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When Working Hard Isn’t Working

By September 2, 2014February 14th, 2019Articles, Business Coach, Leadership


“We must take change by the hand or rest assuredly, change will take us by the throat.” ~
Winston Churchill

It used to be common for people to tell you to ‘work harder’ if you weren’t achieving what you needed to. Falling behind was met with the death stare from the boss and you knew the expectation was to work back….or……

In this day and age, I’m not sure people have the capacity to work harder. Sure there’s always people that probably could! Especially, as you look around the office and you notice those who just do what they have to. There are the clock watchers, those that can make the simplest of tasks span the whole day and time wasters. But there are those that are working really, really hard right now.

And it’s not working for them.

So what do you do when you are working really hard and the thought of working harder seems impossible? You aren’t capable of doing any more hours and if you do, it will cost you your relationship, your health or both. But the work keeps piling up, deadlines pass and clients aren’t happy.

It doesn’t matter how hard you are working if you are working on the wrong things. Business leaders and managers are the hardest working people I know. They are also guilty of working 100% in the business, entrenched in the ‘doing’. And that’s where the working harder bit is not going to help you because it is preventing you from seeing what is really going on and adapting accordingly.

People tend to get stuck in the rut of what they do and how they do it. It’s like groundhog day. It’s exhausting and frustrating.

To survive (there is no mention of thrive here), business leaders and mangers must change how they are working and ensure they are focusing some of their time ‘on the business’. Allowing them the space to elevate themselves for a helicopter view of what they are doing enables them to plan, delegate, assess priorities and ensure they are working hard on the right things. Not simply reacting to demands.

Change is something we must all embrace on a consistent basis. Business leaders must be agile. If you aren’t adapting, if you’re not working ‘on’ the business as well as in it, change will grab you by the throat and more than likely strangle every last breath from you in time. Horrible thought.

So what’s worse for you, being strangled by doing the same thing or changing what you do? Your results depend on your decision.