What’s Wrong With “Work Smart……”?

In all my induction training for new executives, I always pose this question, “Who believes in the saying, Work smart not work hard….?”

There’ll always be a few eager beavers who are quick to raise their hands while a few will eye me cautiously, sensing a catch somewhere, but not quite sure what it is.

I’ll tell them that it is a myth that one can get ahead by simply relying on the smarts without any hard work. There is always the prerequisite initial hard work, after which the law of diminishing returns kicks in. It is at that point that one should then work SMARTER and not merely HARDER.

I’ll explain that anyone who lives by the credo “Work smart, not work hard” is actually passing the buck; he/she is implying that if there is a sucker to do the task, why do it yourself? I’ll be personally offended if anyone in my Team mouths that phrase without thinking of its implication. However, I do expect my Team members all to be adept at thinking out-of-the-box and finding creative and innovative ways to be more effective and efficient, after putting in the prerequisite initial hard work, of course. We all need to be smarter and not merely labour on harder.




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