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...]

Four Training Tips: Maintaining Your Team’s Competitive Edge

Four Training Tips: Maintaining Your Team's Competitive Edge by Laura Stack #productivity

Regular training for your employees is integral to productivity and profitability, meaning it's something you should never take for granted. Among other things, training: 1. Improves Confidence and, Therefore, Performance. When people know they've been equipped to do their jobs properly, it boosts their spirits and reassures them they can achieve levels of competency and productivity they haven't realized in the past. Further, when employees understand why their work matters and how to do it, they're more likely to hit the mark or go above and beyond. 2. Saves the Company Money. Well-trained employees make fewer errors and require less direct supervision. Furthermore, they spend less time thinking about problem solving, because they already know what to do. Consistent training also … [Read more...]

Promises for the Future: 5 Ways to Set Goals as a Team

Promises for the Future: 5 Ways to Set Goals as a Team by Laura Stack #productivity

Teamwide goal setting is crucial if you expect to maximize and maintain your productivity. Your team members must always be clear about what your goals are, and how you'll get there; that should be a given. But realize that some of your team members will have a better understanding of goal-setting than others, so it's up to you to make sure they all stay on the same wavelength. Start With Individual Team Members. You'll find it easier to establish team goals if individual members also have personal goals to reach for. Chris might want to make $150,000 annually by the time he's thirty-five, while Jane may prefer to move up the management ladder toward CFO. As you learn your team members' personal and professional development goals, help them find ways to weave those goals into the … [Read more...]

The Battle Trance Concept: Enforcing Collective Identity in Your Workplace Team

The Battle Trance Concept: Enforcing Collective Identity in Your Workplace Team by Laura Stack #productivity

"Within this moment I am for you, though better men have failed/I will give my life for love, for I am winterborn./And in my dying, I'm more alive than I have ever been/I will make this sacrifice, for I am winterborn." – Winterborn, by American rock band The Crüxshadows Here is the roundup of activity from Laura Stack’s blog, columns, podcast, and other featured articles. Scroll down to read the complete roundup of productivity resources to help you create Maximum Results in Minimum Time. This week on the Blog The Battle Trance Concept: Enforcing Collective Identity in Your Workplace Team Recently, I ran across the battle trance concept: an idea well known in the military environment where I grew up, but only recently defined in psychology. Essentially, it involves the subsuming o … [Read more...]

Peer Accountability: Policing Yourselves So the Boss Doesn’t Have To

Peer Accountability: Policing Yourselves So the Boss Doesn't Have To by Laura Stack #productivity

"If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes." – Henry Cloud, American self-help author. Here is the weekly roundup of activity from Laura Stack’s blog, columns, podcast, and other featured articles. Scroll down to read the complete roundup of productivity resources to help you create Maximum Results in Minimum Time. This week on the Blog Peer Accountability: Policing Yourselves So the Boss Doesn't Have To Have you ever attended a meeting as a guest but couldn't tell who the leader was, because multiple people asked their teammates tough questions? I've been to a few where if I hadn't already known the leader, I wouldn't have been able to guess. Those mee … [Read more...]

Quick Group Decision-Making: A Brief Guide

Quick Group Decision-Making: A Brief Guide

"Most of us are going through life without interrogating whether our decision-making processes are fit for purpose. And that's something we need to change - especially when the stakes are high and the decisions are of real import." – Noreena Hertz, English economist. One of the hobgoblins of teamwork is groupthink. This occurs when a team rubberstamps the decisions of the team leader or a particularly strong personality without debate. Groupthink destroys creativity and innovation, and it often occurs because people have learned that fighting for something isn't worth the effort. If they get punished for even trying, or no one listens to them anyway, they will stop giving input. This results in a declining, hidebound team that just goes through the motions and falls apart when the guiding … [Read more...]

Giving of Yourself: Tips for Building Trust With Your Teammates

Giving of Yourself: Tips for Building Trust With Your Teammates by Laura Stack #productivity

“A relationship without trust is like a cell phone without service. All you can do is play games." – Origin unknown Business is supposed to be strictly about financials and hardnosed, logic-based decisions, based solely on what's best for the company and its shareholders. Right? This seems to be the public perception of business, anyway, fostered by the popular media and sadly, by certain corporations where the quest for cash regularly overrides human concerns. Those of us who actually deal with businesses on a daily basis know this perception is mostly untrue. What’s more important that the human side of business—the most important asset? In large businesses, whole departments exist that do nothing but find good workers and try to keep them happy. Of course, there's an equilibrium poin … [Read more...]

Yearning to Be Free: The Importance of Information Sharing

Yearning to Be Free: The Importance of Information Sharing by Laura Stack #productivity

Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.” – Robin Morgan, American political theorist. Some activists like to say information yearns to be free, and we should allow anyone access to it. I don't agree that this should always be so, but it's definitely the best policy for you and your co-workers. Everyone on a team should have open access to all shared data at any time (click to tweet), insofar as it's possible—especially since our current technology makes electronic access simple and easy. Most of us have experienced the dreaded information silo, where valuable work data dams up within one team or under the control of one individual, either because of deliberate hoarding, incompatible technology, or la … [Read more...]

The Breaking Point: What’s Your Team’s Minimum Operating Capacity?

The Breaking Point: What's Your Team's Minimum Operating Capacity? by Laura Stack #productivity

"Bus factor (noun): the number of people that need to get hit by a bus before your project is completely doomed." – Brian W. Fitzpatrick, American software developer and author. In recent years, the software development field has contributed a significant number of productivity terms, concepts, and methodologies to the business world at large. No surprise there, since software development is a fast-paced field that prizes speed. Admittedly, not all these ideas have come to the rest of us unchanged; the methodologies of Scrum and Agile Project Management, for example, don't quite work for most other disciplines, though many of us can adapt the underlying principles to our own work. Brian W. Fitzpatrick, author of Team Geek, defines one software development concept, the "bus factor," in t … [Read more...]

Getting the Job Done: Five Secrets of High-Performance Teams

Getting the Job Done: Five Secrets of High-Performance Teams by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE

“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”—Joe Paterno, American college football coach. In business, we both expect and encourage teamwork. Teams understand the importance of working together on goals that align with organizational goals that move the whole organization forward. Most people make serious efforts to accomplish this, but somehow, a few teams always seem to outshine the rest. Why is this the case? Manfred Kets De Vries, writing in the European Business Review, calls teams and organizations where people consistently perform at their best “authentizotic.” The term derives from two Greek words, authenteekos and zoteekos, that translate to English as “authentic” and “vital to life,” respectively. Applied to business, … [Read more...]