Plan for Goal Achievement

Plan for Goal Achievement by Laura Stack #productivity #strategy #execution

Good strategic alignment consists of practices that connect organizational strategy with employee performance as fully and directly as possible. When you properly align your organizational structure, your employees act as strategic enablers of company policy, mission, and vision—all working from the same standards toward the same ends. This chapter looks at useful strategies for getting your team into alignment and keeping it there. 1. Share your goals. Only when you willingly share your goals with everyone and set up procedures to make sure people stay on track can true alignment occur. Goal-setting is no longer be limited to the C-suite. When your strategic priorities trickle down, work with your team to determine how best to get there. 2. Clear the air. People mistrust or distrust … [Read more...]

Take Your Team on a Mission

Take Your Team on a Mission by Laura Stack #strategy

Your ability to clearly articulate your strategic priorities depends on understanding why you’re here and what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s all that really matters in the work environment. To create a motivated, empowered team, each member has to care about where they’re going and why they should bother. Invite your employees to go on a mission with you, keeping these things in mind: 1. Teach the value of the organization’s priorities. Help your team members understand why your strategic priorities are important, whether at the team, department, division, or company level. 2. Show them why what they do matters. To align team effort with the company’s needs and make team members more willing to execute your strategy on the fly, emphasize how their efforts fit within the overall … [Read more...]

Overdoing It: When Continuous Improvement Stifles Innovation

Overdoing It: When Continuous Improvement Stifles Innovation by Laura Stack #productivity #strategy

"The culture, behaviors, processes, measurements, rewards, and tolerance for failure needed to drive operational excellence are fundamentally different from those needed to create innovation, which requires an emphasis on exploration and invention." -- Ed Hess and Jeanne Liedtka, authors of The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System and Processes. My recent blog about continuous improvement, "Maximizing ROI: Continuous Improvement as a Core Value," seems to have struck a chord with some readers. In my first tip, I suggested that you take care to deploy continuous improvement (CI) gradually, because in certain circumstances formats it can stifle innovation when applied too vigorously. A couple readers asked for more information on how two positives added together can equal a … [Read more...]

Ensure Engaged, Empowered Employees

Ensure Engaged, Empowered Employees by Laura Stack #strategy

When you have a lot at stake or a very high interest in an outcome, you’re more likely to do a better job (or at least try to). Your team members feel the same way. If they don’t enjoy their work, they won’t be motivated to spend discretionary effort on the strategic goals you set for them. Wouldn’t you rather be surrounded by people in whom you have full trust and confidence they will get things done? Your team will have more ownership in their work if you encourage them to take initiative, improve processes, and make last-minute changes vital to timely execution. Here are some simple, common-sense ways to achieve that confident competence: 1. Increase your ratio of engaged to disengaged employees. This requires not only personal strength but flexibility and empathy as well. If you … [Read more...]

Encourage Change Hardiness

Encourage Change Hardiness by Laura Stack #productivity

The only constant in business is change. One way or another, waves of transformation constantly flow through most organizations as they fight to get or stay ahead in the competitive global marketplace. So keep these pointers in mind while dealing with change: 1. Don't make changes for change's sake alone. We've all experienced the “new broom sweeps clean” effect, suffering as a fresh leader came onto the scene and changed everything just because he or she could—regardless of how well the existing system functioned. Whenever this happens, chaos reigns and productivity plummets, and sometimes it never recovers. 2. Accept change as inevitable. Many changes are desirable, so greet change as a friend; go with the flow, and view it as an opportunity to grow and learn. Conservatism has its … [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 … [Read more...]

Strengthen the Beam

Strengthen the Beam by Laura Stack #productivity

Once you've optimized the force you apply to the strategic execution lever, you'll need to make sure the lever itself can handle the force before you apply it too vigorously. In our leverage model, the lever's beam represents your employees, both individually and collectively. The best way to strengthen the beam of your organizational lever is to have the right people in the right places, armed with the skills they need to execute in the moment and get the job done. It’s up to you to strengthen each team member's ability to execute strategy in every way possible. 1. Balance talent and hard work. Find the person with the right strengths needed to maximize the Personal Return on Investment (PROI) for each job on your team. Talent is a wonderful thing, but let's face it: it's useless … [Read more...]

Maximize Your Leadership Input Force

In the leadership leverage machine, your input strength is nothing less than your leadership ability. You get more power into your lever by becoming a stronger leader. Today’s simpler information exchange, better communications, and increased mobility have changed the meaning of "leader." Here's how you can take advantage of the recent reset in business attitudes: 1. Accept that the dictatorial days are over. The most effective leaders no longer just hand down pronouncements from on high; they act as partners with the front-line workers responsible for execution. 2. Delegate your authority widely. You can’t keep up with everything in your field, especially if you’re not on the front line making it happen daily. You're better off delegating your authority as effectively and as widely … [Read more...]

The Managerial Bulldozer: Removing Obstacles to Your Team’s Success

The Managerial Bulldozer: Removing Obstacles to Your Team's Success by Laura Stack #productivity

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome." -- Booker T. Washington, inventor. "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." Henry Ford, pioneering American automaker. In my upcoming book Execution IS the Strategy (Berrett-Koehler, March 2014), I emphasize the fact that, for all intents and purposes, leaders can no longer legislate strategic execution or plan too far into the future. Rigid strategies quickly become stale in the current business arena, and binding our front-line team members to them may result in consistent failure. A more effective solution? Empower individuals to take ownership of their jobs, so they can use whatever strategy works best in the … [Read more...]

The Good Manager: Building Your ROI by Building Your Team’s

The Good Manager: Building Your ROI by Building Your Team's by Laura Stack #productivity

"Vision changes a 'transactional manager' into a 'transformational leader.' While a manager gets the job done, great leaders tap into the emotions of their employees." -- Brian Tracy, American motivational guru. "Employees are the most valuable asset that any organization has. In the past managers said 'jump" and the employees said, 'How high?' Now, the managers are jumping with employees." -- Jacob Morgan, American business writer. During the past generation or so, something unusual has happened in business: managers have evolved from the boss to a team player. Figuratively, they are still in charge, of course, but leaders realized they got farther by being in partnership with their employees. They act more like a visionary facilitator, rather than a strategy imposer. Why? By … [Read more...]