As children we’re taught to sacrifice, avoid procrastination and to do the hard things first. Like homework, chores or even saving your money and not spending it on frivolous things. This guidance was given to us in the hopes of instilling a sense of responsibility, work ethic and most importantly helping us to understand that it’s the hard things that will help benefit us in the long term. By avoiding instant gratification and doing the hard things we would benefit later in life.
Fast forward to your adult working life. In many businesses, the hard things are what’s typically avoided.We’ve all heard it:
- What’s the low hanging fruit?
- What will satisfy our investors this quarter?
- Can we work around the issue?
- Let’s hold off transitioning that underperforming team member…
I can already hear what some of you may say. It’s all about forward momentum, doing the incremental things that cumulatively add up. By avoiding the hard things and working around it; we at least move forward. Putting points on the board so to speak. I partially agree. How can I not agree? We still need progress right? We can’t let roadblocks monopolize all our efforts and resources.
But when you take a look at some of the most successful companies like Amazon who continually re-invests for long-term growth. Or Google; who has basically told their investors we’ll continue to invest in moon shots despite its current success. Or McDonald’s who is reinventing their brand and menu across their 35,000 restaurants worldwide. These companies are addressing challenges and opportunities head on to ensure their longevity.
What’s your take on this? Was mom right? In business, should we be doing the hard things first? Maybe we should ask the newspaper industry.