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Working hard is not enough!

The direct link between hard work and success is far from obvious. Certainly we only receive what we deserve, but the intensity of work accomplished is only a lever of success, not a guarantee of success. If your motto is to work hard, the trap lies in what you value in relation to the intensity of your work, and how those who benefit from it conceive or perceive that intensity. Focusing on the intensity of our work, consciously or unconsciously, leads us to demand recognition from stakeholders.

Alternatively, they may not value our hard work, or have other considerations that are more important from their point of view. You might row very fast and very well but at the same time you could be rowing in the wrong direction. A lack of consideration does only lead to failure but also to disappointment over considerable effort, which has unfortunately been lost.

Critical points to optimize performance

  • Choose the best path to achieve your objectives (Efficiency)

  • Act and optimize resources to achieve objectives within the chosen path (Effectiveness)

  • Act and react in an agile manner by changing trajectory and adapting efficiency and effectiveness to the hazards that can arise (Agility)

  • Challenge the validity of your objectives and dare to change them if they do not generate convincing value (Relevance)

These points are not independent from one another! Similarly, the art of managing performance at the individual, team or department level, knowing how to recognize the dependencies between these points, and handling them with great maturity in order to succeed, all influence each other. This is the complexity of the everyday life of executives. Moreover, the 4 performance points above do not respect any sequencing. The activation or the questioning of one point impacts one or more of the others. All this makes the maximization equation of individual performance less a balancing act than an act of reconciliation.

In practice, we generally focus on one aspect of our performance depending on the context, and then gradually integrate other variables as we go along. We do it spontaneously and gradually, but we rarely integrate all 4 components of performance. The question then, inevitably, is to know how to evaluate our maturity toward these components so as to stay on track!

By Farid Yandouz


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