I would like thank you for saving my job! I was at the October 2014 NYATEP conference in Rochester, NY and was able to hear you speak.  I sat with my boss and was able to discuss with him what an inspirational speaker you were and we both purchased your book.  I did not know what an impact all of this would have on me at that time.  I do have an awesome boss, but did not realize how much until a series of events occurred.

As I struggled one weekend to decide  what I really wanted to do, I had a series of interviews starting first with my current boss, then the boss at the start-up, a conversation with my mentor, and then a discussion at home.  I struggled for about 24 hours and then I thought I would get my mind off it by doing some reading.  I picked up your book, Ways and Means for Managing Up, and within the first couple chapters, I realized how stupid I had been.  I totally had come close to missing the great opportunity I already had with my boss.   No amount of money replaces the mutual respect and admiration for a great boss.

Within the first couple chapters of your book, I realized I already had what everybody wants in a boss and a job, now I just needed to refine that and continue to work on making us both successful in our agency.  On that Monday, I ended the relationship with the start-up after calling my awesome boss who was sadly anticipating my departure.

So thank you for your experience and insight to share with the rest of us.  I am very honored to have had the privilege to hear you speak and admire and respect what you have gone through.

~Olga VanOsdol

Whether you are starting out in professional life or have been part of it for some time, you have a boss and a responsibility to manage him of her like the other resources for which you’re responsible, according to William Smullen in this book. The author has had 50 years of experience in managing others, most notably as chief of staff to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Managing Up means different things to different people. In most work environments it means working out how to overcome the weaknesses and over-sized egos of people who hold senior positions in the organization in order to get things done. It is usually about trade-offs, politics, persuasion, and ensuring that credit gets appropriately misallocated. However, this book is about a different type of “managing up”. It is about how to be an executive assistant and maximize your contribution to the success of a boss whom you admire and believe in.

Indeed, the first chapter is entitled “Believe in Your Boss or Find Another”. The difficulty with this advice is that it really is a rare thing to find a great boss. Moreover, the vast majority of jobs are not chief-of-staff or executive assistant type jobs in which the primary job responsibility is to help the boss. In most jobs the primary responsibility is to serve customers or perform tasks, and keeping the boss happy is only a small part of the job.

Nevertheless, the author’s advice will be useful to anyone who has a boss who needs to be kept happy. Key pieces of advice include:

• Don’t hesitate to tell the boss he or she is wrong
• Anticipate what the boss wants or needs
• Never allow your boss to be surprised
• Bullying is bad for business
• It’s the deed, not the credit

~John Gibbs


Should be required reading. While some criticism of it’s what middle management should know, many *don’t* know. They enter jobs and instead of making the boss look good it’s me-me-me. If the me does their job to look good, boss does too.

Although we don’t all have the power to pick up the phone and arrange a wish for a child or represent dignitaries around the world, less ‘glamorous’ jobs are important and these same principles still apply. An easy entertainment read but worthwhile too.

Plan ahead, Go beyond the expected. Make a difference. Keep a good attitude. While these things seem like common sense it’s not done when repeatedly employees call in with little warning that they won’t be to work, talk negatively about their boss/company and say verbally and non-verbally “I hate my job.”

Tending to business makes a difference. Going above and beyond shows you WANT the job and care about it and the people you work with

~Janet K Hoadley


FANTASTIC! Some very valuable lessons, great stories, and very well written! THANK YOU for putting together such a great read. I definitely have taken away plenty.
~ George Platsis


Just to say I enjoyed your book  -Ways and Means –   very much, and will share it with the socius, assistant to the Jesuit provincial – who actually has a meeting of assistants in the next few days… Your book is most practical, down to earth,  helpful – and interesting too.

It made me think of, and look up, what St. Ignatius – a genius at organizing – said of the secretary to the superior general – here is what Ignatius said: (St. Ignatius Loyola, in the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus – which he wrote in the id  16th century… Description of the Secretary to the Superior General of the Jesuits.)

(Ganss translation)

#800 ((Fr. General)) ought to have one person who ordinarily accompanies him and should be his  memory and hands for everything which he must write and handle, and finally for all the affairs of his office.  This person should take  on the general’s own person and imagine that he carries on his own shoulders the general’s whole burden (except for his authority)

#802 This person ought to be a man of great solicitude and judgment, and if possible, learning; one too who has a pleasant personality and a good manner of dealing wirh all kinds of persons by word of mouth and by letters.  Above all, he should be one in whom confidence  can be placed and one who loves the Society  in our Lord, that the general may be better aided and served by him for the glory of God.

(Or in a newer translation —  “ …should be his memory for everything he must  write and discuss, and finally for all the affairs of the office…”)

~ Rev. Peter Schineller, S.J.


Congratulations on Ways and Means of Managing Up. I am thoroughly enjoying your new book. I started reading it last week, and I love the stories and lessons shared. The book expands upon the lessons you taught in your management class, and I find it incredibly useful. Thank you for a wonderful book and for continuing to teach me new things.

~Heather Renae Cosson


One of my division chiefs attended the Army Senior Resource Manager’s Course at Syracuse University last week.  He gave me your new book to read.  I am grateful you took the time to record these lessons in writing.  Halfway through the book, I find myself saying time and again, “this is what I have been saying for years.”  Will certainly make this required reading for my team, and use the lessons as I provide sound, strategic financial advice to my Commander and their staff.

~Patrick M. Reynolds


I just finished reading your new book. Thank you. I was fortunate enough to learn many of these lessons in my two years working for you – I will certainly prepare to tackle future career challenges using some of the more advanced advice you provide.
I especially enjoyed chapter 31. Sometimes young people are scared to offer advice to their superiors, thinking that it’s worthless to a more experienced senior official/executive. I am slowly learning that hard work and preparation make even the least experienced employee useful, and that we can only show that utility by speaking up and letting our opinions be heard. These lessons instill confidence in people like me by making clear that not only are we capable of contributing, but we must contribute in order to do our jobs well… I could go on and on about the value of these lessons. The examples you cited from you career are clear and impacting.
~Alex Veneziano


The book was a wonderful refresher course for many of the lessons I’ve learned or other books I’ve read.  It felt like 50 books combined into one.   Thanks so much for writing and sharing your stories.

I hope you’re having wonderful success with the book and thank you again for the refresher course on professionalism – something that I truly appreciate just now.

~Norma Shannon