generalist approach so often. As an IT person, I find it slightly strange that people spend a few years building up knowledge of a particular area only for them to leave and have someone else come in and do things differently as they have little or no knowledge in that area.

    This system obviously works for us here at the University, but I'd like to know why :)

    19 Jul 2006, 16:00

  8. Jeremy Ireland

    1. I would be floored if administrators don't look at their jobs like this! That's all that organisations are!

    As for the generalist v specialist 'debate' – if you can't switch between the two viewpoints you are going to have trouble in administration. ( or the organisation will have to adapt to accommodate this deficiency)

    2. I hope that 'Specialist' in admin is not a shorthand for 'someone who has not done something else for a long time'.

    Knowing a system/process inside out disabling – you learn behaviours to cope with inefficiency and/or gaps in information ( and in some cases, worringly, refer to them as part of the system!) People then find changing those behaviours traumatic.

    There should be an account taken of what is needed to understand a system/process whatever you want to call it.

    A good administrator should be looking at all situations from principles (eg ease of management, efficiency, streamlining a process, increasing communication, maintaining check procedures) rather than just at procedures/practices themselves AND simultaneously must understand the most important part of the equation– or 'mission' if you are being all eighties bussiness school–y!

    ( there is no point a shop assistant making sure the till has all the coins in the right place if there is a massive queue builiding up!)

    A good organisation should also understand the knowledge part of the 'expert' or 'specialist' and be able to transfer that across through training to new administrators..its best NOT to have 'specialists' come about because it is impossible for a new person to learn a job quickly – this is a management fault, not a 'we employ experts' success!

    19 Jul 2006, 16:25

  9. Ooh – this is a very interesting post. I hasten to add that, as a university administrator, I probably shouldn't be checking blogs, let alone replying to them. I hope you'll let that one slide…

    I think there are two points here: Firstly one of general administration skills, and secondly one of how those skills relate to IT. They do interlink, though.

    A good administrator is someone who can deal with people at all levels of staffing. They need to be as comfortable (and forgive my generalisation here) talking to a director as they are talking to a cleaner. I see my role (within the Arts Centre) as a general point of contact for anyone needing general advice or information, and also as a go–between for top– and bottom–rung members of staff.

    I have only started recently, and my boss pointed out a lack of inter–Arts–Centre social activity, very much with an "us and them" attitude infiltrating the department. He pointed out when he offered me the job, that he felt if anyone could sort that out, it would be me. I am very pleased to say that, seemingly, he was right. I am in the process of organising two social events, which a wide range of people are coming to. I think this should be achievable by a good administrator.

    Obviously there are standard things like excellent organisation, good spelling, punctuation and grammar (although this does seem to be gradually slipping away, which is upsetting) and the ability to know how things actually happen at grass roots, but not feel the need to burden senior management with the details!

    Moving onto the IT issue…

    I think good administrators do have good knowledge of IT. I do not, however, believe that this is a prerequisite for choosing one. The ability to 'pick new things up easily' is something which is paramount, and so IT comes under that banner. IT systems change from company to company, so unless you have an in–depth knowledge, you're going to have to relearn things time and time again anyway. It is natural for an administrator to pick up on how the IT in a particular office/department works because they are normally the people who get asked by end–users who have no idea what's going on, and it becomes in their best interests to understand more, so that they can answer questions easily, and without taking too much time researching the problem.

    I hope that makes sense – it's very hot and my brain isn't friends with me today.

    This, then, leads back to the same thing as before. A good administrator knows lots of things about various work–related topics, but more importantly exactly how much information is necessary to put the point across to the person they are talking to. As an example, if something is broken on Alan's email, I don't bother telling him the ins and outs of why that's happening, because he doesn't need, or indeed want, to know. He wants his email to work, so I fix it, and then leave. If I had the same problem with a less senior member of staff, however, they may want to know slightly more about the problem.

    It's all a case of judging different levels of staff and reacting accordingly.

    (cont)

    19 Jul 2006, 16:34

  10. Finally, on the point of cross–department administration, I fall into that category in a way. My first job after university (which I didn't complete) was working at Unitemps. I was taken on board to help open up the Birmingham office, and worked as the branch administrator until March this year. I then worked in commercial recruitment for 2 months, before realising how much I missed administration, and then ended up back on campus, albeit in the Arts Centre. Therefore, I haven't ever had a 'normal' University administration job, because both have been in semi–satellite–esque departments, but I do feel there is something special/different about being a University administrator.

    I can't quite put my finger on what it is though. It is partly the environment, which is just completely different from anything vaguely commercial, and it's also partly the people. I think on paper, University/non–University administrators (maybe even public/private sector administrators as a more general difference) are the same. I think it is the person behind the paper which decides whether or not they are suited to the strange bubble–like world that is University administration…

    Lorna

    19 Jul 2006, 16:34

  11. NB – realised that the second sentence of the first paragraph of the second comment should be more obvious that it's the degree I didn't complete, rather than the job!!

    Lorna

    19 Jul 2006, 16:38

  12. I'm surprised no–one has asked what an adminsitrator is yet. I work for the Administration but I don't consider myself as an Administrator and i would guess that Kieran and Chris would say the same thing.

    The University sector has historically lumped together certain functions and said – ok you're the administration. Actually, only a limited number of people administer something in the sense of managing a process.

    How does that definition work for, say, a programmer, who doesn't administer anything as such but instead provides a professional function. I actually think the term administrator doesn't help much – is it not a pay–scale term in reality, not a reflection of what most people do. Perhaps it comes back to the idea that we are here to adminster to the needs of departments rather than manage the institution. Hmmmm….

    Paul – when you talk about Administrators – who are you actually referring to?

    19 Jul 2006, 18:50

  13. BTW – it's too hot to spell correctly…

    A good Administrator is someone who let's us all wear shorts to work… :–)

    19 Jul 2006, 18:53

  14. Aha – the definitional paradox – thank you Tom.

    It is pretty clear that most people who are categorised as administrators do not actually regard themselves as such. Moreover, anyone in Warwick involved in appointing someone to an administrative position does not actually want an 'administrator'. Rather they want a manager, a potential leader, a deliverer, a problem–solver, a thinker, a do–er – ie everything active rather than passive, which is what the term administrator implies. Indeed, in many parts of both public and private sectors 'administrator' in almost a pejorative term. It is often used only for the most junior of staff, if at all.

    Two entertaining things though – it always amuses me that the most senior position in NASA is 'Administrator' and when you read obituaries of quasi–famous individuals, one of the things that people often say is that s/he was 'an outstanding administrator'. However, this is never the foremost of their qualities.

    So, it is a convenient umbrella term in universities but persists, I guess, only because no–one has come up with a better one.

    19 Jul 2006, 20:37

  15. I should have added that, whilst discarding the tie is a reasonable pitch, there is never an excuse for shorts in work.

    19 Jul 2006, 20:39

  16. Chris May

    it is a convenient umbrella term in universities but persists, I guess, only because no–one has come up with a better one.

    isn't that slightly at odds with your earlier observation

    they want a manager, a potential leader, a deliverer, a problem–solver, a thinker, a do–er

    – Are they not better terms? They are at least more specific. I suppose that perhaps none of those terms work because people don't want to pigeon–hole themselves into being one or the other of them, but I personally find it slightly odd that people are happier to align themselves with a role as vague and amorphous as an 'administrator', rather than something a bit more descriptive.

    19 Jul 2006, 22:09

  17. Gareth Herbert

    An unhealthy fixation with the mundane.

    20 Jul 2006, 01:24

  18. Hero

    Paul and Tom's comments on dress confirm what I always suspected, that a good administrator is someone who wears good suits and shoes, and can crisply iron a shirt (/blouse). You are much more likely to be promoted as a bad administrator who dresses well than a good administrator who dresses badly.

    20 Jul 2006, 13:56

  19. A few ripostes are in order:

    1. In relation to nomenclature I was also trying to suggest that whilst many people who are categorised as administrators would not necessarily describe themselves in this way it does remain a convenient catch all for a multiplicity of non–academic (a term I never like) roles – the ambiguity and confusion which may arise is, I think, tolerable.
    2. Whilst this kind of introspection might be regarded as a 'fixation with the mundane', it is only an occasional diversion from the normal cut and thrust of the exciting administrative existence.
    3. Good administrators do get promoted, whatever their dress sense…honest.

    20 Jul 2006, 14:45

  20. Ellie Clewlow

    This led me to recall my own experience of interview for my first administrative post at Warwick where questioning revolved around the role of the administrator. My first reaction to the question was to emphasise the facilitative role – the ultimate civil servant – enabling the learning, teaching and research functions. The counter argument from my interviewer concentrated on issues of academic identity – the majority of academics identify firstly with their research group, their department, sometimes with their faculty and occasionally with the institution – and so if the administrator is purely a facilitator where does the institutional cohesion, direction and memory come from if not from the skeletal framework provided by the administration? The balance probably lies somewhere in the middle with a creative tension between the cohesion provided by 'The Administration' and the need to recognise that the fundamental functions of the University are academic.

    One further question – where do the boundaries of 'The Administration' as a corporate body lie (leaving aside formulations of personal professional identity that are related to particular career goals)? Is a pro–vice–chancellor who spends most of his or her day in committee any less an academic; is an academic–related educational developer who works directly to support learning and teaching still as administrator?

    BTW the hallmark of a good academic administrator is the killer high heels (and today I am mostly wearing www.irregularchoice.co.uk)

    20 Jul 2006, 14:46

  21. pingu (the penguin)

    i have no idea..

    20 Jul 2006, 15:01

  22. I think another issue that needs facing – especially with the impending eradication of the boundary between "ALC" and "Clerical" staff – is the fact that the "Administration" is not composed of people belonging to particular grades.

    It is composed of anyone that answers the phone, or picks up a query, or tackles an issue, or makes a decision – and that is not restricted to particular grades.

    The ability to 'get things done', be flexible and efficient and prioritise is key to everyone.

    I think that part of the key to this is (and I'm coming back to systems theory in a way here) understanding the bigger picture and where your job fits in to it.

    But more than that as well, not just a job but a role – understanding the purpose of your job, not being a specialist on the limitations of your job description!

    Totters off in high heels muttering "S'more than my job's worth."

    20 Jul 2006, 16:08

  23. Vivek

    Not sure quite what sort of input you seek but I can share some of my thoughts from when I was a sabbatical officer in one of the colleges at Durham.

    The most frustrating thing as someone on the receiving end of adminstrative decisions taken centrally was the unwillingness of administrators to consider the possible side effects, or even to spare a little time to investigate the impact of management decisions themselves. Often there was an expectation that staff and students would just live with it, regardless of the consequences. In a collegiate environment, this kind of thing failed to take into account staff loyalty to their community – and fatally undermined goodwill – for example college ancillary staff were willing to put in extra effort if their students were likely to see tangible benefits, but not if the aim was simply to improve central finances. It would be fair to assume a similar sentiment is likely to hold in "devolved departments".

    On your other question of new technologies, I think it is important to have a good understanding of systems and working practices as well as seemingly insignificant nuances, before the deployment of new technical solutions – otherwise you end up with an expensive project which does not do what is asked of it – with significant costs then incurred in getting both your new technology and work system to function properly. Plenty of examples of IT projects which failed for just that reason.

    20 Jul 2006, 16:28

  24. Jeremy

    I am looking forward to my colleagues who pick up the phone moving to an administrator's salary! Aside from that, there seems to be too much debate here about 'what is a university'. A university is an organisation that has some interesting qualities, but is still a large organisation.

    The internal customers of both 'the administration' and 'administration' are sometimes academics and departments, and sometimes other functions of the university. These customers have different needs, just as the processing teams in banks have different needs from mortgage advisers, business accounnt managers have different needs than branch staff, property and investment aquisition teams from credit controllers.

    We seem to talk about the University as if we are operating in a headachingly confusing institution, but we are not the only ones!

    All this means, of course, that good organisational practice can be applied to our organisation, but often I experience a resistance to 'good practice' because of an anti–business speak culture.

    Some of the innacuracies I have seen, as well as the idea that admin jobs in universities 'take years to know properly' – this actually shows a lack of training and communication, NOT that staff are 'expert'. I've spoken to people for whom it took six months to obtain a list of the people in a University House department that she interacted with daily, and I when discovering that some teams in Uni House were not aware of the correct people in my department to contact for various things, the answer I got to a suggestion that we decided the best contacts and told relevant teams was twofold:

    1. They should already know (the biggest admin error of all, finding a problem, then absolving responsibility for solving it because of a priniciple of good practice that has never existed) and
    2. Its not your job to tell university house who to contact.

    So now we continue to not recieve information, or it stops at the gateway staff member chosen at random from an old list of responsibilities, or information gets sent to the wrong person who has to spend 20 minutes finding out who is the right person.

    By contrast when I found a similar thing was happening at Orange (where I worked in the business to business marketing team) it took a bit of research and a proposal that was adopted, and results in the team went up by over 30% (as this was a national business team, you can see how useful that was!).

    I appreciate that in that case it had a direct commercial benefit, but there too are real operational benefits in both cost, management, and employee motivation in preventing the 'I don't know who it is, I'll find out' half–day wasted scenario.

    interesting that people in departments don't recognise ANY of the brands mentioned – are salaries in Uni House higher then??!

    21 Jul 2006, 09:14

  25. I've worked for three UK universities, and found Warwick had by far the least "anti–business speak culture". I also found that most of Warwick's administrators were relatively comfortable with IT change, which I believe is essential, to return to Paul's original question. But as a manager of IT systems, I often found the 'generalist' attitude frustrating – it would often take six months or a year for Academic Office staff to master a complex IT system (necessarily complex since Warwick has some insanely complex business logic) – and then they'd be moved on and we'd be faced with someone who had no idea and who would usually (apparently) receive little or no training in the business function they were expected to manage. So I agree with Jeremy that Warwick suffers from a lack of training and communication, among many other missing good practices.

    It seems to me that the biggest failure of administration, at Warwick and the other universities, is a lack of leadership, an unwillingness to take responsibility and make a decision. Paul says above that universities are always looking for managers/potential leaders when appointing administrators, but my perception is that when in post, there is frequently a lack of leadership at all levels of the university administration at Warwick. Whether this is because of the kind of people who want to work in universities, or because of a cultural effect when they get there, I don't know.

    21 Jul 2006, 13:16

  26. Jeremy

    Interesting points from Jon – the symptoms Jon describes exist when people are too keen to be seen as not blaming people, and less keen to maintain standards – for reference look at nurses! Bitching about cleaners not cleaning, but never actually asking them to clean!

    I call this the 'does anything bad happen if something isn't done?' phenomenon, which happens worst in an organisation paralysed by politics and when promotions are by personal reputation and 'likeability' over effectiveness.

    People then reasonably become afraid to lead properly because it involves directing people and making others feel uncomfortable if something is not done effectively. If this then genuinely stops promotion or performance because people then dislike the person who challenged them, then you have a big problem.

    The dangerous conclusion of a no–blame culture, is where no ill–effects are felt by someone underperforming – so people underperform. If there is no culture of high standards, then you can't blame people who live up to the current regime.

    There is no point bleating about 'self–motivation' because the self–motivation of the leaders to lead has already gone.

    Be honest, if someone is making mistakes in your department, do you talk to them about it, or do you hide your head in the sand, and talk ABOUT the problem to other people but don't solve it, or do you blame the system and let it slide for fear of upsetting the individual, or worse, do you lead bitching conversations in the hope that somehow the person involved will 'feel' that you are not happy and resolve the issue themselves?

    21 Jul 2006, 15:28

  27. Peter Dunn

    Sorry I am late to this debate – just a few comments on Jeremy's earlier post

    >Jeremy Ireland
    >2. I hope that 'Specialist' in admin is not a shorthand for 'someone who has not done something
    >else for a long time'.

    …and I hope this is not short hand for the old nonsense I used to hear that specialist roles such as PR were something any generalist could do with a bit a training. I was once told that very thing by a certain former very senior ex Warwick administrator – indeed they were, and are, one of Warwick and UK HE's finest administrators.

    In a staff meeting of Warwick’s central PR people he informed us that PR was something any Warwick administrator could pick up in five minutes. This wasn't exactly great for team morale but things improved when we got to see the results of his own attempts at direct press relations. One could perhaps recall the education correspondent who phoned me simply to giggle down to the telephone at the pompous construction of a particular press release of his, or one might recall with tears of joy the time he decided to make a point of calling a Times correspondent to sell in a story while we all watched and listened….

    People have aptitudes – some are great at committees and dream up amazing management systems, others have a natural aptitude for working with the media, or are great trainers, or can think up wonderful new retail opportunities. Yes you can train people to function in many of these worlds but the best people are those who actually have a natural aptitude for it, or flair if you prefer, and Warwick has many such people.

    >A good organisation should also understand the knowledge part of the 'expert' or 'specialist' and be >able to transfer that across through training to new administrators. .
    >its best NOT to have 'specialists'
    >come about because it is impossible for a new person to learn a job quickly – this is a management >fault, not a 'we employ experts' success!

    I am afraid that is mostly just nonsense – particularly in a University. Let's apply that principle to say a Professor of 18th Century French Literature – oh no she's fallen under a bus what shall we do? – don't worry Warwick being a "good organisation" will of course have made sure we have transferred her "knowledge" to one of the senior lecturers – give them a few months and they will be up to speed….surely that will work? no? – well the same is true in admin – both “generalists” and “specialists”.

    Warwick has prospered by hiring the very best people for the job both on the academic side – and (in most cases) the "admin" side. The admin side has operated in the same fevered transfer market as the academic. Indeed perhaps more so as Warwick is seen as a major source of great admin people by the rest of the sector. A great many excellent "admin" staff have been poached by other institutions. Warwick should look for the best people, who combine both the knowledge and the flair for using that knowledge, wherever it can get them (if it did not do so we would not for instance have the illustrious owner of this blog and would be very much the poorer).

    Peter Dunn

    22 Jul 2006, 22:42

  28. Jeremy Ireland

    In the 'confusion between' I wasn't referring to people who are specialists AND who have done the job for a long time, nor was I referring to people who ARE specialists who have only job for a short time – I was referring ONLY to people who are considered or refer to themselves as specialists ONLY because they have done the same thing for a long time.

    In all jobs, you can educate new post holders, whether 'specialist' or not, on the systems they are integrating with; interdepartmental relationships and expectations; the overall job function; the department function; reporting channels; operating boundaries; and the computer and paper filing systems used, as well as who to go see about what.

    To leave someone to flounder (and perhaps sink), whilst ridiculing him, is unforgivable. Giggling behind your hands at someone is not an effective training technique.

    • Training speeds up organisation–staff integration and educates the post–holder what is required of him/her.
    • Not training and relying on a history in a similar or related department promotes internal movement, but creates a barrier to external recruitment. It also provides opportunities for 'knowledge restriction' (where a team member gains power by witholding information) which blocks effective functioning.
    • 'leave them in the dark and hope for the best' approach, which can totally screw up a function – gives people the 'oh my god, why did no–one tell me I was responsible for x feeling and the 'that new x is useless, she doesn't even know she is supposed to do y!' team environment.

    This approach happens too easily in organisations when the second approach is favoured and a post opens where a 'specialist', familiar, or internal candidate cannot be found.

    Good administration is about managing people well AND as dealing with systems, and addressing issues head on, not by hoping that people manage themselves well and laughing at them when they don't

    24 Jul 2006, 11:48

  29. Peter Dunn

    If by laughing at folk you are refering to the individual I mentioned in my last post you can be sure I will always find time to be amused, laugh at and generally giggle when folk (particularly if they are more senior) tell me they could learn my job – or any specialist PR role – in 5 minutes and then proceed to screw it up right in front of me.

    Peter

    24 Jul 2006, 14:25

  30. Thanks folks, reckon this has just about run out of steam now but much here of use for the session I'm doing on Thursday. A few parting comments:

    • What IS an administrator? This kind of existential stuff can keep you awake at night but all I will say here is that it is extremely difficult to be precise and probably not worth the effort – entertaining diversion though.
    • What IS a university? Ask Cardinal Newman. But I would suggest that there is something profoundly different about a university v other organisations or businesses – the nature of academic activity makes it a special environment and one with some distinctive challenges (though many of the challenges faced by the administrator are not necessarily different from those faced by analagous staff in other organisations).
    • The changes which have happened at Warwick and the consequences of these for 'the administration' (again ducking definition) have more to do with the results of dealing with a much bigger scale of operations than any other individual factor, I would suggest.
    • Administrators spend too little time thinking about the nature of their roles – the immediate almost invariably ends up taking precedence over the bigger picture.
    • There are, in my experience, limited opportunities for wearing high heels but am prepared to be contradicted on that one.

    What fun.

    25 Jul 2006, 08:35

  31. A good administrator is someone who manages to get things done without the committee system noticing until it's too late to do anything about it.

    25 Jul 2006, 14:39

  32. I'm not signed up for this particular session, but this debate has been very interesting: Paul, could anything be circulated after Thursday's session? i.e. presentation notes?

    26 Jul 2006, 13:53

  33. Anna – according to my list you ARE signed up for the session!

    I fear the slides will not be enormously useful in isolation (it's all in the delivery!)

    26 Jul 2006, 14:12

  34. Ah, I must have been given a reserve choice!! ;–)

    27 Jul 2006, 08:59

  35. Alabama 3 had it right when they said: ‘This place would be paradise tomorrow if every department had a supervisor with a sub-machine gun’ (on account of Mao Tse Tung observation that, ‘change must come through the barrel of a gun’.)

    09 Aug 2006, 11:09

  36. sherri

    I am going for a second interview for administrattive position to CEO of a radio station….administration has changed so much from the time I started in 1995. I got into sales and now am going tback to admin….any feedback for this interview would be great

    19 Apr 2007, 07:50


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