The “working hard” trap
18 Apr, 2020

“I’m working hard” is how autocrats build fiefdoms.

They may not know it themselves. Who sets out to be a totalitarian or play politics in the workplace? “Yes, I love to play politics at work” said nobody, ever.

Yet politics are rampant, as are fiefdoms. So they must hide behind masks.

Hard work is one of the best masks. It makes it feel like if someone wants to challenge the tyrant of the fiefdom, they’d have to work (or look to work) harder than that person! It assumes all work is equal.

It’s a trap.

Effort has nothing to do with not being transparent, protecting your work, shutting others out, and not being accountable for results. We care about the output, not the input. That you have no boundaries with yourself means you aren’t getting creative enough with your inputs, so you just double down on sweat equity.

And that’s how Betty Busybody gets an entire organization around her finger. “But she works so hard!”

Professionals working towards results don’t even talk about how hard they work. They don’t build an image of huffy-puffy busyiness. They don’t bristle when you question them and say “do you know how hard I’m working on this!??!?”

They talk about goals and results, and invite others in because they want the result more than they want to be the one to achieve the result.

“Working hard” is crap, and the death knell of organizational culture.

Share with your network:

More to explore

Turning molehills into mountains

When someone in another department brings you an issue it’s best to: Resolve the issue, of course. And be the one to search for whether that issue is systemic or a one-off. And communicate back to those affected the results of your finding.And create a project...

read more

Let’s renegotiate

Many people fear that word “negotiate.” Because it means “someone trying to take something from me and me trying to keep that from happening.” That’s not negotiation! Negotiation is more like two people finding value by exploring the said...

read more

Will this work? For which clients…

I just helped someone with a huge barrage of pricing questions. Here’s what I found the answers kept boiling down to: When you lock in on a pricing strategy you lock in on a client type. Is your product or service perfect for the discount-hunter, the...

read more

ISAIAH MCPEAK

Family tech, neuroscience, communication, product management, growth

A synthesizer of neuroscience, classical rhetoric, philosophy, 5,000+ hours at whiteboards, high stakes presentations, Fortune 10 consulting, and startup growth.

Copyright © 2020 Isaiah McPeak