Shape the Culture

Shape the Culture by Laura Stack #productivity

Employees make hundreds of independent decisions every week without consulting their superiors. What guides them? Organizational culture. It tells them how to respond to workplace situations, from handling unprecedented service requests to whether or not to risk telling the boss a new idea. Many senior managers struggle with this concept, because they find it difficult to define. Culture is like a cloud: You know it’s there, but it’s nearly impossible to grasp. How do you come to a consensus on culture, and then get dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people to think and act the way you’ve agreed on? You don’t, really: culture evolves over time. But you can direct its evolution. Keep these things in mind while doing so: 1. Develop an attitude of excellence for your team to follow. … [Read more...]

Improve the Fulcrum

Improve the Fulcrum by Laura Stack #productivity #strategy

Improve the Fulcrum To take full advantage of workplace leverage, strive not only to strengthen yourself and your employees, but also to reposition or even replace your fulcrum. The fulcrum is the hinge or pivot a beam acts against to multiply the input force. It could be a handy rock, a log, or a seesaw pivot point. At work, a good fulcrum should be the right size, height, and position to work most effectively with your productivity machine. So how do you make sure you’re using the correct fulcrum to coax maximum leverage from your system? 1. Equip your team members with the right tools. Provide employees with laptops, software, smartphones, fast Internet—whatever it takes to maximize their productivity. In fact, let them provide their own tools if they want. If someone is wil … [Read more...]

Teaching the Mission: Helping Your Team Understand and Achieve Alignment

Teaching the Mission: Helping Your Team Understand and Achieve Alignment by Laura Stack #productivity

Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance." — Brian Tracy, American motivational speaker and writer. In 2001, energy company Enron self-destructed in a scandal that still amazes those of us who witnessed it. Despite the core values literally carved into the façade of its Houston headquarters—Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence—top executives completely lost track of their company's official Mission and Vision. Instead, they focused on feathering their own nests and defrauding stakeholders to the tune of billions of dollars. As a leader, you can't allow anything like that to happen on your watch. You … [Read more...]

The Positive Negative: When “Don’t” is the Right Strategic Choice

The Positive Negative: When "Don't" is the Right Strategic Choice by Laura Stack #productivity

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." — Napoleon Bonaparte, legendary French general and emperor. "You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction." -- Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist. The thesis of my upcoming book, Execution IS the Strategy (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, March 2014), is simple: business moves so fast today that you must empower front-line workers to take strategy into their own hands, moving ahead with what works and executing in the moment to maximize organizational success. We can no longer leave strategy to executive teams that plan 3-5 years ahead, because multiyear plans go stale before the toner dries on the printouts. Think about it: Do you remember what w … [Read more...]