September 16, 2009

Want success? Be more lazy.

Ladies and gentleman, I would like to make a confession. I am one of the laziest people I know.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am not saying I sit on my ass all day expecting life to dish me servings of success. I am lazy in the sense that I am resourceful enough to let other’s help me in getting my goals done, in return for helping them in some meaningful way. The key is to trade in something you don’t have the resources for, don’t have the time for or just don’t specialize in, for something that will take you a fraction of the time and effort to do.

This, I believe, is one of the most important attributes of a successful leader and manager. You need to be lazy enough to know what to outsource to other people, instead of putting the world on your shoulders. This all evolves around a concept that will make or break your business – leverage.

With leverage, you combine resources in such a way as to gain the maximum benefit for your business, while doing the minimum amount of work. When I mention leverage, I am referring to using other people’s resources to help me achieve my goals. The list is most aptly described by The One Minute Millionaire:

  • Other people’s money
  • Other people’s experience
  • Other people’s ideas
  • Other people’s time
  • Other people’s work

Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world – Archimedes

With a long enough lever, you can indeed do anything your heart desires. The most important thing is to create key partnerships with other people to achieve your vision. This includes your shareholders, your business partners, your employees, your mentors and your personal and professional networks. If you fall into the jack of all trades type of leadership, here’s whats going to happen to you:

  • You are going to multitask yourself to death because of all the things that you shouldn’t be doing, losing your motivation and focus along the way and ultimately leading to failure.
  • You will spread yourself too thinly among all your lines of business, creating less control and slower decision making in your venture.
  • You will take much longer to complete your goals, allowing the competition to catch up and easily surpass you and causing your business to run out of resources before you can launch the great product you want.

My steps to creating leverage, getting “lazier”, and being more successful in your business:

  1. List your key value propositions, or KVPs. These are your personal qualities and traits that add the most value to your business. They could be your creativity and imagination, your persistence and integrity or your social skills in selling, persuasion and marketing. I for one am not a marketing guru, but I consider myself a great strategic and tactical planner, and make sure to always align my decisions to my personal ethics and morals.
  2. Make sure that in almost all the tasks you do as you run your company, you are only focusing on those that align with your personal K.V.Ps.
  3. For all other tasks in your business, delegate them to employees, consultants, or even your own personal mentors. This is crucial if you are to focus on your strengths and unlock the most potential in your business.
  4. Create an analysis and review how your company could improve its internal processes by automation or outsourcing, thus doing more work in less time. You won’t imagine what software is available on the Internet today to help you get the most done, and a simple google search is the first step to helping you save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in the long run.
  5. Re-evaluate. Always make sure to revise the tasks you are performing and the ones you are delegating. It is vitally important to delegate to the right people, and that will be described in a later post. Becoming more lazy is an evolutionary process – don’t expect it to come overnight. Old habits die hard, but with enough persistence you can vastly improve the overall efficiency and success of your organization.

Is anyone else as lazy as I am? Let me know by commenting below!

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