Laura Stack

Laura Stack is one of America's premier experts on productivity, and her company, The Productivity Pro, Inc., provides workshops around the globe on productivity, potential, and performance. She’s the author of six books, most recently, “Execution IS the Strategy: How Leaders Achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time.” Contact her at laura@theproductivitypro.com, or you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Articles by Laura Stack

Culture, Talent Management

Taking Initiative: Is It Better to Beg For Forgiveness or Ask For Permission?

permission

You’ve probably heard Grace Hopper’s famous axiom, It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.” As a child, my father used to tell me that all the time!

As a pioneering computer scientist and one of the first female admirals in the U.S. Navy, “Amazing Grace” surely learned the value of begging forgiveness rather than asking permission during her long, storied career. Indeed, Hopper’s Law seems to make a lot of sense in many real-world situations.

But is it applicable to the workplace? Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

The Trouble With Open Offices: Too Much Noise, Too Many Distractions

© noppyviva - Fotolia

Many workplaces today feature more open spaces and smaller, and often shared, workstations. These open floor plans have become “the new normal” in many organizations.

Some people speak of them positively, citing the ability to collaborate with co-workers and the creative feeling they can inspire. However, I hear just as many complaints about the walk-in visitors, interruptions, and noise level negatively affecting workplace satisfaction, productivity, and speech privacy.

According to research from UC Irvine, office workers are interrupted once every 11 minutes, and it can take up to 23 minutes to get back to what you were doing before you were interrupted. Read more…

Talent Management

What Do You Do When Everything is a High Priority?

© iQoncept - Fotolia

Action expresses priorities.” — Mahatma Gandhi

As Scottish poet Robert Burns pointed out in his poem To a Mouse in 1785,

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

Gang aft agley,

An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,

For promis’d joy!”

In other words, no matter how carefully you plan, things still go wrong. Read more…

HR Insights, Talent Management

Five Things Your Co-Workers Really Wish That You Knew

ifonlyyouknew

There’s no “I” in team.” — Classic American teamwork slogan

No, but there’s a ‘me’ if you move a few letters around.” — Sarcastic response

When was the last time you worked completely alone, with no one to help you? Unless you’re an impoverished artist starving in a garret somewhere, the answer’s probably “never.”

No matter what our career tracks or work disciplines, nearly all of us depend on other people to help and back us up. Even people who work far afield, like explorers and archaeologists, tend to work in groups or depend on a support team back home. Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

How to Follow-Up Without Being a Pain-in-the-Rear Micromanager

From istockphoto.com

Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” – best-selling author Tom Peters

If you’ve attained a management position, then you’ve certainly learned that you must delegate some or most of your work, to avoid being overwhelmed by your responsibilities.

No single manager can do everything he or she is ultimately responsible for. Having responsibility for something doesn’t mean it’s your job per se — you just need to make sure it’s done. Read more…

Best of TLNT

The 5 Critical Things That a Good Manager Never, Ever Delegates

From istockphoto.com

Editor’s Note: It’s a TLNT holiday tradition to count down the most popular posts of the year. This is No. 18. Our regular content will return next Monday. Happy New Year!

Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” — President Ronald Reagan

As a leader, you know you must delegate many of the tasks for which you’re ultimately responsible, if you’re to be successful in meeting your goals. Read more…

Best of TLNT

Getting Outside the Box: The 5 Behaviors of Successful Leaders

By istockphoto.com

Editor’s NoteIt’s a TLNT holiday tradition to count down the most popular posts of the year. This is No. 25. Our regular content will return on Jan. 5, 2015. 

“I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” — Jeff Bezosfounder of Amazon.com.

If I had to pick just one piece of business advice that’s become pure cliché over the past few decades, I’d select “think outside the box.” Read more…

HR Insights, Talent Management

Can You Recover After Making a Bad Workplace Decision?

bad-decision

Sometimes you make choices, and sometimes choices make you.” — American writer Gayle Forman

No matter where you stand in the company hierarchy, no matter how well you’ve done your due diligence, and no matter how careful you are before committing yourself to a course of action, sometimes you’re going to crash and burn.

Bad decisions are inevitable, and they’re rarely obvious except in retrospect. I’ve taken speaking engagements that, looking back, I shouldn’t have agreed to accept. It was a bad decision, and I wish I hadn’t done it. But I learned a lot through the process. Read more…

Classic TLNT

8 Ways to Help Make Your Office Meetings More Tolerable

meetings

Editor’s Note: Readers frequently ask about past TLNT articles. That’s why we republish a Classic TLNT post every Friday.

Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” — John Kenneth Galbraith, economist.

As we can all attest, business meetings often waste valuable productive time and tend to last far longer than they should.

But until we learn to communicate telepathically, they will remain a necessary evil — not just as a means of exchanging ideas and information — but also as a way to build relationships with others.

That doesn’t mean we have to like them. Read more…

Culture, HR Insights

You Can Frequently Boost Productivity by Simply Saying “No”

123RF Stock Photo

Not just no, but HELL no.” — Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s response when asked to surrender.

In a corporate environment where a can-do, go-team attitude is important for both personal and team success, it can seem like you must say “yes” to every task thrust your way.

Sometimes, in fact, it seems impossible to say “no.” Read more…