It’s not just about hard work

Managers love to talk about hard work, long hours, persistence etc. While these are helpful, they really aren’t enough.

Talent, skill, understanding, knowledge, ability etc are all extremely important as well.

Someone could try to teach me how to sew, spend a lot of time training and supervising me and I will still never be able to create a new line of clothing. Why? I don’t have the skillset, the ability or the interest in doing so. It wouldn’t matter how many hours I put in or how many other people, similar to me, who were added to the project, we would fail.

Hard work is good but it’s just part of the equation.

A mistake frequently made is to find someone with some success in one field and assume it will apply to a different field. Even within the same industry it doesn’t necessarily work.

As an example, a McDonalds employee who works at the counter is trying to do two things. First, they are to get the order taken and filled quickly and accurately. Second they are trying to upsell (“would you like fries with that”). A server at a family style restaurant (Applebees for example) is trying to do the same (take the order, deliver the food, upsell to get more tips) while also trying to turn the table so the next group can be served (and tip). A fine dining establishment is quite different. The table is going to turn over less often so it’s about providing the best service, and food, possible. The glasses should never be empty. The people should never be waiting to order or waiting to pay, the server is expected to anticipate their needs. It’s knowing whether they want to be served quickly or slowly (slowly if it’s a business meeting and they want to spend time talking about the deal rather than looking at the menu) and responding accordingly. The great McDonalds employee doesn’t necessarily make a great fine dining server (and vice versa). This doesn’t mean one person is better than the other or one job is harder than the other but rather different people are suited for different roles.

Too many people say “work smarter rather than harder” but it’s also about having the right people do the right job

Have a great day!


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