You know what the Internet needs? Another post about how hard work and execution is more important than ideas.
But it’s true, and I feel a need to repeat this from my own experience.
I work in a company that wants to grow fast, and faster. When we don’t grow like we should, the debate arises: Are we just not being strategic enough? Do we work harder or smarter?
It’s not original to point out that this question poses a false dichotomy. The correct answer is both. We have to be more smarter about our strategy for bringing our software to businesses AND we have to work harder at executing that strategy.
What both sides of this coin often miss, however, is how hard we’ll have to work *to* work smarter.
We want to get better analysis, better reporting, better systems, better plans – all things necessary to make a more strategic (a.k.a. “work smarter”) impact at scale. They will in the long term make our jobs easier, too. But the rub is that these things all require hard work – harder work, in fact, than the work required simply to repeat the same cycles of labor week over week. So we often just get through the week and don’t touch the tools that would save us. Maybe we remember talk about the things we need to do, but each week brings more doubt that we’ll ever do them.
If we had executed on half of the ideas I’ve heard, we would be much closer to being worth the billions we hope for one day. But it’s just those ideas which would help us get off the hamster wheels that are least likely to receive the willpower of those people thoroughly conditioned to the hamster wheel.
So how do we get toward work that *isn’t* unnecessarily hard and *is* truly smart?
In the end, it all comes down to hard work. Any talk of working smarter will have to be backed up by the will and the work of smart people. We’ll have to stay late on Friday to finish that reporting spreadsheet. We’ll have to be up until 10 to create that template. We’ll have to chuck in a bit of our weekends to define our strategy for the next year.
Ironically, it will be hard work that helps us out of any situations in which we rely too much on *just* hard work to begin with.
Intellectual Credit: I recently encountered the idea of the hard work of fixing processes/long-term in Rory Vaden’s Procrastinate on Purpose. It connected with a few other things in my mental space and work life recently to yield this.