Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Hard Way

I once reviewed the practices of an organization that seemed dedicated to doing things the hard way. They didn't think they were choosing that path, but they were. Simpler approaches were either not identified or were dismissed out of hand. They believed the hard slog was the only option and when things didn't work out, they slogged all the harder. It was a perversion of the work ethic.

They had to be persuaded to think, for want of a better description, like a lazy person. Consider your current situation. How could you achieve your goals with the least amount of effort? Make a list. Include the silly as well as the remotely plausible. Pretend that it's a contest to find an approach that looks promising. You may find that you have been struggling through sand and mud right next to a sidewalk.


Bob said...

Maybe people see the light but one person usually holds the key to perpetual darkness.

Ken Carroll said...

The hard slog seems to appeal to a certain type of manager who feels that it just has to be painful. For most of us it's a disaster. But if you simplify things, as a manager, for your teams, you will win far more loyalty and enthusiasm from them than you will by displaying technical skills.

Dan Richwine said...

Excellent point, Michael. I started in a "billable hours" profession and had it beaten into me that my time was valuable, and the more valuable I made it, the more I would get paid. As a consequence, I have since always tried to maximize the value of my time at work, and thereby been able to tailor my job so it requires less and less effort from me to do it.

There's an old joke about a shiftless person saying "I'm not lazy, I just get my work done so fast no one notices." Such is actually my case, much of the time. It frees me up for new challenges, and allows me to be the fist in line to accept them. It's a good reputation to have.

Michael Wade said...

Bob, Ken, and Dan,

Thanks for your comments. I've embarked on a quest to avoid the slog.


CincyCat said...

This is so true! What is particularly frustrating is when you are one who leans toward the "efficient way" who happens to work for a boss (or with a co-worker) who feels that if you aren't "working hard" then you must be "hardly working". You know the type - they work 60 hours a week, every week, and wonder why no one else is as swamped as they are.

My favorite kind of boss (or client) to work for is one who doesn't care how many "hours" I work on something, as long as I deliver high quality end results on target and on time. If he sees me surfing the net during work hours, he doesn't assume I'm slacking, he assumes I'm caught up & I've earned the downtime (which is true - I swear!).