The cost of misunderstanding laziness (and belief in cause)

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Think about the lazy people you know. Grrrrr…they’re so annoying aren’t they? Lazing about. Who do they think they are?

Except…many of the “lazy” people I know have gone on to become more successful than just about everyone else I know.

The cost of thinking that others are lazy

Frankly, I think we should be careful underestimating and labelling people as ‘lazy’. It might just be a lazy way to think. It might just cost us more than we think.

“So why, Mark, do you have so much faith in the ‘lazy’?”, I hear you ask.

Well, first, I thought we were going to hold off from calling them ‘lazy’? To my mind they are no more lazy than a fish is lazy for not climbing a tree. Fish seriously can’t be bothered doing that. They just don’t believe in themselves to do so, and besides, if they got to the top, so what? (I understand that some might wish to climb so that they could jump.)

But, on the brighter side, when fish find water, they make pretty damn good swimmers and their former ‘laziness’ goes unnoticed.

The lazy advantage

I think ‘lazy’ people have a potential advantage for two reasons:

  1. They have a major life problem to solve. They haven’t yet found the path that brings them alive. They don’t believe in what they’re doing. But somewhere out there is a challenge they could take on that will change all of that. They could do with finding it.
  2. They often work hard to do things in the laziest (most efficient?) possible way. They don’t ask, “how should I do this?” They ask, “how could this get done?” Big difference.

Everyone else tends to carry on hammering away at what they’re doing (often in a zombie-like trance whilst they continue to complain about the ‘lazy’ around them).

(Note: I know two people I worked with over the last few years who leadership told me were ‘lazy’, both who went on to set up successful businesses shortly after).

Lazy sales people

Now let’s turn this to helping non-sales people to sell effectively.

I help organisations set up new sales teams, or find ways for non-sales people to contribute to generating revenue.

I also work with well established sales teams, where sales directors are always quick to point out the ‘lazy’ people in the team to me.

Belief in cause

And in nearly every case, there is something that the ‘lazy’ people lack, and something – one thing – that people in your team need in order to improve fast, and succeed;

What I call, “belief in cause”.

Belief in cause is the essential ingredient (my other top two are here and you can contact me for the full capability set if you’re interested.)

If you were to bet on which warrior would win a fight, the warrior who’s fighting for the money or the warrior who’s fighting for the cause, who would you bet on?

Belief in what your organisation and team are doing, or belief in your product or service eliminates perceived laziness. And it gives everyone the strength, belief, and drive to learn the other capabilities they need to succeed faster.

Who’s going to do it anyway?

So, if you lead a team of sales or non-sales people, to what level do they believe in the cause?

Are you hiring like Eric Schmidt (of Google/Alphabet Inc, and ranked by Forbes as one of the top 100 richest people in the world in 2016) by employing talented people who don’t need managing because “they’re going to do it anyway!” He’s not thinking “how can I do this?” He’s thinking, “how can this get done?”

What about you? Are you fighting for a ’cause’ you believe in?

And for the ‘lazy’ people around you – you might need a different conversation with them rather than expecting a fish to climb a tree?


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