We all know the admonition that we should “Work smarter not harder.” We’ve all heard that for years. But there’s no such thing as sustained business growth without hard work. And sometimes “working smarter” simply means doing hard work. But it’s a different kind of hard work.
There is no escaping the importance and value of hard work, but here’s something to consider: How do you evaluate (put a value on) hard work? Is it the hours you spend at the office (or the additional time you spend at home working on the business)? Is your hard work measured by the number of things you check off your “do list” every day?
What about your employees? Do you use the same standards in evaluating their performance? Your employees will most likely follow your example. If you put the emphasis on hours and sweat and effort, they’re likely to do the same—at least as long as they think you’re watching.
Working smart, on the other hand, means having a vision and goals that are motivating. That’s why it’s so important to take the time and effort up front to really identify what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. Have you worked hard enough setting goals that others want to accomplish?
Another key to working smart is making sure that you’re measuring the right things. Again, just because your employees are working long hours, that doesn’t mean they are accomplishing what’s important. Imagine going to your bank and asking them to loan you money to grow your business. When they ask you to justify the need, you tell them: “My employees are working 60 to 70 hours a week. They’re really hard workers!” Are you going to get a loan based on that? No. The bank is interested in profitability and market share.
That’s why it’s important to not only set motivating goals, but it’s equally important to establish key performance indicators that measure the things that are truly important to business success—and to measure those things regularly.
There’s nothing wrong with working hard. Just make sure you’re working hard on the right things and that you do the hard work up front of thinking through your vision, goals, and metrics for making sure that you’re consistently moving in the right direction.
I’d be delighted to help you put those things into place for your business so you can work hard and smart and see the kind of growth you really want.