New Results Using Old Methods is a Frustrating Myth
The only way to achieve greater success using old methods is to work harder. But doing more with less has a limited lifespan.
Working harder only works when you aren’t working hard already.
3 strategies for new results:
In order to achieve new results – if you are already working hard – you must work in new ways. Try new things. Test new approaches.
- Improve efficiency.
- Delegate authority, not simply tasks. Instead of telling people to mop the floor, equip and authorize them to keep the floor clean.
- Stop doing things that don’t add value. Busy work prevents you from achieving remarkable results.
Don’t tell people how to do their work.
You know the best way for YOU to work, not the best way for others to work. Unexpected achievements are accomplished by people who do things THEIR way, not someone else’s.
Experienced leaders wrongly believe they know how others should do things.*
In a changing world, maintaining established patterns makes you irrelevant.
Encourage people to find THEIR way forward, not yours. Everyone must agree on the vision and goals, but how to get it done is up to individuals and small teams who are closest to the work.
Let the people who are actually doing the work come up with ways to do the work.
- Clarify the vision.
- Set high standards that are easily measured.
- Provide frequent feedback.
- Catch people doing good. Give at least three affirmations for every correction.
Engagement results from owning the process, even if you haven’t chosen the goal.
What principles and behaviors might help leaders take results to new levels?
*In repetitive tasks – that don’t require creativity – doing things the same way works.
**Highly regulated industries have less opportunity to try new things.
Automate your highly regulated tasks/processes as much as you can. Then use your saved time to plant seeds and influence the right people to simplify and streamline your highly regulated processes. Take baby steps to unfreeze people’s perceptions.
I agree–empower employees to come up with the improvements.
Thanks Paul. It might be as simple as wearing the same clothes so you don’t have to use brain power to make an unnecessary decision. Some work can be done on autopilot if we set up a process and use it every time.
Of course too much autopilot is self-defeating because it creates boredom.
Great post, Dan! I will be sharing it with my colleagues today. Another friendly point is to only have a few clearly defined goals and objectives. I see organizations trying to be everything to everyone, which is not sustainable. More is simply not better.
Thanks student. Yes, Less is more. Simplicity is the path to excellence. The challenge some face is finding the insight and courage to say NO to things that matter less so they can focus on things that matter more.
Exactly! The art of essentialism! Thanks as always for your great stuff.
I find this works with highly motivated passionate people, “Let the people who are actually doing the work come up with ways to do the work.” What do you do with unmotivated, non passionate people seems to be the bigger challenge especially if those people just do not want to be motivated or passionate and are just going thru the motions. Seems to me that you try as hard as you can to get those non motivated to change their direction but after a few adjustments and tries you just have to move them on and go forward with others?
“Nobody every washes a rental car,” Roger, and those un-involved and dis-engaged people get there for a reason, in so many cases. They come in as new hires and all involved and energized and then the work environment beats them to near death.
Two words that might help” ASK and LISTEN.
They probably have ideas about how to do things #morebetterfaster but find themselves to shy to suggest or too punished to bother.
Dan has written all over this issue. My framework is called DIS-Un-Engagement and involved working to remove the things that work to un-engage people. It is NOT rocket science.
This is an amazing post. We always say work smarter not harder, but rarely have examples that are so simple yet have a big impact on empowering others. “Keep the floor clean.” Spot on!
Love this one as I’m adding on more freelancers, I like to give them examples of what I need and then let them give me the ideas and the work. I believe I’m on the right track. It can be hard to delegate but once you got the right people it’s easier 🙂 Thanks for these great tips! Found your post on Twitter.
It is such an interesting article! I guess a lot of people, me included, think that working hard equals more results. It is not! Sometimes I sleep at 12pm and still didn’t get things done. It’s good to delegate and clarify your own visions. And absolutely, we need to always set standards that are easily measured. Don’t put to high and get used to not achieving our goals. Thanks for sharing!
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