Three Myths to Ignore About Millennial Colleagues: Stop Blinding Yourself with Sound Bites

"Millennials don't just want to read the news anymore. They want to know what they can do about it." – Ian Somerhalder, Actor and entrepreneur. You’ve probably heard some negative press about Millennials, the current generation taking the workforce by storm. These young people, born between 1980 and 2000, are hitting the ground running straight from college and business school, and they will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. Critics of the Millennial Generation call them disloyal, overly ambitious, entitled, and even lazy. Nonsense (←Click to Tweet). While of course there are always individual bad apples, I've found none of those labels to be true as a rule. All three of my children are Millennials. I also love working with Millennials in my client organizations when given the opp … [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Take Massive Action: Making Busyness Your Business

Five Reasons to Take Massive Action: Making Busyness Your Business

"Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking."—William Buell Sprague, 19th Century American clergyman. One theme I've emphasized repeatedly in my writings is that "busy" doesn't necessarily mean "productive." Just because you're staying busy doesn't mean you're accomplishing anything important. Checking 30 tiny tasks off your to-do list may not prove nearly as significant (or as profitable) as completing one high-priority project. To boost your productivity, work hard and constantly on the high-priority tasks that matter the most. ( Multilevel marketers are fond of the term "massive action." I find this a handy synonym for good, productive work, though some observers disparage the term, assuming it refers only to staying busy, rather than staying busy with i … [Read more...]

Business Culture

business culture

[TRANSCRIPT] If you have a culture of tardiness, it’s easy to spot. If a meeting is supposed to start at 2:00, it actually begins at 2:15. This culture of tardiness results in people showing up at 2:15 for a 2:00 meeting, because that behavior has been reinforced and rewarded with no penalties, usually by the leadership. And don’t just brush it off by telling me, “Oh, well that’s just our culture.” It’s rude and doesn’t respect others’ time. If you just waive it off, you’re using it as an excuse to enable unprofessional behaviors. You must work to change the culture over time. Six months to a year from now, you can have an “on time” culture if you call attention to it, create some protocols, and instill discipline in yourself and others who don’t follow the rules. Culture changes based on y … [Read more...]

Maximizing Your Results

maximizing your results laura stack

[TRANSCRIPT]  Why should you care about being productive? Why do you want to be efficient, organized, use your email correctly, manage your time, set boundaries, say no, and focus on value? It all comes down to achieving maximum results in the minimum amount of time. If you can be more efficient at work and save 60 minutes a day by using the strategies we discussed today, you can get out of the office on time or at least a little earlier and go home to the people that you love. That is what it is all about. It’s not about saving time so you can cram more in. Productivity is about love—loving your job and family with equal passion and not sacrificing one for the other. … [Read more...]

Change Should Be the Middle Name of Every Business

Top productivity speaker Laura Stack on Change

[TRANSCRIPT] Change should actually be the middle name of every business. In his latest book, Playing To Win, A.G.’s Lafley talks about the five things that every leader should do to execute strategy and get the company to win. And, ultimately, all five come down to change. The companies that don’t change will go the way of the dinosaurs. No one really agrees on what happened to the dinosaurs; however everyone agrees they are dead. And it has something to do with their inability to change. Think about companies like Motorola, Kodak, Palm, Saab, Atari, Myspace, and Borders. What do they have in common? They are either in steep decline or demise because of their inability to stay relevant, to be flexible, and to change. At some level, even though it’s not always fun, we should be glad and rel … [Read more...]

Five Ways to Acceptance: Dealing with Factors Beyond Your Control

Five Ways to Acceptance: Dealing with Factors Beyond Your Control

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."—Reinhold Neibuhr, American theologian. Like it or not, many of life's circumstances—even within the average corporate office—are beyond our control. The weather, for instance, remains outside humanity's bailiwick; we can try to predict it two or three days out, but in Denver we still can't halt the snowstorms that close the airport right before Christmas or the hailstorms that ruin our roofs. At work, unless you’re the CEO or on the board of directors, we have little control over the decisions of those higher in the organizational hierarchy. We have even less control over the actions of the world at large. But being human, we worry about these … [Read more...]

Focus On The Things That Drive Your Company

TRANSCRIPT We had the leadership team, we only had about twelve people in there and the CFO got to talking about their expense report process. And he was explaining how they've got this all automated, and they can scan the receipts and they file their own expense reports and he was talking about how he was very proud of the fact that he did his expense reports and how efficiently he had his travel and I'm thinking. You're the CFO, they're paying you how much? This guy was making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and he's filing his expense reports and booking his own travel. So he realized after that "you know that's probably a fifteen or twenty dollar type of activity isn't it?" and there's been a kind of a throw back. I have seen a resurgence, a resurrection of the … [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Set Impossible Goals: Don’t Be Afraid to Push Yourself Too Hard

Five Reasons to Set Impossible Goals by Laura Stack #productivity

"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible."— Sir Arthur C. Clarke, British science and science fiction writer. If you never dare to dream the impossible dream, you'll never know how much you can achieve. We all know this in our hearts, but many of us never apply it to our work lives. There's a saying that goals are just dreams with deadlines; so why should you ever hesitate to set impossible goals?  (<-- Click to Tweet.) No matter how impossible they may seem, goals offer solid targets for you to shoot at. They also stitch together intention, planning, ability, talent, execution, process, teamwork and more into a fabric of productivity you can constantly and consistently tweak higher, through the application of more and newer go … [Read more...]

6 Ways to Succeed Despite Unpleasant Coworkers

Overcoming Human Obstacles

"Before someone can treat you like a doormat, you have to lie down first."— Dear Abby, American advice columnist. One thing we often forget about teamwork is that you don't have to like everyone on your team to work effectively with them. It helps, but in any group, you'll probably find someone who rubs you at least slightly the wrong way. One of humanity's greatest strengths, however, is ability to put aside our differences to further a greater cause—whether that means building a wall 13,000 miles long or building a world-class corporation. You'll almost always have coworkers you simply don't like (click to tweet). This doesn't mean they can't do their jobs well; we've all known curmudgeons who were geniuses, or smug apple-polishers who did award-winning work. Indeed, high talent a … [Read more...]

Four Ways to Facilitate Inter-Team Teamwork

Four Ways to Facilitate Inter-Team Teamwork

"Good things happen when you meet strangers."— Yo Yo Ma, Chinese American cellist. One thing you can count on when working for a large organization is working with people from other teams (click to tweet). Each team has its own dynamic, processes, procedures, and level of team trust; so when you're thrust into a situation where you have to cooperate for the first time, there may be uncertainty until you build bridges leading you all to common ground. Usually, this happens naturally over time; but life is a lot less complicated when you make a concerted effort to set aside your differences, emphasize your commonalities, and engage smoothly with the familiar strangers who happen to be your co-workers. So do what you can to smooth the transition, even if you fail to understand the r … [Read more...]