Unexpected Consequences: Are You Ruining Your Team’s Productivity?

Unexpected Consequences: Are You Ruining Your Team's Productivity?

When it comes to poor productivity, the guiltiest party is often the last person to know—because no one tells them. Sometimes it's because their coworkers don't want to cause trouble or get in an argument. Other times they work around the unproductive teammate, because it's easier that way. What if you're the one guilty of ruining your team's productivity, and you don't realize it? It’s kind of like having broccoli in your teeth—you wish someone would tell you, before you embarrass yourself. Though other factors may contribute, as Patrick Lencioni points out in his book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, it ultimately boils down to an absence of trust. In Lencioni's fable, the person doing this most was a brilliant marketing VP named Mikey. She rolled her eyes at her executive team's ideas, … [Read more...]

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...]

Teamwork Accountability Tips

Teamwork Accountability Tips by Laura Stack #productivity

When you're part of a team, each member affects your productivity and schedule. When others fail to get answers to you, you may be late producing the final product. When you rely on coworkers to review a document before proceeding, a month can go by before you have everyone's input. As leader, it's in your best interest to prod your team to get things done more efficiently, so you can produce better results in less time with fewer frustrations. One way to increase everyone's response time is to arrange a meeting with your team at the beginning of each project, so you can plan it through to the end. Lay out milestones, discuss each member's responsibilities, and set firm deadlines. Outline what you need from each person and when, and have them do the same for you. Do your best to be … [Read more...]

Active Alignment: Strengthening Your Team Via Goal-Setting

Active Alignment: Strengthening Your Team Via Goal-Setting by Laura Stack #productivity

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” -- Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich As a leader, you bear most of the responsibility for whatever your team, division, department, or organization becomes while under your supervision. Yes, the performance of individual team members can determine your crew's success or failure; and yes, organizational rules may constrain you somewhat. But nonetheless, the onus is on you to make sure your people produce. If your team fails, you've failed. Of course, if your team fails, you can try to simply duck any accountability, as many business leaders have done in recent years—or you can face the music, as Lee Iacocca did in the 1970s and 1980s. More than once, Iacocca cut his own annual salary to $1 a year while cleaning up Chrysler. It was his … [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...]

I’ll Pat Your Back

When you’re part of a team, each person impacts your productivity and contributes to how quickly or slowly things get done. When others are late in getting answers to you, you’re late in producing the final product. When you’re relying on your coworkers to review a document before proceeding, a month can go by before you have everyone’s input. It’s in your best interest to help your team members speed up and get things done more quickly, so you can produce better results, in less time, with less frustration. I learned this streamlining lesson from a flight attendant, who taught me a lesson in steamrolling obstacles. As a professional speaker, travel is a job hazard; I fly over 100,000 miles each year on United. I travel so much that sometimes I have to wait until the USA Today gets … [Read more...]

Do We Really Need 32 People at This Meeting?

"People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything." -- Thomas Sowell, American economist and social theorist. "Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings." ― George Will, American journalist. Meetings may just be the bane of our workplace existence. I don't mean events like professional conferences; those generally represent valuable educational experiences. No, I refer to those self-proliferating time-wasters that bring co-workers together to discuss ways to maximize team productivity, but instead accomplish the exact opposite. They seem to expand as time goes by; and when everyone has to have their say, they can drag on for hours, killing productive momentum. Yet meetings remain absolutely necessary if … [Read more...]

Encouraging Productive Team Behavior

"In motivating people, you've got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example—and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved." -- Rupert Murdock, Australian-American media mogul. "Productive achievement is a consequence and an expression of health and self-esteem, not its cause." -- Nathaniel Branden, Canadian psychotherapist and author. One of the best things about being a leader is being responsible for the productivity of an entire team. That's also one of the scariest things about being a leader. Your team's accomplishments (or lack thereof) reflect upon you, so you have to run a tight team. Now, that doesn't mean you have to channel a military commander. My father, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, taught me that … [Read more...]