Doing the Right Things Right

How the Effective Executive Spends Time

Laura Stack (Author) | William A. Cohen (Foreword by)

Publication date: 01/18/2016

Doing the Right Things Right

As an MBA student, Laura Stack was inspired by Peter Drucker’s classic 1967 book The Effective Executive. But a lot has changed since it was written. And while Drucker’s advice on what to do remains brilliant, he didn’t give much detail on the how. Stack’s new book is written for the 21st-century executive, detailing precisely how today’s leaders and managers can obtain profitable, productive results by managing the intersection of two critical values: effectiveness and efficiency.

Effectiveness, Stack says, is identifying and achieving the best objectives for your organization—doing the right things. Efficiency is accomplishing them with the least amount of time, effort, and cost—doing things right. If you’re not clear on both, you’re wasting your time. As Drucker put it, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Stack identifies twelve practices that will enable executives to be effective and efficient, grouped into three areas where leaders spend their time, called 3T Leadership: Strategic Thinking (business), Teamwork (employees), and Tactics (self). For each practice, Stack offers advice from her twenty-five years in the trenches working with thousands of leaders globally. You’ll receive scores of new ideas on how you, your team, and your organization can boost productivity.

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt

PDF eBook:
9781626565678

$17.95
(member price: $12.57)

Additional Links:

Hire Laura Stack

Other Available Formats and Editions

$17.95 (member price: $12.57)

9781626565685


$17.95 (member price: $16.16)

9781626565661



Bulk Discounts
Rights Information


Featured Books



More About This Product

Overview

As an MBA student, Laura Stack was inspired by Peter Drucker’s classic 1967 book The Effective Executive. But a lot has changed since it was written. And while Drucker’s advice on what to do remains brilliant, he didn’t give much detail on the how. Stack’s new book is written for the 21st-century executive, detailing precisely how today’s leaders and managers can obtain profitable, productive results by managing the intersection of two critical values: effectiveness and efficiency.

Effectiveness, Stack says, is identifying and achieving the best objectives for your organization—doing the right things. Efficiency is accomplishing them with the least amount of time, effort, and cost—doing things right. If you’re not clear on both, you’re wasting your time. As Drucker put it, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Stack identifies twelve practices that will enable executives to be effective and efficient, grouped into three areas where leaders spend their time, called 3T Leadership: Strategic Thinking (business), Teamwork (employees), and Tactics (self). For each practice, Stack offers advice from her twenty-five years in the trenches working with thousands of leaders globally. You’ll receive scores of new ideas on how you, your team, and your organization can boost productivity.

Back to Top ↑

Meet the Author & Other Product Contributors


Visit Author Page - Laura Stack

Laura Stack is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling author, and leading expert in the field of human performance and workplace issues. She is the president of The Productivity Pro, Inc., which specializes in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.

Laura has authored numerous productivity books, which have been published in more than 20 countries. She writes on improving productivity, lowering stress, and saving time in her columns in The Business Journal, Huffington Post, Productive, and Time Management magazines. Laura holds the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association and was inducted into the exclusive Speaker Hall of Fame (CPAE). She was the 2011-2012 President of the National Speakers Association (NSA).

Laura has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and Forbes magazine. She has been a spokesperson for Microsoft, Dannon, belVita, 3M, Skillsoft, Office Depot, Day-Timer, and Xerox. Her client list features top Fortune 500 companies including P&G, Cisco Systems, Toyota, Wal-Mart, Aramark, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Time Warner, plus government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Air Force Academy, the Census Bureau, and the U.S. Senate.

For 25 years, Laura’s keynote speeches and seminars have provided audiences with immediately actionable ideas on time and stress management, life balance, and execution. She uses both high energy and high content to educate, entertain, and motivate audiences to produce greater results in the workplace. Laura’s live presentations include:

What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do (burnout and life balance)

Doing the Right Things Right (leadership and time management)

Execution IS the Strategy (team and employee productivity)

Attack of the Productivity Suckers! (focus and productivity)

Managing Your Time, Tasks, and Email (workflow and Outlook)



Foreword by William A. Cohen

Foreword author William A. Cohen, PhD is an authority on leadership and strategy formulation and deployment. He gives speeches and seminars for the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Air War College, the FBI Academy, all four armed services, and corporations from Boeing to The Cheesecake Factory. He is the author of The Practical Drucker.

Back to Top ↑


Table of Contents

The 3T Leadership Assessment
Part I: Strategic Thinking
1. Goals: Align Strategy and Objectives
2. Change: Embrace Innovation and Adaptability
3. Communication: Share Mission, Vision, and Ideas
4. Decision Making: Resolve and Execute Decisions Promptly
Part II: Team Focus
5. Environment: Build an Open Team Culture
6. Performance: Forge a Results-Oriented Team
7. Motivation: Harness Team Creativity and Loyalty
8. Growth: Emphasize Continuous Improvement
Part III: Tactical Work
9. Value: Focus on High-Impact Activities
10. Technology: Master Data Handling and Workflow
11. Agility: Maximize Speed and Flexibility
12. Balance: Sustain Your Physical and Mental Health
Conclusion: The Evolving Business of Business


Back to Top ↑

Excerpt

Doing the Right Things Right


1
GOALS
Align Strategy and Objectives

If your team lacks clear goals, it may as well be a drunken octopus on roller skates. You’ll get just as far. To be efficient and effective, you must set team goals, align them actively with organizational goals, and communicate them to your team.

You’ll also need to regularly reevaluate your progress to ensure you’re on the right path. If you’re not already doing so, consider what course corrections might better serve you. “Strategic planning and goal setting should be linked,” advises Janie Wade, Senior Vice President of Finance for Baylor Scott & White Health. “Everyone on the team should have goals that support the plan and each other. But the plans and the goals have to leave room for the unexpected opportunities that develop.”

Goals also boost team productivity because they sow seeds of hope. They give your team something to strive for, especially if they’re coupled with a positive, nonpunitive environment where you provide valuable feedback on a regular basis. Goals establish promises that you and your team can work toward as you fine-tune performance and boost productivity.

PLANNING: THE EXECUTION CONTINUUM

The first step in goal setting is to take a good, hard look at your organizational goals. Your personal and team goals should always contribute to or support the organization’s overall goals. It’s not necessarily easy to achieve alignment, and it’s far too easy to drift off course once you have. But it is absolutely crucial to maintain your alignment, or the tactics you execute may be skewed from or entirely useless toward those goals. To keep that from happening, let’s look at a basic formula that will help bring you on course and keep you there.

Logical, Strategic Execution

As with so many other things, business has borrowed the concepts of strategy and tactics from military and games theory. Yet researchers regard them as discrete, if interrelated, topics, and confusingly, often interchangeable terms. And when business still moved at human speed, we could afford to consider them separately. But in this electronics era, we no longer can.

In a previous book, Execution IS the Strategy, I focused on strategic execution itself, and described how today, we need to perceive strategy and tactics as what they truly are: points on an Execution Continuum. That continuum begins with an organization’s core values, which represent the organization’s bedrock, the foundational beliefs upon which its founders built it. Consider some Jewish-owned businesses, which close on Saturday—the Jewish Sabbath. Or some founded upon Christian values, which close on Sunday.

A mission statement builds on the core values and succinctly describes what a company does to achieve its vision, i.e., its ultimate purpose for existing. Vision and mission are incomplete without each other. For example, the National Speakers Association (NSA), of which I was president in 2011–2012, has as its vision, “Every expert who presents content to an audience through the spoken word for a fee belongs to NSA.” Its mission is stated as, “NSA is the leading source for education, community, and entrepreneurial business knowledge needed to be successful in the speaking profession.”

Mission and vision tell us where an organization wants to go; strategy and tactics are the means by which we get there. Strategic objectives feed the operational strategies of an organization and break down into departmental goals and individual performance objectives. Tactics achieve these goals, and resulting action items are executed.

Back to Basics

Strategy tends to fall into place more easily when it’s built on mission, vision, and values—which, in turn, makes it easier to determine corresponding goals and tactics. Effective leaders hitch themselves to the organization’s star and align team and personal goals with the organization’s. Then they determine the most efficient ways to advance together.

ALIGNING YOUR TEAM

The effective, efficient executive uses alignment to strengthen the team—not only to shape its destiny but also to emphasize the mission and sow the seeds of hope for a better, more productive future. As we’ve already seen, goal setting begins in the soil of core values and is strengthened by the fertilizer of mission and vision. The outcomes are the harvest you reap.

Brenda Knowles, Vice President of Marketing at Shaw Industries, a flooring provider in Georgia, recently told me:

Our strategic planning process and management meetings ensure that managers are clear on the company’s growth strategy. With that strategic framework, we empower each of the business areas to bring forth recommendations for how to best meet customer needs and anticipate other market forces. This allows us to continue to innovate to ensure we’re meeting and exceeding customer expectations and continually improving our products, processes, and services.

So, I’d say my approach is one of including the team in the process, giving them the big picture and the guardrails, if you will, and relying upon their key strengths, insights into the company, and into our customers’ business to help propel us forward. It’s about empowerment and accountability.

Amen to that. How do you achieve such alignment?

Steps to Success

Getting strong-minded, independent people to work together on one objective can be like herding cats. But when they see how excited and personally committed you are to the goals, they’ll be more likely to take ownership and put in the effort required to make their goals a reality. The following tips can strengthen your team’s alignment:

1 EMPHASIZE CORE VALUES. Remind your team exactly where the organization is coming from and where it needs to go. Help them tie the mission/vision to the tasks they complete every day, since often this isn’t apparent.

What happens when an organization loses track of its core values? Anything from a minor stumble to a complete meltdown. Back in 2001, energy company Enron self-destructed in a scandal that still amazes those who witnessed it. Despite the core values literally carved into the façade of its Houston headquarters—Respect, Integrity, Communication, and Excellence—top executives focused on feathering their own nests and defrauding stakeholders to the tune of billions of dollars.

2 EMPHASIZE BOTH INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND TEAM EFFORT. I can’t say it often enough: if you want to engage and empower your employees, tell each of them why their work matters and how it moves the organization forward. Otherwise, why should they ever look beyond the next paycheck? That said, you increase your productivity by an order of magnitude if everyone interlocks as a solid team.

Where do your team members feel lost? Where is more training needed? Encourage your team members to examine their daily work and help them fill in the blanks where they can’t translate goals into operations. Urge them to ask for what they need to be more valuable to the marketplace, the organization, and the team.

3 FOCUS ON A FEW MAJOR GOALS. Rather than dividing your attention between twenty goals and doing none of them well, pick one to three goals and execute them brilliantly. Multitasking works no better for team achievement than it does for individual productivity; you’re better off single-tasking in a fierce, focused way.

Break big goals into manageable pieces. This keeps more complex goals from overwhelming your team. Each subgoal builds on the previous one, right up the ladder.

4 CELEBRATE WHEN YOU ACHIEVE A GOAL. Don’t just robotically move from one project to the next. When your team reaches a major milestone, have a party, give out gift cards, or take everyone to lunch as a reward for hitting that goal. Immediate gratification adds to the delayed gratification you’ll receive when the entire project is complete. Once you achieve and celebrate a goal, begin anew! Don’t rest on your laurels too long, or your team members might get bored and lose their edge.

Stepping Up to the Plate

As the caterpillar told Alice in Wonderland in Lewis Carroll’s book, “If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there.” You can’t be like dandelion fluff, going wherever the wind takes you. Destiny isn’t a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. So shape your team to succeed and push forward with a flexible methodology that gets you ahead and keeps you there.

ESTABLISHING PRODUCTIVE AND RELIABLE GOALS

Goals tie together all the other factors crucial to modern business success: flexibility, agility, engagement, empowerment, hard work, self-discipline, teamwork, cross-functionality, you name it. They shape attention and provide direction in an increasingly chaotic world.

Political theorist Hannah Arendt once wrote, “Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible.” Goals are a species of promise, and they apply to corporate teams as much as they do to any other human endeavor.

Setting Goals as a Team

Some of your team members will have a better understanding of goal-setting than others, so it’s up to you to make sure they all stay on the same wavelength. Here’s how:

1 START WITH INDIVIDUAL TEAM MEMBERS. You’ll find it easier to establish team goals if individual members also have personal goals to reach for. Chris might want to make $150,000 annually by the time he’s thirty-five, while Jane may prefer to move up the management ladder toward CFO. As you learn your team members’ personal and professional development goals, help them find ways to weave those goals into the general goal-fabric of both team and organization.

2 SET REASONABLE GOALS. Whether it involves finishing a particular project or improving overall performance, provide your team with reasonable goals that include time-based milestones and objectives. Show them how they can increase their productivity over the next year or so, and communicate the plan clearly. Your team may surpass your expectations.

Precision counts: Tell your people precisely what they need to do to move everyone forward. The more detailed you are, the easier it is for them to engage. “Try harder” and “Do your best” don’t work nearly as well as “We need to improve output by 15 percent,” “Each person needs to send twenty-five prospecting emails a day,” or “Let’s finish this project by next Friday.”

3 ENSURE A SUPPORTIVE, PRODUCTIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT. Invite open discussion and sharing of resources. Make sure that when someone is ill or a position is open, you have enough overlap in skill sets to fill in the blanks while you’re short-staffed. Continually ask people how they think productivity can be improved. Getting people’s input empowers them to participate, so meet with your team and brainstorm. They may have some innovative or easily implemented ideas to contribute, perhaps something as simple as issuing everyone an iPad, and these ideas will give them an opportunity to shine.

4 CLEAR THE WAY TO THE TARGET—AND GIVE YOUR TEAM SOMETHING TO SHOOT FOR. As the leader, you’re also a facilitator. You not only have to clarify what the goals are and how to get there, but you’ll also need to help blaze a trail. The quicker your team reaches one goal, the quicker they can move to the next—and the more productive they’ll be.

In addition to providing the target itself, motivate your employees in positive ways—from offering bonuses to helping them climb the corporate ladder. Explain the rewards system and follow it meticulously, without favoritism. If your team can’t trust you to keep your side of the bargain, why should they bother reaching for the goals?

5 TRACK YOUR TEAM’S PRODUCTIVITY AND PROVIDE MEANINGFUL FEEDBACK. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Keep an eye on your team deliverables and overall production using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), timesheet software, or scoreboard programs such as Kaptasystems.com or i-nexus.com. That way, you’ll more easily see who needs help and who already pushes their productivity through the roof. Once you have that information in hand, you can provide meaningful feedback that includes specific growth ideas.

Purposeful Productivity

Good leaders give of themselves. Employees want someone to prepare the path for them, be there when they need them, and guide them along the way. They want you to actually lead. When you sincerely demonstrate compassion for your team, care about their futures, and hold everyone to their promises—including yourself—they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.

Back to Top ↑

Endorsements

“Laura Stack is so right about Doing the Right Things Right. My advice for how an effective executive should spend some time? Read and learn from her book!”
- Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 NY Times bestseller Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive 

“I hired Laura Stack to work with my team. Her views are drawn from her twenty-five years of experience with hundreds of leaders and organizations like mine, and I give her work my highest recommendation.”
—Steve Silver, Human Resources Director, AlliedBarton Security Services

“If you follow the concepts Stack sculpts in Doing the Right Things Right, you can gather insight into where you can improve results, why you might be falling short in some areas, and how to improve both your work and your life.”
—Cathy Krause, Learning and Development Manager, MillerCoors

“Stack is so right about ‘doing the right things right.’ My advice for how an effective executive should spend some time? Read and learn from her book!”
—Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive


Back to Top ↑