Stacking The Deck In Your Favor

Working harder is never your only alternative to succeed.

Nothing comes easy. Building a thriving consulting practice and firm takes time and energy. Developing relationships, managing opportunities, cultivating expertise, building a team - we learn these skills on the go and there are no shortcuts, no get-rich-fast schemes.

Every single successful consultant I've met worked both smart AND hard. Smart means exercising focus and making decisions, instead of avoiding them. Hard means enforcing high standards and willing to put in the time and energy necessary to implement those decisions.

With that said, it's not 50%-50%. If you ask me what matters most, working smarter trumps working harder.

I thought about it when reading this passage from Marshall Goldsmith in "What Got You Here Won’t Get You There":

As you go through life, contemplating the mechanics of success and wondering why some people are successful and others are not, you’ll find that this is one of the defining traits of habitual winners: They stack the deck in their favor. And they’re unabashed about it.

They do this when they hire the best candidates for a job rather than settle for an almost-the-best type.

They do this when they pay whatever it takes to retain a valuable employee rather than lose him or her to the competition.

They do this when they’re fully prepared for a negotiation rather than winging it.

If you study successful people, you’ll discover that their stories are not so much about overcoming enormous obstacles and handicaps but rather about avoiding high-risk, low-reward situations and doing everything in their power to increase the odds in their favor.

High-performing consulting partners stack the deck in their favor. Ask yourself: How can you improve your odds? How can you generate better results while working less?

Sometimes it means to stop doing what you shouldn't. Sometimes it means choosing a different game to play. Working harder is never your only alternative.

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