How Working Harder Can Work Against You

wasted effort and work
Minimize the waste of your hard work by always questioning.

When we lived in a more static world, working hard had its reward. The target – selling a customer, launching a product or winning market share – remained intact because things that were true a month ago would be true the next month and thereafter.

Salespeople could work the same channels and relationships with their approach because the world was not at the buyer’s fingertips. Thus, there was a symbiotic relationship between the seller and buyer for information and purchasing. They exchanged them without questioning the reality of the situation.

Once requirements or markets were defined, you could lock in and work hard. The harder you worked, the more of a reward you earned. It was a tactician’s game for the taking.

But tacticians rely on a degree of certainty to be able to execute and work hard at their game. But what happens if the game keeps shifting?

We have a world of broad and infinite choices and the collective conscience of people obsolescing things quickly. What was once a fashionable social channel, industry purchasing model or information exchange method may not be true today.

This is a problem for people that are not continually questioning their strategy and approach. If you simply put your head down and work hard without looking up to see if your assumptions are still true, then you can expend a lot of wasted energy.

The better strategy is to stay agile and continually question what you are doing. It is a worldview that does not rely solely on today’s picture of reality. Instead, there is continual feedback and questioning. You have to ask the hard questions of yourself while doing the work.

Is there a better channel to sell into? What can a simpler more powerful technology do to your position? Are your rewards diminishing despite your efforts?

If you don’t ask those questions while working, then you have blind persistence. Things are changing around you or the world is giving you feedback on your approach. This is when you have to redirect your hard work and ensure you test out new strategies to continue to refine and funnel your work.

If you don’t question your approach and assume that you are likely not doing something far more effective, then you can end up investing time in fading and losing strategies.

The best strategy is to continually pivot while working to ensure you are staying on the cutting edge and tapping into high impact opportunities. It’s not easy in a changing world, but it’s the only approach that will allow you to remain relevant and profitable with your work.

What are you doing now that needs a tweak? What’s stopping you from adjusting?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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