Human skills have always been my strong point. I was captain of the basketball team, captain of the speech team and always the one who picked and organized any game playing on the playground. As I look back over my childhood years, I could always persuade my cousins to do their chores and mine too, before our parents got home, without them realizing that all I was really doing really doing was delegating. They called it being “bossy”. The jobs I’ve had from my teenage years up to my current job, I never stayed in a non-management position for long, not because of my technical skills alone, although they were impeccable for the time, but because of my ability to lead, encourage, and cause the people to produce. I’ve only applied for and was hired for, one management position ever. Every other management position I’ve held, I was promoted to in a short time, because of my ability to lead, encourage, inspire, and motivate people to get the job done efficiently and effectively. The accomplishment I’m most proud of is, after being promoted to a management position in the claims department, the department went from 500 hours of overtime a month to an average of 10 hours overtime, for 18 employees, with an increase in production and accuracy. I recognized that a lack of adequate training was the root cause of so many areas and slow production. I took the game, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, and renamed it “Who Wants to Get a Bonus”, a restructured all of the questions around claims training issues. I had Senior Claims Examiners, as life lines to be used during our meetings. Our bonuses were driven by production and accuracy. As knowledge increased, confidence and speed increased, accuracy increased, so did the bonuses, which more than compensated for the lack of overtime. The hospital I worked for had an amazing Gift Shop, with quality, name brand merchandise. I implemented a Gift Shop Certificate rewards program for the top weekly producers, on top of the employee discount; it was a win-win situation for all.
I was a new-style manager back then, and that was over 15 years ago. I’m still a new-style manager and now I understand why I clash so with old-style management. I’m naturally creative and innovative and I operate at a premium level in this type of environment. The job I’m currently at definitely operates on an old-style management level. It has been challenging, but I’m not one to back down from a challenge. Notwithstanding my lack of experience in the Financial Aid industry, after only 3 years as a Financial Aid Administrator, I was promoted to Director of Financial Aid, again because of my conceptual and human skill sets. It has been a hard journey thus far, because of the merging of my new-style type of management versus operating under an old-style type of management. The challenge is to still be able to create and innovate and not abdicate my position of authority with those I work with and for and the students I serve. I have to constantly look at the big picture, which is the impact I’m having on the future of the students I serve. When I see forlorn and desperation, give way to a promising future and graduation, it makes it all worth it. I may not have changed the management culture I work in, but I had an important part of changing the lives of the students I serve. The environment I work in is totally systematic. There is a system in place for every function, and that system is handed down by the top echelon of the corporate structure, and any changes or alterations of any kind must come through top level management. But the system is not foolproof and it does fail from time to time, and at those moments of failure is when I hear the words that are like music to my ears, “Do you have any suggestions or ideas that could improve the process?” My answer to that question would be a resounding yes. Process improvement is an area where I excel at, because I think 3 or 4