About This Book
Working smarter, not harder is about achieving more with less effort, making every day count and simply enjoying your life and all
the opportunities it offers.
Working smarter is also a new attitude to work. When you work smarter, you make better use of your time and energies —
consequently, you’re happier and more productive. By making the most of your business time, you optimize your personal
satisfaction level — and free up more time for non-work activities of your choice.
Effective people intuitively or instinctively learn how to work smarter. They are not necessarily in possession of special skills or
even any insider secrets — they simply know how to apply the practical techniques of working smarter, and therefore realize above
In the final analysis, working smarter is about achieving the greatest possible return on your investment of time and energy in your
business career or your life as a whole. It holds the key to the holy grail most people are avidly searching for — how to get more
done while spending less time and energy.
The objectives of the ‘‘Work Smarter, Not Harder’’ system are:
1. To unlock your real potential.
2. To simplify your life so you can focus on important issues.
3. To create the life you want to live in the future.
4. To increase enjoyment through control over your own destiny.
In the final analysis, it is about priorities and an understanding that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy — your actions today create the circumstances of your tomorrow.
The issue of personal productivity is too complex for one formula to be developed which will suit every person’s specific requirements. That has to be done on an individual basis, adopting whichever principles are most applicable, adapting others to suit the circumstances and coming up with new hybrid combinations of various ideas.
The most common reasons many people fail to be as effective as they’d ideally like to be are:
1. An unwillingness to invest in work today that will not bear fruit until some time into the future.
2. A half-baked attempt at achieving goals before abandoning them completely as unrealistic.
3. Having erroneous concepts ingrained by society about the idea of hard work.
4. Not knowing or more often not deciding what you want out of life — at the expense of all other possibilities.
5. Poor time management.
6. Irrational emotions — weak self-image, fear of failure, guilt, worry, anger, etc.
8. An unwillingness or inability to delegate.
9. Poor communication skills.
10. Unnecessary conflicts.
11. Interruptions — meetings, visitors, telephone calls.
12. Too much nonproductive paperwork.
To offset these reasons for failure, there are 12 theories on how to work smarter, not harder. The theories are:
Working Smarter Theory #1: The Investment Theory of Work – In order to make the most of your time in the future, you must be willing to sacrifice some of.
Working Smarter Theory #2: The Need For Goals – Human beings are of necessity goal seeking creatures. We either take control of the process by setting effective goals or we automatically consign ourselves to mediocrity and ongoing frustration.
Working Smarter Theory #3: Organizing For Increased Effectiveness – To operate at peak effectiveness, you must have all the necessary tools at hand, a work area where you can focus and the mental clarity to focus on solving problems rather than adding to them.
Working Smarter Theory #4: Time Scheduling – You must have a written time scheduling system that suits your specific requirements. It’s the only way to proactively manage your day and increase your effectiveness.
Working Smarter Theory #5: Develop the Mental Attitudes of Effectiveness – Your personal attitudes and mental images will have a huge influence on your personal effectiveness. An effective person does the things and thinks the thoughts that make them feel good about themselves.
Working Smarter Theory #6: Putting an End To Putting It Off – Procrastination can kill effectiveness. Overcome it by taking a positive, proactive approach — build on any forward momentum that occurs until it becomes unstoppable.
Working Smarter Theory #7: Minimizing Interruptions- Productive people need to produce. Meetings, visitors, telephone calls and the demands of other people can be a huge drag on effectiveness. Work hard at reducing them.
Working Smarter Theory #8: Winning the Paper War – Paper work is a fact of modern business life. You can enhance your effectiveness in dealing with paper by awareness of the problem and by developing good habits and procedures.
Working Smarter Theory #9: Delegation – There isn’t enough time available in your lifetime to achieve everything you want to do if you have to do it all yourself. There is, however, enough time available if you can use the time of other people efficiently and productively. Therefore, delegation is one of the keys to accelerating the rate of growth of your personal effectiveness.
Working Smarter Theory #10: Communication With Other People – Much of our personal effectiveness will be built on the foundation of our ability to communicate effectively — in whatever format or medium we choose. Therefore, increasing this ability to communicate clearly will increase our overall effectiveness.
Working Smarter Theory #11: Working With People, Not Against Them – It’s always easier to work with people rather than against them. In other words, avoid conflicts and create win-win situations wherever and whenever possible. This will be a huge boost to your personal effectiveness.
Working Smarter Theory #12: Taking Advantage of the Changing Work Place – Throughout history, there have always been people who adapt to changing circumstances better than others. A key element in personal productiveness is having the flexibility to see new opportunities that will arise in the future.
‘‘In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.’’ — John Ruskin
Develop an Effectiveness Plan
Many people confuse efficiency with effectiveness. Efficiency is doing the job right. Effectiveness is doing the right job. Of the two, effectiveness is more important than efficiency because it focuses on results rather than the methodology.
Time is the most important resource available to every human being. It has several unique properties:
1. It must be used at a constant, invariable rate.
2. It is irreplaceable and finite.
3. Nobody ever knows how much they have until it runs out.
The paradox is that few people think they have enough time to do everything they want, but everyone has all the time there is.
Working Smarter Theory #1: The Investment Theory of Work
In order to make the most of your time in the future, you must be willing to sacrifice some of your present time, energy and short-range satisfactions.
Most people are so addicted to the instant-everything lifestyle they avoid the imperative to invest in their own futures. Thus, when their future arrives (as it surely must), they have made no progress, and are still stuck scrambling to meet their day-to-day requirements.
A smarter approach is to be willing to forgo some immediate benefits in order to lay the foundation for long-term success. In other words, to set and achieve goals.
Working Smarter Theory #2: The Need For Goals
Human beings are of necessity goal seeking creatures. We either take control of the process by setting effective goals or we automatically consign ourselves to mediocrity and ongoing frustration.
How do you set goals?
1. Set specific goals in all key areas of life: career, business, personal relationships, recreational, personal growth, material, social, etc.
2. Set challenging but attainable goals.
3. Make all goals as specific and measurable as is reasonably possible.
4. Make certain your various goals are compatible — that you haven’t set conflicting goals by accident.
5. Realize your goals should be flexible, in order to allow for new information as it becomes available.
6. Always set target dates.
7. Make certain you always set
Long-term (lifetime) goals;
Intermediate (specific project) goals;
and Short-term (to-do list) goals.
8. Set your priorities. Classify goals as:
Should Achieve; or
Would Be Nice To Achieve.
9. Put your goals in writing.
Once you have your goals in place, you can then develop an achievement plan. The key elements of an effective Goal Achievement Plan are:
1. A precise definition of your goal, specifying the date by which you want to accomplish it.
2. An outline of your measurement method — how you will measure whether or not you’ve achieved your goal.
3. A sequential list of the specific tasks you need to carry out in order to realize your goal.
4. A target date for each task.
5. A completed date for each task.
6. A personal commitment to keep working your plan until you achieve your goal.
‘‘When we strive for and achieve goals, we set up the ultimate motivational climate within which we are most likely to achieve our potential.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘Almost everyone I know can set goals, which is the “want to”. What mostly makes the difference between those who succeed and those who fail, is the “how to”. Most people never get beyond the “want to” stage, yet the only worthwhile issue is “how to”.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘We need also to understand that we cannot move away from that which we do not want; we can only move towards what it is
we want. As an example, we cannot move away from failure; we can only move towards success. We cannot move away from being fat; we can only move towards being thin. This is because we achieve our dominant thought. If we focus on being poor, for example, then that becomes our dominant thought and we will achieve our dominant thought and stay poor. If we want to become rich, we have to focus on what we want, which is to be rich, not on what we want to avoid, which is being poor.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘To give yourself a motivational boost, you need to create desire within yourself. You can do this by thinking big. By thinking of the finer things you will do. The great accomplishments. For there is a marvelous magic generated by thinking big, by practicing everlasting optimism in the midst of pessimism and doubt. Think big about positive possibilities. Think big about opportunities; be receptive to change, to new ideas, especially those changes and ideas that confront you today. Take advantage of them, work on them, step off the treadmill of habit and take charge of your life. To have free choice and not exercise it is to deny opportunity. Today is your opportunity. Don’t miss it on the promise of tomorrow.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘Time equals money. Yet the reality of life for the great majority of us is that work equals money. If you think time equals money, stop work and see how much money you make. Time equals money only if it is accepted that the quality of your work decides the value of your time. Work is the lot of humanity. For some it is the very fiber of their life — enjoyable, productive and rewarding. For others it is a drudgery and something to be endured.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
Launching Yourself On Your Effectiveness Plan
The first three steps in getting moving on your effectiveness plan are usually:
1. To get organized by having a good office or workspace and access to the necessary tools.
2. To develop a good time scheduling system so you will apply your time where it will produce the greatest results.
3. To work at developing new mental attitudes and mastering non-productive emotions.
Working Smarter Theory #3: Organizing For Increased Effectiveness
To operate at peak effectiveness, you must have all the necessary tools at hand, a work area where you can focus and the mental clarity to focus on solving problems rather than adding to them.
Work space requirements and necessary tools vary widely, but these two areas should be paid close attention as they will exert a huge influence on your personal productivity. Ideally, you want to create a dedicated workspace where you have everything close at hand if you want to be effective.
In addition to removing any physical clutter, do the same for any mental clutter you may have. You can do this by:
1. Avoiding any urge to needlessly complicate problems.
2. Always look for simple solutions first and foremost.
3. Approach problems creatively and, if possible, in batches.
4. Find ways to anticipate potential problems — and avoid them.
5. Use your subconscious mind as well as your conscious.
6. Stop periodically and refresh your big picture perspective.
7. Develop a system to follow-through on things efficiently.
8. Work hard at improving your memory.
Working Smarter Theory #4: Time Scheduling
You must have a written time scheduling system that suits your specific requirements. It’s the only way to proactively manage your day and increase your effectiveness, and to stay on track towards achieving your goals.
The first step in developing a good time scheduling system is to take an inventory of where your time is currently being applied every six months or so. Look at all the areas of variation first — where your actual time use differed noticeably from where you thought you were applying your time. This regular inventory should be an eye opener.
Once you have a feel for how your work week typically pans out, develop a system to decrease non-productive time and increase your proportion of productive time. Many people do that with a weekly planner, but how you do it is not important. What matters more is that you have a systematic tool by which you can measure whether you’re becoming more effective with your time over an extended period or not.
Some ideas on time scheduling:
1. Build in flexibility for the unexpected. Plan 50% of your time.
2. Block out quality time for planning and evaluation.
3. Build deadlines into your time planner.
4. Block out time for recreation and recharging the battery.
5. Schedule key activities for your personal prime time.
For many people, the best way to schedule time effectively is to learn to say no to activities that have only marginal or no added value. If you can master the ability to say no politely but directly, your effectiveness will be boosted noticeably. Try keeping a “‘Not-To-Do’’ list of the things that diminish your effectiveness, and share it with the people who work alongside you.
Working Smarter Theory #5: Develop the Mental Attitudes of Effectiveness
Your personal attitudes and mental images will have a huge influence on your personal effectiveness. An effective person does the things and thinks the thoughts that make them feel good about themselves.
The attitudes that can diminish personal effectiveness are:
1. Guilt — worrying about what others think.
2. Worry about the challenges and demands of the future.
3. A fear of future failure based on past events.
4. Anger as a general catch-all excuse.
In reality, most people are actually much better than they think they are, and they simply need to give themselves permission to move forward to achieve impressive results.
The attitudes that can enhance personal effectiveness are:
1. Leaving the past in the past and facing the future.
2. Anything that strengthens your self-image.
3. Building on your strengths and how to use them.
4. Accepting your own intrinsic worth unconditionally.
5. Refusing to allow other people to define your worth.
6. Putting what you want to achieve first and foremost.
Effective people realize feelings are not mystical — their sources are well defined. Therefore, to act effectively, control what you think. It will automatically impact on what you feel. Accept responsibility for your own feelings, and you’ll never feel that events are beyond your direct control ever again.
‘‘Man is a tool using animal. Without tools, he is nothing. With tools, he is all.’’ — Thomas Carlyle
‘‘Many people assume that they can probably find many ways to save time. This is an incorrect assumption for it is only when you focus on spending time that you begin to use time effectively.’’ — Merrill Douglass
‘‘Effectiveness doesn’t result from doing more; it’s the product of doing less better.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘Life is an attitude, and work is a large part of our lives. How we spend our time and energy is also a matter of attitude. Tell me what you think and how you feel and I’ll tell you what you are. How hard we work and how much or how little we accomplish is largely governed by our own thoughts and actions.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’’ — Elanor Roosevelt
‘‘A man’s interest in the world is only the overflow of his interest in himself.’’ — George Bernard Shaw
Conquering the Time Wasters
Once you’ve made a start on increasing your effectiveness, progress usually comes from:
1. Overcoming procrastination
2. Minimizing interruptions from other people.
3. Finding the best way to handle paperwork.
Working Smarter Theory #6: Putting an End To Putting It Off
Procrastination can kill effectiveness. Overcome it by taking a positive, proactive approach — build on any forward momentum that occurs until it becomes unstoppable.
Almost everyone procrastinates to one degree or another. The simple cure is to build forward momentum. Some ideas:
1. Break down large tasks into small, manageable jobs.
2. Face unpleasant tasks squarely and decisively.
3. Do something physical that gets you in the mood for action.
4. Take advantage of when you’re in a positive mood.
5. List all the advantages of acting now.
6. List all the disadvantages of delaying.
7. Make a personal commitment or a wager with a friend.
8. Give yourself a tangible reward when you achieve a milestone.
9. Get more information about the task at hand.
10. Set up a realistic time schedule, and work the plan.
11. Treat each days as irreplaceable — and act that way.
12. Refuse to be bored. Experience something new.
13. Do absolutely nothing until you feel compelled to action.
14. Ask: ‘‘What’s the best use of my time today?’’
15. Ask: ‘‘What’s the greatest opportunity I’ll have today?
16. Ask: ‘‘What’s my greatest challenge, and what can I do?’’
Working Smarter Theory #7: Minimizing Interruptions
Productive people need to produce. Meetings, visitors, telephone calls and the demands of other people can be a huge drag on effectiveness. Work hard at reducing them.
Avoid meetings like the plague. However, if you have to hold one:
1. Insist on having a written agenda stating objectives.
2. Try and delegate someone else to go for you.
3. Keep the number of participants to a minimum.
4. Set a starting time and a finish time.
5. Prepare a follow-up list for everyone who attends.
To deal effectively with drop-in visitors:
1. Have only one spare chair in your office.
2. Stand up and remain standing while talking to the drop-in.
3. Schedule a regular period during which drop-ins are welcome.
4. Have an assistant screen unexpected visitors for you.
5. Build some time into your schedule to allow for drop-ins.
6. Be candid and direct — specify the amount of time available.
To use the telephone to increase your effectiveness:
1. Have a regular period for receiving and returning calls.
2. Try and complete each call in 3 minutes or less.
3. Have an assistant screen calls.
4. Outline the key points for your call at the outset.
5. Bring calls to a polite and prompt close, not a lingering one.
6. Use an answering machine as appropriate.
7. Use the phone as a time- and energy-saver, not -waster.
8. Give callers undivided attention.
Working Smarter Theory #8: Winning the Paper War
Paper work is a fact of modern business life. You can enhance your effectiveness in dealing with paper by awareness of the problem and by developing good habits and procedures.
The only thing anyone can realistically do to win the paper war is to be aware of how they handle paper work. Some practical ideas in this regards are:
1. Handle only paper work that will get results. Discard all else.
2. Put only the bare necessities in anything you write.
3. Try and have an assistant handle as much paper as possible.
4. Don’t make unnecessary copies of anything.
5. Clean your files out regularly and enthusiastically.
6. Try to handle each piece of paper once.
7. Use the phone as much as you can.
Of course, you don’t want to contribute to anyone else’s paperwork burden either. Do this by:
1. Writing concisely and succinctly.
2. Keeping your reader in focus with everything you say.
3. Working from an outline for lengthy documents.
4. Keeping it simple and avoiding ambiguity.
5. Backing up ideas with facts, ideas and illustrations.
6. Write as if you were speaking first hand and naturally.
You can also improve your effectiveness in dealing with paper by upgrading your personal reading skills. When reading:
1. Look for ideas, logic and major points first.
2. Focus only on material that is relevant to your goals.
3. Reduce your reading to just the bare necessities.
4. Use a highlighter to mark key ideas for future reference.
5. Don’t allow your reading to build up.
6. Take a speed-reading course or learn the principles yourself.
‘‘If you want to make an easy job mighty hard, just keep putting it off.’’ — Olin Miller
‘‘One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon — instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.’’ — Dale Carnegie
‘‘A committee is defined as a group which succeeds in getting something done only when it consists of three members, one of whom happens to be sick and another absent.’’ — Hendrik van Loon
‘‘Accepting the challenge to reduce paper work can enhance everyone’s effectiveness. Generate as little paper as possible and arrange to shield yourself from all paper except that which is absolutely necessary. Be selective. Create positive habits for dealing with paper, and increase your effectiveness with improved reading and writing skills. As long as you’re in the midst of the paper war, you’ll never find yourself a place in the sun. Paper is here to stay, but you don’t have to let it clutter your life and smother your goals. If in doubt, throw it out. Never ask for anything on paper unless it is absolutely necessary. Paper is money.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
Working With Your Team
To accelerate the improvement in personal effectiveness, find ways to actively involve the talents and abilities of other people.
You can achieve that by:
1. Learning how to delegate meaningfully.
2. Increasing your own personal communication skills.
3. Attracting allies rather than enemies to your cause.
Working Smarter Theory #9: Delegation
There isn’t enough time available in your lifetime to achieve everything you want to do if you have to do it all yourself. There is, however, enough time available if you can use the time of other people efficiently and productively. Therefore, delegation is one of the keys to accelerating the rate of growth of your personal effectiveness.
Many business people struggle with delegating. There are a variety of reasons for this, including:
1. The idea of delegating may not be obvious to you.
2. It may be seen as a sign of weakness.
3. Working hard rather than being effective may be preferred.
4. You may prefer to do the job yourself.
5. You might fear losing control over the results.
6. You might consider yourself too busy to delegate.
7. You might be able to do it faster and better than anyone else.
8. Your boss might not let you delegate part of your job.
9. You might fear being disliked by your subordinate.
10. You might fear mistakes and the criticism that would result.
11. The person you delegate to may procrastinate.
12. Nobody else might have sufficient experience.
13. You might like to feel indispensable.
14. You might enjoy getting the credit yourself.
15. You might not understand enough to delegate to others.
Yet the ability to delegate can be an extraordinary boost to personal effectiveness. It can literally multiply the results you achieve, and propel you into the echelon and company of high achievers.
The keys to delegating effectively include:
1. Usually, selecting the right person to delegate to is around 80-percent of the battle. Choose the person carefully, and it will bear fruit long afterwards.
2. Ensure that those who are assuming responsibility for the task have the right training and tools.
3. Clearly specify the nature and scope of what you are delegating. Take the time to explain precisely what you expect them to achieve.
4. Make certain you give recognition for accomplishment. In addition to your appreciation, make sure your boss knows who did what. At the very least, you’ll be recognized for hiring smart people, and it will increase their enthusiasm for additional tasks in the future.
5. When delegating, find ways to help other employees work less and achieve more. Make the assignment worthy of their time and effort, as opposed to filling their schedule with froth and marginal value tasks.
6. As well as delegating a task to be done, delegate the right to think for themselves and to do the job differently if they think they can be more effective. You might be surprised at the quality of the methods they develop on their own initiative.
7. Realize that delegation doesn’t free you completely from responsibility — you still have to follow through to see things are done properly.
8. Assign tasks by requesting rather than commanding. You’ll find people much more responsive to that approach rather than a decree from on high.
9. Specify the criteria by which the task will be evaluated right at the outset. That way, expectations and evaluation will be synchronized.
10. Follow up with the person responsible. Check on their performance, and provide whatever they need to increase their effectiveness in doing that task. It’ll have a flow-on effect in your personal effectiveness as well.
Another form of delegating to increase effectiveness is to have a personal assistance or an administrative assistant.
The advantages of a personal assistant are:
1. They keep your desk clear and help you stay organized.
2. They can handle routine matters without any direction.
3. They can act as a buffer from drop-ins and telephone calls.
4. They can reduce your reading time.
5. They can add suggestions on projects you’re working on.
6. They can serve as goodwill ambassadors.
To increase the effectiveness of a personal assistant:
1. Get the very best qualified personal assistant you can. Someone talented, ambitious and educated rather than someone simply to take notes and do your filing.
2. Make them a key member of your effectiveness team. Ask for their input and listen carefully — they will get to know more about how you work than you know yourself sometimes.
3. Keep your assistant informed about your goals, priorities and aspirations. They can then keep an eye out for opportunities and openings you may not be aware of.
4. Respect their time. Don’t waste their time if you want them to add to your effectiveness.
5. Give them authority to make decisions in your absence, and support their decisions. It will solve many day-to-day problems that crop up.
6. Give them all the recognition you possibly can. See their salary is realistic and increasing.
Working Smarter Theory #10: Communication With Other People
Much of our personal effectiveness will be built on the foundation of our ability to communicate effectively — in whatever format or medium we choose. Therefore, increasing this ability to communicate clearly will increase our overall effectiveness.
To become more effective as a communicator, realize there are communication problems that can arise and make a concerted effort to avoid them. Some practical ways to achieve this include::
1. Start with a realization communication is, by nature, inadequate for expressing ideas clearly, but it’s all we have if we want to influence or interact with others.
2. Always remember the same words can convey totally different meanings to different people. Much of the content comes from external factors over which you have no influence.
3. Always watch for the non-verbal language being used. That’s usually a more reliable guide to meaning than anything else that may be said.
4. Realize that who said something is usually as important as what was being said.
5. Any message should ideally be tailored to the intended audience, instead of expecting them to change to suit the
6. If at all possible, two-way communication in which questions can be asked is far better than one-way communication.
7. Always know something about what you’re talking about. Take the time to get the facts straight.
8. Be specific. People hate vagueness.
9. Communicate in simple, everyday language if you want to be effective.
10. Never be afraid to say you don’t know something.
11. Avoid using either-or situations. Almost everything in life is a shade of gray, and won’t fit any description completely.
12. Refrain from stereotyping and sweeping generalizations.
13. Be aware of all the inferences generated by the how and what of your communications.
14. Avoid saying too much — it will only cloud the real issues.
Working Smarter Theory #11: Working With People, Not Against Them
It’s always easier to work with people rather than against them.
In other words, avoid conflicts and create win-win situations wherever and whenever possible. This will be a huge boost to your personal effectiveness.
To resolve or avoid conflict altogether:
1. Always go out of your way to communicate effectively. Misunderstandings lie at the base of nearly all conflicts.
2. Try and be open with other people rather than defensive. People automatically behave badly if threatened — it’s an inbuilt defense mechanism.
3. Criticize tactfully, kindly and helpfully. Mix compliments with criticisms, and focus on the behavior, not the person.
4. Always make certain your own house is in order before attempting to criticize anyone else.
5. Be assertive and outgoing, but don’t become aggressive or hostile. Allow other people the right to see things differently.
6. Focus so much on your own business interests that you have no time to pass along rumors about anyone else’s business.
7. Live and let live. Realize that other people can and will see things differently. Look for ways to build consensus rather than divisions.
8. Stay cool, even if others are provoking you. It’s just not worth the hassle.
9. Arguing simply for the sake of arguing is a huge waste of time. Avoid it.
9. Don’t belittle the achievements of other people. Build them up instead. Make the feel good about themselves.
10. Don’t be a doom and gloom prophet. Focus on the positive. Cheer other people up, don’t depress them.
11. Deal with any conflicts head-on and openly. Don’t let things smolder away in the background, where people lose track of what the dispute was about in the first place. Be open.
12. Don’t appoint yourself as a judge. It’s totally counter-productive to your effort to improve your effectiveness.
‘‘By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.’’ — Robert Frost
‘‘Only a mediocre person is always at his best.’’ — Somerset Maugham
‘‘The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.’’ — Bertrand Russell
‘‘People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.’’ — Blaise Pascal
‘‘A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.’’ — Mark Twain
‘‘If you want to work less and accomplish more, keep this simple point in mind: it’s easier to work with people than it is to work against them. If we could harness the time and energy that is wasted in needless conflicts between individuals, businesses, governments and nations, the achievements of humanity would increase at least a hundred fold.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘Take away my factories, my trade, my avenue of transportation, my money, but leave me my people and in four years I will have re-established myself.’’ — Andrew Carnegie
‘‘Communications is the weak link in the chain of working with others. In the past century, we have made superhuman technical advances in our ability to communicate rapidly and with more people. We live in a society in which we are constantly bombarded with information. Yet while more and more messages are being passed, it appears that our ability to convey what we actually mean hasn’t improved. The infinite capacity of people to misunderstand each other has made our jobs and our lives far more difficult than they need to be.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘When you stop and think about it, no word has exactly the same meaning to any two people. Words have multiple meanings. Word definitions change over time. Different regions use different words to describe the same things. Every word conjures up a different thought in someone’s mind. When you become aware of the inadequacy of words, you start to wonder how anyone ever manages to communicate anything meaningfully.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘When in Rome, live as the Romans do: when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.’’ — St. Ambrose
As new technology becomes available, the marketplace is certain to change considerably in the near future, as:
1. New organizational structures for business emerge.
2. The power of the individual becomes more evident.
3. The power of the consumer becomes more wide ranging.
An effective person will take advantage of these changes.
Working Smarter Theory #12: Taking Advantage of the Changing Work Place
Throughout history, there have always been people who adapt to changing circumstances better than others. A key element in personal productiveness is having the flexibility to see new opportunities that will arise in the future.
The four key areas of change are:
1. New organizational structures for business are emerging.
Smaller, independently managed business enterprises are replacing the large corporation as the preferred business structure. Meanwhile, management layers are being eliminated dramatically and permanently. There is also a move towards self-directed work teams arranged around specific skill sets or resources.
To take advantage of these changes:
1. Stay up to date with new and emerging developments.
2. Try and talk with those on the front lines — get their insights.
3. Cultivate a team approach in your business affairs.
4. Increase your skill sets and knowledge base.
5. Become an advocate for evolution within your business.
In other words, position yourself at the forefront of the emerging trends, rather than trying to hold back the winds of change. That should position you advantageously when the inevitable changes occur.
2. The power of the individual is becoming far more respected in the information age.
Intellectual capital is the building material of new generation businesses. That includes the collective knowledge and skill sets of each individual. Business focus is shifting away from processes to outcomes and results.
Taking advantage of these opportunities will involve:
1. Increasing your own intellectual capacities and skills.
2. Reinvent yourself to match the new requirements.
3. Being open to exploring new ways of doing business.
4. Finding ways to exploit under utilized business assets.
5. Using imagination, creativity and innovation. The entire focus on the individual makes it more important than ever to work smarter rather than harder.
3. The power of the customer now colors the entire market place.
At one time, customers could only buy whatever a company decided to make. Today, product differentiation is of critical importance — specifically, how to customize a product effectively so that customers will buy it rather than go somewhere else to buy something that more closely meets their specific requirements.
To profit from these new opportunities:
1. Read everything you can about consumer behavior.
2. Develop an understanding of customer satisfaction.
3. Talk to people about their suppliers’ performances.
4. Attend customer service seminars.
5. Evaluate the customer service ethic in your business.
To succeed in a customer driven market, the effective person must become an advocate for the customer.
4. Jobs versus work.
Jobs may be being eliminated while changes are taking place, but there is an increasing amount of work available for people who are flexible, have good skill sets and who are results-oriented rather than employment-oriented.
To use these changes effectively:
1. Be a leader in making change, not an anchor.
2. Look for opportunities to start your own business.
3. Develop general business expertise and know-how.
4. read up on the pros and cons of self employment.
5. Explore franchising opportunities in fields that interest you.
6. Develop your networking and consulting skills.
Replace the emotional attachment to a job with the freedom to pursue a field in which you are particularly interested and passionate about.
The changing work place will prove a bonanza for those who are able to work smarter, not harder.
‘‘One must never lose time in vainly regretting the past nor in complaining about the changes which cause us discomfort, for change is the very essence of life.’’ — Anatole France
‘‘The great unifying theme at the conclusion of the 20th century is the triumph of the individual.’’
— John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene
‘‘How easy will it be for you to take advantage of the new opportunities in the work place? Remember that this is the age of the individual. It is the greatest time in the history of humanity for the individual to flourish and prosper. It is time for each of us to assert our right to the future we long to have. But if we accept that it is the age of the individual, then we must also accept that the responsibility for making it happen in our lives lies with us.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf
‘‘What we will have in the future is work, not jobs. And the good news is that there will be plenty of work for those who want to do it. The work we do may be different from what we have been used to. It will certainly be structured differently: more team oriented, more flexible, more short-term and almost totally results-oriented. in other words, we are moving back to how we used to work before jobs were invented.’’ — Jack Collis and Michael Leboeuf