How are you? I’m really lazy thanks!
Can thinking about how to be lazy help you succeed in business?
If you were called lazy by someone at work, how would you feel? Probably pretty upset. However, I am starting to realise that the smart people can afford to be lazy if they get their act together in the first place.
Let me explain more as this has created some interesting debate amongst friends and colleagues.
In 2013 I took the bold step and left what had been a very enjoyable corporate career at Nokia. After 17 years of global roles, customers in 35 countries, turning left on planes, staying in amazing hotels, fabulous restaurants, wonderful colleagues and a very comfortable salary with benefits I ‘gave it all up’ to find my own ‘purpose’ in life……….wow, writing this still makes a little part of me think, what a fool! Thank goodness it has worked out .
There was no definitive reason to leave other than the fact that I just felt I had more to achieve in life. So, after an assessment of my own vision for my next decade (I like writing 3, 5 and 10 year plans), I realised I get a great deal of satisfaction helping people. Three years later, I am now a ‘full time’ entrepreneur and have co-founded two businesses - Entrepreneurs&Co.and Marketing Entourage. Both businesses share a common purpose aligned to my own - we want to help as many passionate and purpose driven businesses succeed in this world.
So, as we approach the end of another year it is always good to reflect on what has been an amazing 2016. However, I have never worked harder in my life, based on my effort into my roles at Nokia that is quite a statement! I am sure that any of my close ex-colleagues would be a testimonial to how conscientious I was and have always put in plenty of effort, passion and of course hours. I have spent the last 15 years writing emails while on planes, trains, trams, even in the pub….. You name it, if I have to get something finished I never stopped until it was done. As a human being I am pretty much ‘switched on’ 24/7 but is this really something to be proud of ? I am starting to question that more and more nowadays. I have always been proud of my achievements and believe that what you put into life comes back to you ten fold. However, the trick is in building your own sustainable energy that ensures you have balance between your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy.
So, how does being lazy fit into all this?
Last week I went to an event run by a great fella called Simon Waller. It was called Breakfast of champions and Simon used the session to reflect on how having Digital Champions in your business can make such a huge difference in terms of speed, cost and efficiency - the outcome being based on a $ return for your business.
My favourite part of the entire session was when he explained what the 3 ideal credentials are of a Digital Champion:
Yep, Lazy! In a world where the standard response to anyone asking how you are is 'I'm really busy', Simon had the audacity to suggest that being lazy is a positive trait.
In Simon’s terms the word lazy isn’t about not wanting to do anything, it is about discovering the most effective way to get things done.
To explain, let’s use a non work related question – what is the best way to hang out your washing on the line?
Answer – Put the larger stuff at the back (towels, bed sheets, jeans) and the smaller stuff at the front (finishing with your socks). If you work this way the job gets done faster and you can sit back down and chill out! This is about being smart and efficient so that you can then be lazy and not feel guilty about it.
When it comes to making your business a success, how can you become lazy by being efficient in the way you work? At Marketing Entourage we love our Abraham Lincoln quotes – he once said “Give me 6 hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the next four hours sharpening the axe.” He isn’t saying don’t cut down the tree or get someone else to do it. He is just focusing on the fact that if you think first, then create a plan, you can make your life so much easier moving forward.
So how can you become lazy and still succeed? When people talk to me and say “I need a website”, my normal response is “Well that’s nice, but who is it for?”. If they say “everyone” then you know they need help.
To have a successful website to help your business you need to define your vision, your purpose, your market position and who your target customers are. Without spending time on this at the beginning then I can guarantee you won’t get the results you are hoping for.
So we have the following approach at Marketing Entourage – Think before you plan before you create.
This means you admittedly have to do more work upfront, however the results are that you do less work later on. By building the foundations based on creating a clear strategy you can then build an actionable plan and know that any time or money that you invest (either as a business or personally) will be aligned to a ‘laser focus’ based of what you want to achieve.
Lazy isn’t a scary word, some of the best programmers in the world are ‘lazy’ – the less code to achieve awesome outcomes the better. Analytics is also key to success. One of the major advantages of the digital age that we live in is now marketing can be made accountable. You don’t have to work as hard to understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Long gone are the days of putting your message on a billboard up and wondering if anyone is looking at it. Now you can track who has connected to you and whether they convert as customers. There is a trick to this conversion as well – create content that builds a ‘human to human’ conversation. Even online, imagine how you would like to be spoken to as a customer.
By doing the thinking first (aka the four hours sharpening Abraham’s axe) you will then achieve your goals faster. Your community of stakeholders and customers will understand who you are and how you can help them and it will be easier for them to feel a connection with you.
If you want to know more about Simon then I recommend you buy his book and join one of his events (no I'm not on a percentage of sales!) but I know he can explain it better than I.
Your new hammock awaits in 2017 so you can put your feet up occasionally. Just remember to get the foundations right first!
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by Phil Ore
Written by Phil Ore
Phil Ore is the co-founder of Marketing Entourage, co-founder of Entrepreneurs&Co and global ambassador for Inspiring Rare Birds. He has dedicated his professional career to helping people and businesses succeed through human centred strategic design, idea generation and brand expertise to improve the customers experience. During his global career, Phil has been fortunate to have had a wide range of roles working for, and alongside, some the worlds largest corporations and brands. Phil is passionate about the Australian startup ecosystem and is a mentor, advisor, MC, and panelist for various social impact, NFP, entrepreneurship and technology based businesses and events.