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

Why Transparency Matters — Both For You and Your Company

Transparency

Even the oldest trees aren’t ashamed to stand naked.” — Marty Rubin, American author

How transparent is your organization? Does every person in every department have a working knowledge of the organization’s goals, mission and vision, and core values?

Perhaps your organization even practices a more radical transparency, where any employee can check the monthly numbers, read board meeting minutes, and review proposed policy changes. Some companies also provide access to their capital structure and strategy, stress collaborative decision-making — and even make everyone’s salary a matter of public record. Read more…

HR Management, Leadership

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

From istockphoto.com

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.

You know you can’t do it all yourself. Typically, under-delegation is more common than over-delegation, and most leaders should give more away.

That said, there are some things leaders should never delegate. Read more…

Talent Management

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Office

From istockphoto.com

“Right now, this is a job. If I advance any higher, this would be my career. And if this were my career, I’d have to throw myself in front of a train.”Jim Halpert, character on the TV series The Office.

Clearly, work is no laughing matter. It’s where you spend a good third of your life, focused on the things that really matter so you can out-produce your competitors and flood the bottom line with black ink.

Some people forget that work is just a part of life — you’re not supposed to live to work — and they become consumed by it. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

How to Help Mediate and Settle a Workplace Conflict

123RF Stock Photo

An ounce of mediation is worth a pound of arbitration and a ton of litigation.” — Joseph Grynbaum, American mediator.

In any group greater than two people, you’ll inevitably have conflict. (Even two people may prove one too many on some issues.)

So it should come as no surprise that your team members will occasionally rub each other the wrong way, resulting in conflicts that come to you for resolution.

In most cases, you can all sit down and reach a reasonable agreement after a little give-and-take discussion — assuming everyone wants to work it out. Or, if the disagreement seems petty, you can just make a quick decision and tell everyone to get back to work. Read more…

Leadership

How You Can Put “Lead” Back Into Leadership

From istockphoto.com

Many people split the world into dualities: You’re either this or that. Positive or negative. On or off. Black or white.

But in reality, human behavior occurs mostly in the shades of gray between any two extremes. So when it comes to leadership, I hate to say, “You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.

But it’s easy to see how it could be true. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

In the Workplace, Time Spent on Social Media May Be a Bad ROI

© arrow - Fotolia.com

Every hiring manager has a story about someone who has botched a job interview or torpedoed a career due to thoughtless comments on social media sites.

I know someone whose close friend, a technical writer, lost his job after making negative comments about his company’s investment prospects on MySpace (remember them?).

Few people think twice about posting embarrassing party pictures on their Facebook pages or casual trash-talk on Twitter. However, your prospective employer or current company also has an online presence, so you are the face of the company. Accordingly, they may keep an eye on you, which is not tough when you voluntarily post content for the world to see. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

Yes, It is Possible For You to Argue Productively on the Job

123RF Stock Photo

It’s been said that every person brings joy to others: some when they enter a room and some when they leave it.

The latter disagrees just to be disagreeable. But no matter how good-natured people are, if you bring any two human beings together, they’ll find something to disagree about eventually.

The strong personalities inherent in any business endeavor can result in people butting heads at all levels. Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

The A-B-C’s (and D-E-F’s) of Motivating Your Workplace Team

123RF Stock Photo

New Employee Incentive Plan: Work or get fired.” — Hand-lettered sign behind the counter of a country store.

According to a recent story in Inc. magazine, Brian Halligan, CEO of software marketing firm Hubspot, has a singular way of handling go-getter employees who present him with great ideas with the potential to improve the company’s bottom line.

He fires them.

The punchline? He fires them from their “day jobs.” He then appoints them as the CEOs of their own change initiatives, something like little start-up companies within the company. Read more…

HR Management

A Good Reminder of Why You Always Need to Have a Backup Plan

123RF Stock Photo

It seems to me that everything that happens to us is a disconcerting mix of choice and contingency.” — Dame Penelope Lively, British author.

On the morning of Feb. 15, 2013, a fireball ripped through the sky above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, exploding 18 miles up after leaving a streak of fire tens of miles long.

The minor asteroid, which was about the size of an apartment building, was actually the second to have visited the Siberian region in a little over a century: 1908′s Tunguska meteor, which was about the same size, fortunately fell to Earth in an uninhabited wilderness, blowing down and charring 800 square miles of timber. Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

The Real Test of a Manager? It’s Successfully Fighting for Your Team

123RF Stock Photo

The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting in above average effort.” — Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

As Tarzan liked to remind Jane after a hard day’s work, it’s a jungle out there.

The business world has become more competitive than ever given the global market and the exploding Chinese and Indian economies. While that also provides more opportunity, because the pie has grown bigger, we still have to scramble for our slices. We all require agility, efficiency, and speed if we’re to get what we need. Read more…