Connecting with People: Relationships are Productive!

One of the trickiest parts of leadership is finding a way to strike a balance between your employees as subordinates and your employees as real, live people. Managing relationships with the people you work with (and for) is as important to your everyday productivity as it is to your career. (C) 2009 Laura Stack. Listen Now: Powered by … [Read more...]

The Productivity Minute #8: Channels of Communication and Unproductive Email

Email, voicemail, and conference calls have revolutionized how we communicate in corporate America and around the globe. In today’s fast-paced business environment, companies depend on technology to link virtual teams across cities, states, and countries. Yet most companies don’t provide training on how to productively communicate with these resources. Whenever I find myself on the receiving end of an email volley, in which an email has repeatedly gone back and forth, I will simply pick up the phone and end it right there. Some people don’t put enough thought into which technology they will select to effectively communicate their message. For any given purpose, one channel (or medium) will be more effective than another. (C) 2009 Laura Stack. All rights … [Read more...]

The Productivity Minute #3 by Laura Stack – Graciously Refusing Requests from Coworkers Part I

The Productivity Minute, Episode 3.  How do you say NO without saying NO?  Laura Stack explains how to tactfully decline requests by coworkers in this episode. (C) 2009 Laura Stack.  All rights reserved. … [Read more...]

Increasing employee productivity: an interview with Dave Kutayiah

I recently interviewd Dave Kutayiah, SR. VP of HR at ING Clarion Partners about how to increase employee productivity during down times.  I specifically asked him,"How do you get more work out of fewer people?"  He gave me permission to share his reply, because I believe my readers will also benefit: Laura, I am currently going through the same scenario with my HR team and my business partners are experiencing the same due to a recent workforce reduction. In a case like that, as a manager, you have to do the following: - ensure everyone understands why the team is leaner and meaner, - make sure everyone understands the strategy or gameplan and how they fit into the refined organization, - reinforce the importance of each team member and the fact that the stakes are much higher than … [Read more...]

Are Your Social Networking Profiles Helping or Hurting You?

Social networking is all the rage today.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace - the list goes on.  It seems like everyone has one or more of these services, but how many people are thinking about how it can affect them professionally?  And how does it affect your productivity? In terms of your professional image, there have been many news stories and articles about people getting fired or not getting hired for jobs because of the things they post on their profiles.  In one of my time management seminars, a participant told me she didn’t hire an applicant because she researched his social sites and saw that he “wanted to do as little as possible for as much money as possible.”  If you want to keep your social networking just "between friends," pay close … [Read more...]

The Why of Productivity – Who Cares, Anyway?

Why is productivity important?  More importantly, why is productivity important to you?  There is not just one pat answer to this question.  My “why” is likely different than your “why.”  One of the keys to productivity is finding YOUR “why.”  For most people, an external reason like “My boss expects more of me” is not always the most motivating factor.  For me, getting to the heart of why I do what I do is most motivating.  Is the need to be more productive exciting and motivating to you, or does it drain and exhaust you just thinking about it?  If the latter is true for you, perhaps you haven’t gotten clear on why being productive is important. It all comes down to your personal goals and what you want the picture of your life to look like.  Sure, you may need to be more productive at … [Read more...]

Leave Your Name and Number at the Beep

It happens all the time.  You just want to get some brief information to someone but when you call you get sucked into a long conversation.  Sometimes you don't WANT the person to answer their phone – you just want to leave a voicemail.  It’s nice to catch up, but what if you just need to pass on some information and get to the next task?   Well friends, someone has come up with a solution for this problem!  Check out It lets you just leave a message – simple as that.  It is a free service, and they do offer some premium services for a fee.  It is well worth checking out.  While on the subject of voice mail - here’s a quick tip.  Before making a call, jot down the bullet points you want to cover.  This way you have an outline for the call, or if you do get voice mail you … [Read more...]

Would you rather vacation with your spouse or your Blackberry?

People love their Blackberries, no doubt.  A recent study confirmed this, according to an article on  They may be terrific productivity tools for some, but at what cost?  The article by Scott Rapoport states “The study of 6,500 traveling executives says 35 percent of them would choose their PDA over their spouse.”  Wait a minute – people would choose a communication device over a loved one?  If this is true, where have we gone wrong?    It is important to keep track of your business, be connected to your co-workers, clients and employers.  Blackberries certainly have made this easier, particularly for those who don’t spend most of their time in the office.  With this easy connectivity, are people losing the ability to know when to turn it off?  It would seem that technology … [Read more...]

No Email Days?

Would you be more productive by taking a day off each week from emails?  Some companies have tried to implement no-email days and have received mixed feedback.  This story from ABC News tells of co-workers who discovered that they were across the hall from one another rather than across the country.  It takes time to adjust, but taking a break from email can actually boost productivity and enhance your business relationships. While it may seem quicker to dash off an email, taking the time to pick up the phone to contact a client or walk down the hall to see a co-worker personalizes the contact.  In this era of “crackberry” communication, it seems like a rare thing to have actual conversations with people.  What would your office be like if everyone took the day off from email and just … [Read more...]

Staying Productive During Back to School Time

It’s back to school time!  With three kids in elementary and middle school, this is a New Year of sorts for parents.  Here are some tips to help you stay sane and productive: Back-to-the-Future. The first step in moving forward with back-to-school resolutions is to take a look back. What were the situations from the previous school year that could use improvement? Did your child often miss the bus? Did they have a hard time making the honor roll or even passing grades? Was everyone too busy to sit down for dinner together? Once you figure out what areas need improvement, it will help set goals for the upcoming year. Talk to your children. Whether your school-age children are in elementary school or high school, talk to them about areas they would like to see change, both personally and … [Read more...]