Short But Not So Sweet
The young girl loves basketball, so she shoots baskets. She shoots in the rain, she shoots in the cold. She shoots in the scorching sun, she even shoots in the dark.
The customer encounters a young salesman as he walks in the door. The salesman soon learns that the customer knows what he wants - a certain car among certain colors, with some typical options he would prefer not to have. No cars fitting this description are on the lot. The salesman begins what he thinks will be a simple process leading to a sale - finding the desired car at another dealer in town, get it to the lot, and make the sale. A small search leads to a larger search. A car is found, the paperwork prepared for the sale, only to have the trading dealership sell the car at the last minute. This happens twice. The salesman continues to look, up to 400 miles away, finding only cars that don't match the customer's needs. Eventually, unable to find the car requested, the customer buys a used car the salesman recommends, after 3 weeks and much time spent.
On the wall of the young salesman's dealership, in big red letters reads Effort = Results
I, as much as anyone I know, love a pithy quote or aphorism. I love quote books, Successories stores and motivational posters. I even publish quotes five days a week read by over 90,000 people.
But the saying on the wall at that dealership bothered me. "Effort=Results" implies work hard and you will get the result you want. The slogan bothered me because it is wrong, or at least incomplete.
The eager employee completed the job, but with the right information and techniques could have finished in 2 hours rather than 2 days. The budding basketball star will never even get on the floor in a game if her shot starts at her waist - everyone will block it. And our car salesman worked hard and eventually made a sale, but it wasn't the sale he really wanted to make (and took much longer than he hoped).
Effort isn't always enough. It takes more than hard work. Informed effort, on the other hand, is a much more worthy goal. We have to know how to use the features and tools of the software, how to correctly shoot under duress, and intricacies of the car searching process. With this information, the effort put in by our three friends would have been leveraged to much greater success - or they would have reached success with much less effort.
Do you know how to close a sale? How to write a great business letter? How to persuade others to follow your vision? How to make those around you more comfortable? How to let people know you care? How to search the web effectively? How to create more unique ideas and solutions? Do you know how?
Effort has always been revered in American culture. "She's a hard worker" is one of the best compliments some people would ever give. Don't get me wrong - effort does matter. But if we are putting our efforts in the wrong place, or working without the knowledge of how to do a job easier or more productively, then much of our effort is wasted.
Now, let's talk about the results side of this equation. Effort will always equal results - but not necessarily the results you intend! Operating without informed or experienced effort will lead you somewhere, but it is no guarantee that it will lead you to where you want to go. So how can we turn effort into informed effort?
Here are a few ways -