Working very hard

The key to doing work that matters to you is combining focus, intensity and hard work. Focus is your strategy and it ensures you are spending time aligned with your priorities. Intensity is the tactic that maximizes the quality of the time you spend. Hard work is the final step – it is how you execute on your priorities. I tend to write a lot about focus and intensity – they are hard to get consistently right. I expect to continue doing so in the new year.

However, just for today, I’d like to focus on the execution – working very hard. There are many things I am looking forward to learning and doing in 2016. There are a few interesting projects coming up, many new skills to learn, and many interesting people to meet and relationships to strengthen. However, I know that there will always be one companion as I make my way through 2016 – hard work. And, in some way or the other, every thing I am looking forward to in 2016 will involve hard work.

Nearly every good thing that has happened to me has happened because of the work that was put in. Sure, there have been massive dollops of luck along the way. But, even the luck has had a way of showing up after I’ve put in the work. There’s often talk of hard work versus smart work – but, in my experience, it is only possible to discern what is smart after you’ve put in the time.

So, if there is a message to myself this new year, it will be to simply enjoy the process of working very hard. I am looking forward to doing that and I am grateful I am blessed with the health, people and circumstances to be able to do so.

Happy 2016.

working very hard, hard work, execution

“The techniques we use are no big secret…

…it’s just about making an effort and repeating the same thing every day.” | Yoshikazu, Sukiyabashi Jiro from Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Information isn’t wealth any more. Sure, there still are patented techniques that are probably the modern day equivalent to “the secret sauce.” But, if we dig deeper, I think we’d find that the secret sauce, like nostalgia :), isn’t what it used to be.

Google isn’t just the best search engine because of its ground breaking page rank algorithm. It is the best because it didn’t use that innovation and head-start to sit back and relax. Google has been running experiments on how to tweak the algorithm ever since at ground-breaking speed using data from user behavior for 15 straight years, week after week. They make the effort. It shows.

Yes, being the first mover is an advantage. Billy Beane did that with the Oakland A’s focus on using statistics to build teams around groups of players rather than look for star players. However, other baseball franchises caught up with his methods soon enough. So, Billy Beane began focusing on the college players draft as he felt inefficiencies lay there. Soon, the other franchises will catch up there too. If Beane is to continue having the sort of impact he’s had on the game, he will have to continue making the effort to find inefficiencies every day.

Why doesn’t everyone do it? Because it is hard, complicated, and not guaranteed to work. It involves accepting that you simply don’t know enough and that your current way is probably woefully inefficient.

So, if you are still intent on finding a secret sauce, I’d suggest looking hard to Sukiyabashi Jiro, Google, and Billy Beane. The techniques they use are no big secret. But, their genius lies in their consistency of effort.

Show up on time, look for what’s hard, complicated, and not guaranteed to work…. and ship. Then, do it again tomorrow.