Most entrepreneurial types are not lazy by nature. It’s just not a good fit. Long hours, sweating the details, and shouldering most (if not all) of the burdens (financial, decision-making, and physical) are simply not the kinds of things that lazy people gravitate toward.
Most entrepreneurs see themselves more like the guy in the picture at the left. They’re disciplined. They know that success requires hard work and they’re willing to pay the price—doing what others aren’t willing to do so that they’ll be in a position to do what others can’t do later. They’re like little Nikes—“just doing it” all over the place.
But did it ever occur to you that you can be putting in 60+-hour weeks and still be lazy? How can that be? It’s because there’s more than one way to be lazy in business. And sometimes a flurry of activity (necessitating long hours) is simply a cover up for a different kind of laziness. But activity doesn’t equal productivity. And even productivity doesn’t equal profitability. Let’s look at a couple of area of laziness that even the hardest working entrepreneur sometimes overlooks or excuses.
Intellectual Laziness: Doing your homework is essential to business success. But sometimes we get so busy running the business and producing things that we don’t force ourselves to pay attention to the information we need to know. We don’t track the critical information about our companies that tells us how we’re really doing. Or we look at it and we don’t force ourselves to analyze what it really means.
- What are the critical pieces of business information you should be tracking and acting on? Laziness in this area can cost you your business—no matter how hard you work.
Maybe we get so busy with the status quo that we’re not paying attention to what’s going on in our industry. You know the old adage: We’re working in our business instead of working on our business. Successful businesses are the ones that know what their market wants—and where the gaps are that they or their competitors are missing.
- What specific steps are you taking to keep abreast of what your market wants—and ahead of the curve with regard to your competition?
Emotional Laziness: How can you be “emotionally lazy” in business? Business leaders frequently have to face uncomfortable decisions. They could be personnel decisions that need to be made, but will leave someone hurt. And rather than face the emotional discomfort of asking someone to move on, a leader will opt for the status quo. Or there might be a product or service that’s been a long-held dream. But rather than face the painful fact that it’s not viable, a leader may keep looking for ways to make it work—costing his company time, money, and morale. Both of those are examples of emotional laziness.
- Are there important decisions you’re avoiding because they are emotionally unpleasant?
My guess is that if you’re reading this post you’re not a lazy person. You’re looking for ways to make your company more successful. But are you willing to do what others will not—including being intellectually and emotionally disciplined—in order to put yourself in a position to do what others cannot?