Work Smarter.  Not Harder.

Success isn’t about being tough.  It’s about working smarter.

Many workplaces operate according to unspoken values and one value we encounter time and time again in a wide variety of forms – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, cultural background and class – is being tough.  

Being tough is the practice of making unnecessary personal sacrifices to achieve something and attempting to internalize the consequences of those sacrifices.

There’s a mystique around being tough and making personal sacrifices.  It’s perceived as proof of determination, persistence and commitment. But professionals often make too many unnecessary sacrifices to achieve their goals and this is an unhealthy practice that’s usually supported by a company instead of discouraged.

For example, imagine a workplace with strict deadlines, tight budgets, quick turnarounds, and high profile deliverables.  The work needs to get done or that lucrative client won’t come back through the doors again.

In this type of environment, employees might choose to adopt a culture that values sleep deprivation and excuses mistakes made from impaired judgement.  Managers may choose to emotionally manipulate employees into competing with each other to increase productivity. Or managers may choose to accept the unrealistic expectations of customers, without advocating for their employees, in order to win a job.  

Each of these choices have consequences on the workplace.  But they’re often rationalized as necessary for the greater good of the company and the unspoken value of being tough is promoted to keep the cycle going.

As employees internalize the consequences of sacrifice, they often do not have the time, space, and strategies to adequately recover, which leads to stagnation and even burn out.

The Cost-Benefits Analysis

Before you make a decision about how to do something, we recommend conducting a cost-benefits analysis to figure out the best way to move forward.

In business, nothing is free.  Everything worthwhile costs something: time, money, mental and emotional energy, even valuable personal information and privacy are becoming the price of social media.

No matter what, you have to pay a price to achieve your goals.  But there are often many different ways to accomplish an objective.  Before you choose a specific plan of action, you should get clear about exactly how much each direction costs.  Not just in terms of time and money, but also in energy, health, trust, stress, relationships, etc.

What Aren’t You Willing to Sacrifice?

You have budget ceilings and schedule deadlines.  What else do you need to cap to achieve your goals in a healthy way that won’t send you down a spiral of sacrifice.  What can you give up? What aren’t you willing to sacrifice? Think holistically to get a more accurate picture of what each direction will require.

If you’re ready to introduce a little more smarts into your workplace, reach out to learn how WeLocals can help you Level Up.


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Meet the Author

Frank Flavell
Frank FlavellCOO & Lead Integrator
Frank is a business strategist and operations specialist. With a keen eye for designing organizations that deliver compelling customer value, he helps clients across industries improve profit margins and build stronger workplaces.