School Facility Management System to go offline June 30

Originally posted on Maine DOE Newsroom:

In an effort to reduce the burden of unfunded education mandates, the Legislature recently accepted the Department’s recommendation to repeal the requirement that the Maine DOE provide a facilities maintenance template and capital planning software to school units. Therefore, the School Facility Management System (SFMS) will no longer be available after June 30, the end date of the current contract with VFA, Inc., the software provider.

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Message to districts: Updated ED 279s posted

Originally posted on Maine DOE Newsroom:

Dear Superintendents and Business Managers,

The Department is pleased to let you know that we have just posted updated FY 2015 (2014-15 school year) State subsidy printouts, known as ED 279s, here on our website.

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Stop Trying to Control People or Make Them Happy

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

Whether you’ve heard of them or not, two gurus from the early 20 th century still dominate management thinking and practice — to our detriment.  It has been more than 100 years since Frederick Taylor, an American engineer working in the steel business, published his seminal work on the principles of scientific management .  And it has been more than 80 years ago since Elton Mayo, an Australian-born Harvard academic, produced his pioneering studies on human relations in the workplace .  Yet managers continue to follow Taylor’s “hard” approach — creating new structures, processes, and systems — when they need to address a management challenge.  Hence, the introduction of, say, a risk management team or a compliance unit or an innovation czar. And when managers need to boost morale and get people to work better together, they still follow Mayo’s “soft” approach — launching people initiatives such as off-site retreats…

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A Hero Superintendent in Massachusetts Speaks Out Against the Madness

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Todd Gazda, superintendent of schools in Ludlow, Massachusetts, posted a blog that expresses the outrage that so many educators feel today as a result of federal and state meddling in the work best left to educators.

Gazda writes: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

For his courage and wisdom, I am naming him to the honor roll as a champion of public education. If there were hundreds more Todd Gazda, no thousands more, we could reclaim this nation from the ignorant policymakers who seem determined to test children until they cry and to cripple public schools by overburdening them with mandates and demands while cutting their budgets. If our public schools manage to escape this era of austerity and chaos, it will be due to the leadership of educators like Todd Gazda.

Here is what he wrote:

We are at a pivotal juncture in this country with respect to education. Over the past…

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4 Principles for Using Your Leadership Power

Originally posted on :

Power“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Great men are almost always bad men.”
~ Lord Acton

Power accompanies leadership. No matter how lofty or humble your title, whether you manage 3 people or 3,000, if you lead a girl scout troop or you’re the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, you will be faced with choices on how to use your power.

You’re probably familiar with the above quote from Lord Acton. Unfortunately, there is much truth in his quote and one only has to look at the news headlines for the latest example of a leader who has misused power for his/her own personal gain.

A good friend of mine who has spent his entire career developing other leaders once shared a keen observation with me. He said that people who need to be in power probably shouldn’t be. His learning was that those people who craved…

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Introverts Are Excellent Just As They Are

Originally posted on Workplace Psychology:

For those unable to watch the video on my blog, you can watch it directly on the TED Talk website, Susan Cain: The power of introverts.

Here is a great 19-minute TED Talk by Susan Cain, author of the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Below are excerpts from her speech.

“I got the message that somehow my quiet and introverted style of being was not necessarily the right way to go, that I should be trying to pass as more of an extrovert. And I always sensed deep down that this was wrong and that introverts were pretty excellent just as they were.”

“When it comes to creativity and to leadership, we need introverts doing what they do best. A third to a half of the population are introverts — a third to a half.”

“You need to understand what introversion…

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It’s Monday!

Originally posted on Practical Practice Management:

It’s Monday, not all people feel about their job like Mike here does.  Some of you may not like your workplace at all, but you need the job.  For those who do not wake up on Monday eager to go to work because of the work itself I would encourage that you read the book “Fish,” a simple tale about attitude.

My favorite quote from the book is “There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.”  It is all in the attitude that you choose to bring to work with you everyday.

Happy Monday to you!

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Difficult Workplaces

Originally posted on Practical Practice Management:


Does your place of employment make it easy to work at or difficult?  Some businesses actually make so many rules and policies for employees to follow that it makes it difficult to do their job.  There literally is a policy for everything that that is done and usually there is someone who is watching to make sure “the policy” is followed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that policies have their place and purpose.  But many times businesses will add policy upon policy for each little issue that comes up and eventually their office policy manuals are 5 inches thick. The book is  filled with policies that cover what-to-do if something happens and it may have been that the “something” as only happened once before, but a policy was made just in case it happens again.

Some companies make doing business with them complicated for their customers, with paperwork, documents…

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Too Many Office Policies “What a Scary Thought!”

Originally posted on Practical Practice Management:

Cute woman with large book isolated on white

How do you create operational policies that everyone will be willing to follow?

Many offices that I have worked with have had an office policy manual that would take a year to read through.

I have always been of the thought that a business can run successfully with having only a few good company polices in place.

For people to want to follow policies they must be understandable and reasonable.  Employees also must be able to see the points below in each policy that they are expected to abide by.

  1. Fair – If employees can see and understand the policy they are expected to uphold has a purpose, they can see why it makes sense and feel that it is fair; they will have fewer problems with following it.
  2. Relevant – The policy has to be relevant to all those who have to uphold it.  If it does not apply…

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When Does Micromanagement Become Harassment

Originally posted on :

Micromanage 2 Two words that get used a lot these days are micromanagement and harassment. The two concepts come from different sources, but they converge in the extreme case.

This article dissects the two concepts and provides some guidance for managers who, despite their good intentions, often end up doing more harm than good.

Harassment is the abusive behavior toward another person that has its roots in a desire to annoy or hurt the other individual in some way. The practice is normally intentional, although it is possible for a person to harass other people without being aware it is happening.

Except in the rare extreme cases, the manifestation of harassment exists first in the opinion of the person who is being harassed. If I will not let you get to me no matter what you do, then you are not going to be successful at harassing me.

In fact, I may…

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