Effort vs. Results

Imagine that a loved one is on the operating table in a life-or-death situation. You and your family gather in the waiting room waiting with bated breath for the doctor to communicate the results of this life-saving procedure.

When the surgeon finally arrives, you don’t want to hear about how hard she and her team labored. You don’t want to hear that she “gave it her all” and worked extra long, even cancelling her scheduled tee time. At this moment, trying hard doesn’t matter. You simply need results.

When people under-deliver, they tend to justify their poor performance by effort exerted. “But we tried really hard,” the hapless manager professes. “Do you know how much work went into this?” the C minus student protests.

Yes, it is true that effort is generally a precursor to results, but they are absolutely not one and the same. As leaders in our businesses and communities, we must hold each other to the highest standards of achievement — not just exertion. A city council that tries hard won’t get the job done. The business executive that burnt the midnight oil but missed the forecast might as well have gone to bed early.

 “What gets measured gets improved,” the old saying goes.What are you measuring in your own performance? How are you holding yourself and those around you accountable? Let’s commit to staying focused on the scoreboard while plotting out a successful game plan.

 When looking at the challenges our communities face, we must have laser beam focus on delivering tangible results. ‘Working hard’ to repair streetlights, ensure public safety, or deliver critical city services just doesn’t carry the day. It takes leaders from all walks of life to rally behind a unified effort to deliver real change instead of hype or excuses.

It’s easy to hide in the shadows of best efforts when results remain elusive. It’s time for us all to shift our energy from trying todoing. From rhetoric to action. From planning it out to getting it done.

A valiant effort just won’t cut it. Let’s all commit to delivering real, tangible results. Our companies, communities, and families will all win as a result. In the infamous words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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