Monthly Archives: June 2013

Don’t work hard, work smart – Have you ever considered doing both?

Work hard and you shall reap the rewards. Sounds so simple right?

Remember school? I do. I remember what it was like studying for a test. Some kids studied forever and did poorly. Some studied hardly at all and got good grades.

You can put in incredible effort and gain nothing. Or you can spend your modest efforts and shall be rewarded. The purpose of what you do is to make progress, not just to expend yourself. In the 1990s there was a family who owned a bakery and had a very loyal customer base which operated profitably.

But then, the owners decided to expand. They decided to sell sandwich and other goods and to add new locations for both retail and wholesale sales.

The bakery’s owners had never worked harder in their lives than they did after the expansion. And in return for all their hard work, they got less money and a threat of bankruptcy because they could not keep up with the debts incurred in the expansion.

Henry Miller, a retired business executive, provided capital to keep the company in business and then ultimately bought the entire operation. He looked at things as an objective observer and found that the bakery was doomed by inefficiencies. “They have too many products. 90% of sales come from 10% of the products. They were losing their aprons making low-volume items.”

Miller says when he took over the company, he knew: “These people couldn’t possibly have worked any harder, but they could’ve worked smarter.”

Effort is the single most overrated trait in producing success. People rank it as the best predictor of success when in reality it is one of the least significant factors. Effort, by itself, is a terrible predictor of outcomes because inefficient effort is a tremendous source of discouragement, leaving people to conclude that they can never succeed since even expending maximum effort has not produced results.

                                                                        -Scherneck 1998