Doing The Right Things Right (Laura Stack)

Doing The Right Things Right

Are you an executive looking to improve your leadership skills, but not sure how to go about this path? Or do you aspire to become a leader for your company? Many people have a desire to move up into management positions where they work. However, for those who end up in leadership positions, sometimes they’re not sure when “doing the right things right” is necessary. Overcoming challenges can be difficult when you’re the primary individual in charge of your company.

These challenges are discussed in Laura Stack’s book, Doing the Right Things Right: How The Effective Executive Spends Time (2015). Doing the right thing as a manager can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By learning how to be more efficient, you can work less while having more time for other responsibilities. There are a couple of points that Stack emphasizes that leaders keep in mind, which include the following:

1. Setting goals and communicating effectively

2. Adapting to change and taking action on your ideas

3. Providing workers the proper motivation for best results     


Doing The Right Things Right: Setting Goals & Communicate Effectively

As an executive, you want to create goals that relate to your company’s mission. For example, one of the best mission statements comes from Amazon, which states,

“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”

The individuals behind Amazon had ambitious goals to become the best place to shop online. Also, the goals you create should be focus-based: ones that focus on team members, along with a sense of purpose. Stack emphasizes that ambition leads to an increase in productivity. Having tangible goals set in stone help employees find meaning in their company’s mission.

Even if faced with challenging tasks, having goals can help stay employees stay motivated and make their work meaningful. Having meaning in your work leads to determination. Additionally, communication is essential to accomplish objectives; otherwise, the lack of it can lead to wasted time and resources that could be used elsewhere. For instance, assigning an individual to a project that might take significant time away from tasks they’re better suited. Instead, maybe assign multiple people on one project so that there is less work for everyone. When communicating with your team, make it simple and straightforward, and let them know how their contributions lead to accomplishing your company’s goals.

Doing The Right Things Right: Adapt to Change & Take Action on Ideas

Doing The Right Things Right

Regardless of whether you think it’s good or bad, change can be hard but necessary. It may be not very easy to adjust at first but can turn out for better outcomes in the long term. Stack’s example is a shipping company back in the 1990s and imagining if that company dismissed the internet as some farce. This company then chooses not to have a website and refuses to use email as a necessary communication tool. In a short time, that company would go out of business because they weren’t willing to adjust to a changing world.

Also, being innovative leads to relevance and more business development, such as new client relations. But when it comes to creating original ideas, some executives may fall into procrastination. Stack suggests not to get hung up on details; instead, come up with an idea and work your way through it. In the end, it’s results that matter. Coming up with a plan followed by taking action is key to implementing potential success.

Excellent Work Requires Workers Needing Proper Motivation

One of the best practices leaders allow is open work culture. It should be a winning culture that will enable teams to be efficient and perform their best. Leaders may be okay with their teams putting in average work; however, some of the best leaders will challenge their teams to step out of their comfort zone. They want their teams to make an effort while going above and beyond expectations. One useful approach leaders can do is providing incentives for their organizations. 

Especially when it comes to performing difficult tasks, leaders can reward them for coming up with new ideas. Such rewards may include one on one employee recognition or team luncheons as a couple of examples. Rewarding employees with putting in challenging work (or coming up with excellent ideas) is a practical approach to keep your team motivated and make their work more meaningful. If your organization is not driven to succeed, find out why, and figure out how to solve it promptly. As Stack mentions, the way things are usually done may create problems. Instead, think outside the box and come up with new approaches to solving problems.

Check out a brief video of Stack’s book below.


As an executive at your company, you are the sole individual responsible for looking over your work environment and the team’s performance. As a leader, productivity comes in when you join and become a part of the team. So as a reminder, do not alienate yourself when your leadership skills are needed. The best leaders can establish clear goals, show respect to their teams, and look out for the well-being of their team members. 

Stack also tells readers to be mindful of your well-being. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. If you don’t care for yourself first, you can’t help take care of others. One last piece of advice Stack mentions: Don't overthink your biggest challenges. When in a difficult situation, don’t waste time overthinking it too much. Put another way, look at the benefits and repercussions of every action. After that, ask what is best for you and your team, go with your gut feeling and then act on it.

Are you a leader who knows when to do the right thing, even when it’s hard to make?

Was there a time when you made a difficult decision? Was the outcome was better than expected?

Leave a comment below and please share it with others.

Check out Stack’s book below if you want to make better decisions at your company.


  1. Thanks for sharing these ideas. I’m self-employed so I’m always looking to improve my business skills. I believe in setting goals and executing them through discipline and hard work. I’ve never read the book by Laura Stack, but I’ll put it on my list so I can catch up on these ideas even more. Thanks again.

    • Of course, Ivan. Glad to know you’re into these ideas. I believe some of these points are critical to running an efficient business. If you manage a small-large team in your business down the road, they can sure be helpful for long-term success.

      If you decide to read the book at some point, I’m sure you’ll learn some great tips on communication and leadership.

      Thanks again for your input- much appreciated!

  2. I read your article and just had to leave a comment. My goal is to be my own boss so reading great articles about managing my business properly is so appreciated. Sometimes all we need is a little motivation to keep us going. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I loved this article. You touched on setting goals and my personal favorite adapting to change. You always have to be ready for anything. Stay ready so you won’t have to get ready. Thanks for the good read!

    • Yes! Glad you enjoyed reading the post! Adapting to change is hard, but if you’re willing to change for the better, it shouldn’t be that big of an issue.

      One thing I learned throughout the year is that nothing is permanent in life. It may sound bad to some, but it’s good sometimes if the intention is for a better outcome.

      Thanks again for your input, Thomas!

    • Thanks!

      I like your question: Yes, I think incentives are an excellent way to reward effort put into something meaningful, such as a long-term project. Employers who do this may use it as a way to show appreciation to their employees, and to give them a little nudge into putting a little more effort the next time around.

      Where I used to work at, my former employer was huge in providing incentives. I mean, it was nice to get that type of recognition. But sometimes it was too much; in other words, providing free lunches some days where it was mainly junk food. Many of my coworkers liked it, but I personally didn’t.

      As long it’s not over the top or you’re, doing it all the time, you have to know how to do it right. Was the time and effort put into the project well worth it that it deserves incentives? It depends, so I would be careful about it.

      Otherwise, giving incentives and recognizing employees are good ways to improve work culture and team performance.

      Thanks again!

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