Steps to Management Success – Step 114: Half-Assed Work Leads to Half-Assed Results

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 15th, 2010


Half-Assed Work Leads to Half-Assed Results

Sometimes we are all tempted to coast—to give a project a perfunctory, halfhearted effort. And even though you may have the best excuses in the world for not giving something your best effort, the quality of your work tends to speak loud and clear for itself.

WHAT IT MEANS: Don’t phone it in! Case in point: An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career. When the carpenter finished his work, the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said. “My gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building, then with a shock we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently. But we cannot go back. Build wisely!

ACTION PLAN: Often, “coasting” at work is related to stress, fatigue, or a negative attitude. Don’t let any of those factors prevent you from delivering your level best. Part of being professional is being consistent regardless of your feelings or physical or emotional state, so be aware when your commitment to doing a good job starts to dip. It may be better to take a break or make an attitude adjustment and get it done a little later than to do work that reflects poorly on you. If your work were a painting, would you be willing to sign it?

EVEN BETTER: Make yourself more resilient to the blahs by keeping yourself physically and mentally fit. Eat well and get the rest you need. Have a life outside of work and strive for balance. While it’s only human to have an off day or two, you don’t want to make a habit of it—and healthier habits are a great safeguard.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

Roger Due

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