Six Ways to Nag Without Seeming To: How to Make Sure Your Work Process Keeps Flowing

Six Ways to Nag Without Seeming To: How to Make Sure Your Work Process Keeps Flowing

"I never say 'nagging.' I think that 'nagging' is a term that men created to get women to pipe down some. But it's a trap that we've created…Nagging means to stop asking me questions." – Steve Harvey, American comedian and actor. Nagging doesn't really work well, in or out of the office—not when people see it for what it is. For one thing, most people don't care to be told what to do, especially by those at or below their level in a hierarchy; for another, they hate to be pestered, especially when they feel they have plenty of time to get something done. Some people see nagging as a threat to their freedom. They especially dislike the manager who constantly reminds them of things they need to do, because they view it as micromanaging—as it may be. That's certainly not the case when … [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Hone Your Decisiveness: Evading the Curse of Indecision

Five Reasons to Hone Your Decisiveness: Evading the Curse of Indecision

"Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all." – Brian Tracy, American motivational speaker and writer One of the productivity topics I see discussed repeatedly in the business world is the issue of decisiveness. You'd think there would be some consensus on how to achieve it by now, but every guru seems to have his or her own process. Some will tell you to trust your instincts and make snap judgments. Others insist you build team consensus first, while still others suggest you get all your ducks in a row, then take massive action. To some extent, they could all be correct, depending upon the circumstances and your depth of knowledge about those circumstances. However, the one thing they all agree on is … [Read more...]

Five Interruptions NOT to Avoid: Why Some Distractions Are Important

Five Interruptions NOT to Avoid: Why Some Distractions Are Important

"One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us."—Daniel Goleman, American author and psychologist Imagine a completely distraction-free office, where you can focus totally and productively, where no one ever calls you, chats outside your office in the hallway, plays their music too loudly, or pops in for a quick question. Imagine a place where you could spend hours upon hours single-tasking to your heart's content, churning out work by the barrel-load. Wouldn't that be heaven? I’m thinking NO. Oh maybe for a time, but it gets old. Unless you're a solitary worker with no communications with others (a rare occurrence in this era), social interaction remains a must. Although I'm a big believer in warding off most dis … [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...]

Success and Life Balance

[TRANSCRIPT] If you really want to be successful, you have to touch home. You have to pay attention to the people who are right there in front of you. You have to love your work AND love your family equally. How do you have great satisfaction in both, without sacrificing one for the other? I love my career and try to work at my productive best. I’m always asking myself how can I execute, how can I leverage my time, and how can I focus on tasks that are central to my work and get rid of the extraneous things. How can I be disciplined, not procrastinate, focus on things in order of importance, or set boundaries with other people? By being productive in this way, I achieve the greatest results possible in the least amount of time. THEN I can get out of the office on time and go home to the p … [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...]

Stand Up for Your Team: 3 Ways Leaders Put Their Teams First

Stand Up for Your Team - 3 Ways Leaders Put Their Teams First by Laura Stack #productivity

No doubt you've seen too many self-serving maneuvers over the years to be surprised when a leader slinks off into every-man-for-himself territory. So why not surprise your team by facing your in-house rivals like a team player? Keep these things in mind when the going gets tough. 1. Present Your Needs Clearly. Who gets the resources he or she needs: the shrinking violet or the fighter who asks for them? Too often, I've seen people curse the darkness when they could just flip the light switch. If you don't get what you want, ask for it. See your superior(s) and outline your needs, especially if you've just landed something new and urgent. Don't make demands, but don't shy away from your duty to provide for your team, either. At the same time, make sure those you compete with for … [Read more...]

Rational Persuasion: An Effective Tool for Turning Your Ideas into Our Ideas

Rational Persuasion: An Effective Tool for Turning Your Ideas into Our Ideas

"Persuasion is often more effective than force." – Aesop, ancient Greek writer. Personal power comes in a number of different forms, from the positional power of the manager and high-level executive to personal power, where you use your individual influence to help accomplish team goals. Influence itself comes in a variety of flavors: for example, collaboration, consultation, inspirational appeals, rational persuasion, and a number of less team-friendly options. All have circumstances where they represent the best choice, but the best overall influence pattern for team use—especially if you're not the official leader of your team—is rational persuasion. Rational persuasion is exactly what it sounds like: without making threats, misusing your position, or ingratiating yourself to your te … [Read more...]