According to Stack, leaders don’t simply juggle projects and push people to work harder; they also protect their team from any factor that might jam the gears of productivity.
Stack says that any organizational unit, whether it’s a corporate team department or division, should be approached by its leader as a kind of garden, an analogy appropriate for weeding out inefficiencies in the system—whether it’s unproductive employees, bureaucratic red tape, or poorly designed processes.
“Both your superiors and subordinates depend on you to rapidly recognize such issues and to deal with them quickly,” Stack says, offering four tips for leaders to work toward converting managerial challenges into profitable opportunities:
1. Think lean. In modern management circles, the “lean” philosophy addresses trimming away the fat to increase efficiency and the bottom line. Outmoded workplace philosophies that allow inefficiency to creep in unchallenged are an obstacle to productivity.
“Adopt a lean state of mind and apply it to every step of your workflow process,” Stack says. “Develop a team-wide culture of efficiency and ruthlessly root out bloat.”
2. Take advantage of technology. Something that once seemed impossible may now look easy, thanks to modern technology. New efficiency-centric technology surfaces daily; Stack advises remaining abreast of advancing technology for streamlining operations.
3. Evaluate changes. Stack advises readers to be careful when applying changes to upgrade workflow. “If you think you’ve found something more efficient, don’t yank up the old method and discard it out of hand,” Stack says. “Test the new option first to see if it pans out.”
4. Make tough decisions. Stack says true leadership means making decisions that benefit the group as a whole, not the individuals comprising it. This may sometimes mean more work for everyone, or it may mean lay-offs.
“Your caretaking tasks require you to make such big decisions sometimes, and to do so as efficiently as possible,” Stack says. “Take every factor you can into account, but don’t dawdle if it comes down to letting someone go.
“Better yet, invest time and resources to overhauling a process that will improve overall productivity.”
Stack also warns readers to avoid a false sense of security just because profits are good.
“When you’re working fertile soil, any plant can thrive,” Stack says. “And remember, weeds grow fast and relentlessly;
“Even if you’ve done well so far, take a good, close look at your workplace. If you see any wasteful processes or strategies—any at all—pull on your gloves, kneel down, and start weeding.”
For information on weeding workplace inefficiencies, visit the http://www.TheProductivityPro.com website, Email Laura@TheProductivityPro.com, or call 303-471-7401.
About Laura Stack:
Laura Stack is a time management and productivity expert who has been speaking and writing about human potential and peak performance since 1992. She has implemented employee productivity improvement programs at Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, UBS, Aramark, and Bank of America. Stack presents keynotes and seminars internationally for leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professional services firms on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in the workplace.
The president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management firm specializing in high-stress environments, Stack is the bestselling author of five books: “What to do When There’s Too Much to do” (2012); “SuperCompetent”