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 … [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...]

Embracing Chaos: The Reality of Modern Leadership

Embracing Chaos: The Reality of Modern Leadership by Laura Stack #productivity

"I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people." -- Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader "Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people." -- John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist. everything changes. That's the ironic paradox at the heart of our profession—and at some level, it's become essential to the continued growth and development of American business. Change stirs things up, cross-fertilizing ideas and aerating the waters of creativity. We may enjoy equilibrium—and humans certainly find it more comfortable not to have to scramble—but inactivity soon sours into stagnation. You can't rest on your laurels, because some hungry young company will always be pushing the envelope and trying to steal … [Read more...]

Dangerous Ideas: Achieving Success Through Innovation

Dangerous Ideas: Achieving Success Through Innovation by Laura Stack #productivity

One of the many things the late Peter Drucker taught us was that only two things really make a business money: marketing and innovation. Everything else is an expense. Some people would add a few other profit-makers to the list, but few would deny marketing or innovation their places. At least, not publicly. But what about privately, or at least subconsciously? That's another matter. Many of us just don't want to deal with innovation, because it's too much trouble. New ideas push you out of your comfort zone, requiring you to scramble, to work harder, and to think more. For those of us already overstressed by a challenging work environment, that's asking a lot. Oscar Wilde, an Irish playwright and poet, said, “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” … [Read more...]

Squeaky Wheels: Troublemakers or Drivers of Change?

"The squeaky wheel doesn't always get greased; sometimes it gets replaced." -- John Peers, American humor writer. We've all heard the old adage that goes, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." It seems to make imminent sense: he who makes the most noise gets the most attention. This works well when it comes to customer service, which is why the bravest among us have long made our voices heard when it comes to getting special deals and better treatment. You've probably seen squeaky wheels in action in the workplace, too. Often, those willing to step forward and ask for what they want—or simply to complain—get the lion's share of attention from the leadership. Indeed, no organization can grow without innovators willing to ask for what they need and stand up for what they believe in. As a … [Read more...]

Changing Direction: How to Keep Cultural Inertia from Limiting Productivity

"The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia." Elbert Hubbard, American writer and philosopher. "Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia." -- Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize winning French biologist and surgeon. Dictionaries define "inertia" as a tendency to resist change. In physical terms, a body in motion tends to stay in motion in a straight line, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest. But other types of inertia exist, and cultural inertia represents the one that applies to most of us most often. You probably know all you care to about bureaucratic inertia, for example. Once a bureaucracy makes a rule, woe to the individual who tries to buck it. Similarly, some corporate cultures resist change, often to … [Read more...]

Welcome Change to the Family: Helping Your Team Embrace the New

"If you have always done it that way, it's probably wrong." -- Charles Kettering, American inventor and former head of research at General Motors. "The only completely consistent people are dead." -- Aldous Huxley, British writer As surely as hair grows and flowers bloom, change will come rolling through your organization today, tomorrow, and always. Trying to resist it would be like trying to hold back the ocean. That didn't work for King Canute, and it won't work for you. Instead, take advantage of change: catch the wave, hang ten, and use its energy to your advantage. Admittedly, that may prove easier said than done. But you can use that argument for almost anything. You can also blame someone else when change leaves damage in its wake because you did nothing. You can actively resist … [Read more...]

Good Enough Is Never Enough! Encouraging Improvement Through Change

"The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher. Just about everyone has experienced the "new broom sweeps clean" effect. We've watched, and often suffered, as a fresh leader came onto the scene and changed everything just because they could—regardless of how well the existing system functioned. Whenever this happens, chaos reigns and productivity plummets for a while. Sometimes it never recovers, whereupon another broom soon appears to start its own ambitious cleaning project. However, many changes are inevitable and desirable. Otherwise, old inefficiencies may pile up until workflow grinds to a halt...or worse, something explodes and flies apart in a … [Read more...]

Change is productive

With all the US Presidential election behind us, regardless of your political persuasion, let's talk about the big message of the Obama campaign: change.  If you want to become more productive, you'll have to be willing to make changes and create new, positive habits and leave old habits behind.  It is easy to become set in our ways and continue doing things the way we've always done them because, well, it's how we've always done them.  I'll take a line from Dr. Phil and ask "How's that working for you?"  Content, satisfied people are not apt to make changes.  After all, if everything is going along swimmingly, what's to change?  But people and organizations must continue to change for things to improve.  If your relationship with your significant other never changed, it would never grow … [Read more...]

Kick up your productivity by getting out of your comfort zone

Take a look at yourself. Is your life the same every single day? If you feel like you're wasting your energy because you're unchallenged and uninspired, you're probably right. There's a good reason the saying "Grow or die" is a something of a cliché, because it verbalizes a deep-rooted truth about human nature: you need to keep to growing intellectually all the days of your life. If that sounds good to you, then use these tips to help you get growing. 1. Challenge yourself to learn something new every day. A lack of challenges is a real energy killer. How can you be anything but bored if you don't learn something new occasionally? Human knowledge is so vast and complex that there's always something new to be learned, so get to it. 2. Exercise your creativity. There's a reason a zeal to … [Read more...]