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  • Vasant Soman

Hard Work or Smart Work?

Should you work hard or work smart? A question that we keep hearing often, isn’t it?

Over the years, I notice that the number of people preferring “smart work” over “hard work” has increased considerably. But then, what exactly is smart work?


We all know what hard work is; pretty much dedicating ourselves to the activity and doing everything that is required to complete the task. How about smart work? Can that also be expressed in such simple terms? I decided to seek an answer from the many people who I come across; the group varied from college students to CEO and many in between.


These are some of the definitions I got for smart work - copying successful methods, increasing efficiency, using shortcuts, using more mental efforts than physical; some went on to say that hard work is donkey’s work, but smart works makes you the King. With seemingly no clear definition on the way, I started thinking about the working methods of people who I knew of; successful professionals who I thought were either hard workers or smart workers.


Having been around sales, using it in different forms, for long, I chose to pick two successful sales persons; below is the comparison. Both are men and work in the IT industry, selling similar services.


Sales person 1

His day is well planned, specific time slots assigned for different activities. To be successful in sales, he believed in working the probabilities; “X” number of calls meant “Y” number of prospects, which in turn meant “Z” closures. He used paid lists of potential client contacts; relying heavily on cold calls, his methods focused on increasing “X” to have higher number of closures. Continuously on the phone, he is the quintessential sales guy. Working usually around 10 hours a day, he made no less than 50 calls in a day.


Sales person 2

This person is again well planned, but the similarity ended there. I haven’t seen him using any paid contact list, but he did a lot of research by himself, primarily over the internet, and chose his potential prospects. His argument was that it was crime in this era of internet and information abundance, to reach a prospective customer without detailed homework. He chose email, with the message specific and tone personal, for cold calls; he also worked around 10 hours a day and usually made less than 10 calls.


Both these sales persons worked similar hours and achieved similar success, but using vastly different methods. If we compare it to the 80-20 rule (20% of efforts fetching 80% of results), the first one spread his efforts evenly and possibly wasted 80% of his time; the second one probably spent 80% of his time and efforts to choose the ones that mattered and focused only on them.


Looking at them, I clearly understand one thing – Smart work did not mean easy work; smart work is hard work; they aren’t opposites, but rather complimentary. Perhaps there could be better success by working hard using smart ways!


I have a question for you - Who out of these two sales persons do you think would be more successful in the long run? What could they do to improve their success?


#workculture #likability

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