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We’ve all heard the saying, “don’t work harder, work smarter” but is that really the message we send to the people we work with?  We set artificial goals whether they make sense or not, when things go wrong we look for someone to blame, and we seem to have a hard time taking responsibility for what happens in our lives.

The problem we have in our society is that we really believe that working harder is the answer to most questions.  When someone works smarter we often will say their success is luck.

In the book Talent is Over Rated the concept of intentional practice is discussed.  The author, Geoff Colvin points out that it’s not just practicing that it’s important, but purposeful practice that counts. 

When you look at someone who has created extraordinary things they will have often worked out hard, but no harder than anyone else.  What they have done is learn their craft in a very purposeful way.  I call this working smarter, not harder.

If you want to be great first spend some time thinking about what great is.  Have a good definition of what excellence looks like in your world.  This speaks to having the right purpose behind whatever it is you’re trying to do.

If you put together the perfect solution but it doesn’t solve anything then you’ve spent a great deal of effort to create something that no one wants.  This is not working smarter.  If you asked the question why the world needs this particular product or service you might have saved yourself a great deal of time and effort.

Those who spend any time with me will quickly learn that I rarely, if ever, send out traditional notes.  I tend to send notes and complicated communications as mind maps instead.  It’s not because I think mind maps are cool, they are, it’s because I find mind maps are easily built and more importantly easily understood and remembered.

The more I use mind maps the better I get my point across.  I find that those who have gotten eight to ten maps from me start asking for them instead of notes.  People I work with find mind maps find easier to understand and more useful than text notes.

It really comes down to thinking before doing.  We spend too much time doing and then thinking about whether it’s the right thing to do: As many in the quality control movement say, “go slow first, so you can fast later.” It’s not who starts the quickest, but it’s who has with the best result at the end.

What do you do to work smarter?  Really take some time to think about this.

One of my favorite methods of working smarter is by becoming a passive owner.  We’ve put together a mind map on the steps to passive ownership.  Click on the button below and we’d be glad to provide you with a copy of this mind map.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

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Topics: mission vision values and goals, Mind Maps, enterprise value, Strategic Thought, goals

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