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Work smarter, not harder

February 20, 2013
Shannon Bayer

According to a recent story by Linkage partner Scott Anthony, of Innosight, published on hbr.org: “A large company just can’t innovate faster than the market. But a large company can innovate better than the market…because they have unique assets like technology, channel relationships, relationships with regulators, scale operations, and so on.” But how does this concept affect individuals? Linkage Senior Consultant Shannon Bayer has some answers. —Ed.

Shannon writes, “We’re all familiar with the feeling that there’s just not enough time in the day to do all that we need to do. We multi-task. We fake listen to co-workers, direct reports, and even bosses while we respond to emails. We don’t focus. We don’t build necessary relationships. We justify imperfection because we just don’t have the time. We live in a fast world that forces us to get things done faster. However, faster has side effects. Faster is not always better.

“The old saying “Work smarter, not harder,” certainly applies to “working faster,” and is still true today. So, what’s smarter?

“First, thinking strategically is smarter. Whether you’re talking about creating an innovation capable organization, marketing a product, or reducing costs, if you don’t know what your intended future state looks like, you’ll never be able to plot the course to get there. Being smarter is also about breaking big projects down to their parts and then testing how each element can be improved along the way. And being smarter requires an ability to see the big picture so you can streamline where necessary and outsource when optimal.

“So, stop running around simply trying to do as much as you can all the time, and start focusing your efforts, planning your time, and following a set strategy to move forward. Strategic thinking is much more than just a once a year occurrence. It’s required daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. You’ll only get better and faster by working smarter.”

Feedback
So let’s hear it. When was the last time you took a step back and actually strategized about what you’re doing rather than just running around “doing” all the time?

More about Shannon
Shannon Bayer is a Senior Consultant at Linkage. She specializes in providing facilitation and program design for innovation and change leadership. She also works with organizations to improve team effectiveness, negotiation, and coaching. Follow her on Twitter @ShannonJBayer.

 

 

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