Employee Loyalty: How to Create and Maintain a Loyal Team

Employee Loyalty: How to Create and Maintain a Loyal Team by Laura Stack #productivity

"I'll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty." —Samuel Goldwyn, American movie mogul. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, loyalty is as loyalty does. In recent years, some business leaders have bemoaned the death of old-fashioned employee loyalty, as workers realize that technology has freed them from some workplace restraints. Many have also decided they can get farther faster by jumping from one company to another, rather than by working their way through the hierarchy of one organization. This is unfortunate, but it represents a natural evolution of the workplace. Conditions have changed drastically in the past several decades. Given global competition, the lingering Great Recession, and shareholder demands for greater value, most companies can no longer guarantee … [Read more...]

A Look in the Crystal Ball: Challenges Leaders Will Face in 2014

A Look in the Crystal Ball: Challenges Leaders Will Face in 2014 by Laura Stack

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves." -- William Shakespeare, British playwright and poet. Let's face it: business life won't be getting any easier or slower or less complicated (unless human nature and civilization undergo a radical reversal). Technology will keep advancing at a rapid pace, and the changes it brings will continue to reverberate through our society. When I was growing up, many things we take for granted now didn't even exist: cell phones, CDs, DVDs, home computers, and satellite radio, just to name a few. Now they're commonplace things most of us enjoy. What might be commonplace 30 years from now? There's no telling, but what I can say is this: the business leaders who are ready and willing to embrace the future will be the ones who prosper … [Read more...]

Aim for the Stars: Five Steps to Help You Climb the Corporate Ladder

Aim for the Stars: Five Steps to Help You Climb the Corporate Ladder by Laura Stack #productivity

"You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he be willing to climb a little himself." -- Andrew Carnegie, American billionaire and philanthropist. It's basic human nature to want to better yourself, so it's no surprise that the vast majority of workers want to climb the organizational ladder as far as possible during the course of their working careers. The money tends to increase the higher you go, so rank hath its privileges. Many entry- to mid-level workers look toward management as a goal, and those already in management often want to ascend higher. Let's say you're already middle management and have an eye on the distant gleam of the C-Suite. You can improve your odds of getting there if you: 1. Get down to business. If you've aimed for management from the very beginning, this … [Read more...]

Five Reasons Why Execution Needs to Happen More Quickly Now Than Ever Before

Five Reasons Why Execution Needs to Happen More Quickly Now Than Ever Before by Laura Stack #productivity #strategy

Back in the golden age of American business—before the dot-com meltdown, the Great Recession, and the banking crisis—most business leaders considered strategy and execution two different (if related) factors in the business equation. Strategy was something arrived at gradually at high-level meetings that took days, typically defined in 3-to-5 year chunks. At best, execution represented the downstream outcome of the leadership strategy, which was to be implemented by the management team. We all know better now, having realized the hard way that strategy and execution are actually aspects of the same business continuum. In its most simplistic sense, execution is the process of moving from A to B, or from a stated strategic initiative to a tactic. Efficient execution, then, is the shortest … [Read more...]

Execution Is Always in Style

Execution IS the Strategy by Laura Stack

Like the old gray mare of legend, strategic execution just ain't what it used to be—a point that hit home repeatedly as I conducted interviews with high-level executives in a number of industries while researching my latest book, Execution IS the Strategy. Ideally, a strategic plan serves as a vehicle for continually reminding organizational leaders to evaluate the direction of their businesses according to their overall goals. But this doesn't always happen. Why? Because there's barely enough time to stop and take a breath anymore—much less implement a tool that may be stale before it's a month old. Today, leaders rely on their front line workers to help them make solid, reliable decisions on how to best execute the objectives that advance organizational strategy. The Four Keys … [Read more...]

Eliminate Time Wasters

Eliminate Time Wasters by Laura Stack #strategy #productivity

How much of the average worker's day is spent doing things that have nothing to do with furthering their work? It varies according to the person and job, but you know it happens. Time wasting—whether deliberate or not—may be the most pervasive obstacle to productivity in the white collar world. Just as you would smooth your team's way by removing procedural obstacles and providing methodologies and technologies that propel them forward, it's up to you to chop out the time wasters, too. Here are some ways to help you and your team recapture your time. 1. Root out procrastination. This may be the worst time waster of all. We all procrastinate sometimes, whether because we feel overwhelmed, fear failure, dislike a task, don’t want to run out of work—or know we'll be overwhelmed with … [Read more...]

Talent Transformed: Tips for Developing Your Employees

Talent Transformed: Tips for Developing Your Employees by Laura Stack #strategy #productivity

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." -- Stephen King, American writer. Every organization has its Campers—uninspired workers who hunker down and do only what they have to, waiting for the weekend to come...and eventually, retirement. They meet the minimum requirements of their positions, but you rarely get much more out of them. They've either reached their career goals or given up on their dreams, accepting what they've achieved as the best they can do. They'll stay where they sit, thanks very much. Fortunately, that’s the exception—most people do want to do their best and get ahead. As a leader, you face the irony of having to keep your team members happy by developing their skills and offering … [Read more...]

Add Enablers to the Equation

Add Enablers to the Equation by Laura Stack #productivity #strategy

In addition to smoothing the way for your team by removing procedural obstacles, it behooves you to facilitate their work in other ways as well. The less time they have to waste, the easier it will be for them to maximize their productivity and their ability to execute in the moment. The enablers I suggest in this chapter include: 1. Employ the THINK method. Urge your team members to better themselves by Taking care of their health, Honing their memories, Improving focus, Nourishing their brains, and leveraging Knowledge as power. 2. Keep technology up-to-date. The right equipment—such as fast computers or double monitors, the right software—such as instant messaging and webcasting, and the right equipment—such as video conferencing, can all increase productivity when used correctly. … [Read more...]

Remove Obstacles from the Path

Remove Obstacles from the Path by Laura Stack

As it relates to a system or machine, efficiency is defined as “achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.” As it relates to people in the workplace, it’s achieving “maximum results in minimum time”— the trademark and tagline of my firm, The Productivity Pro, Inc. Time is the most costly component of human capital. As a leader, one of your jobs is to make it easier for your people to succeed more quickly. You can act as the team bulldozer by knocking over anything that interferes with their accomplishment. Here’s how: 1. Challenge people to work though processes more effectively. This may involve everything from finding time to think more strategically, to switching from a reactive approach to a proactive one, to putting sticky notes on a way to diagram a … [Read more...]

Measure Your Progress

Measure your Progress by Laura Stack

You must link strategic planning and goal setting, with everyone on the team having goals that support the plan and each other. Not only do all involved have to perform the day-to-day tactical tasks that drive the operation, they also have to work on the higher-level, strategic goals as well—the parts that will eventually become their daily work. Along the way, they must constantly assess whether the tasks they complete in the short term will get them where they need to go in the long term. This chapter takes a closer look at the process in the context of metrics, and how they might apply to your organization. 1. Plan your course. Once you’ve (a) achieved buy-in, (b) set goals, and (c) made efforts to align those goals with your organization’s, you must decide how you and your team … [Read more...]