Work hard and you will be rewarded. It sounds simple.
The purpose of what you do is to make progress, not just to expend yourself.
Achenbach’s Pastries was a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, institution. The family-owned bakery had a loyal customer base and had operated profitably for
more than four decades.
In the 1990s the owners decided to expand—to offer deli sandwiches and other goods and to add new locations for both retail and wholesale sales.
The bakery’s owners had never worked harder in their lives than they did after the expansion. And in return for all their hard work, they got less money and the
threat of bankruptcy because they could not keep up with debts incurred in the expansion.
Earl Hess, a retired business executive, provided capital to keep the company in business and then ultimately bought the entire operation. He looked at things as an objective observer and found that the bakery was doomed by inefficiencies. “They had too many products. Ninety percent of sales came from 10 percent of the products. They were losing their aprons making low-volume items.”
Hess says when he took over the company he knew: “These people couldn’t possibly have worked any harder, but they could have worked smarter.”
Effort is the single most overrated trait in producing success. People rank it as the best predictor of success when in reality it is one of the least significant factors. Effort, by itself, is a terrible predictor of outcomes because inefficient effort is a tremendous source of discouragement, leaving people to conclude that they can never succeed since even expending maximum effort has not produced results.
Lars G Persson