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...]

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...]

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...]