A senior developer at my work today revealed a new report that he had written over the weekend. It's an impressive report, built with SQL reporting services, it performs great, it's accurate, and it's well-organized.
As we roll this out to our internal folks, the developer stated that folks at the company would be amazed, but the other developers would get a chuckle because they know how easy it was to program the report. Those other developers may laugh, but they aren't the ones getting the attention.
I replied to the developer that it's not effort that amazes our clients or our employees. They have no idea what it takes behind the scenes to make things work. And they really don't care (as they shouldn't) as long as it works. It's ideas, initiative, and most of all the impact that amazes people. Hard work has its place, don't get me wrong. As I grow older, though, I see more people that are promoted, successful, or wealthy – not because they worked hard, but because they had great ideas, great initiative, or great impact.
It's IDEAS, INITIATIVE, and most of all, IMPACT that amazes people – not effort.
That doesn't mean that I don't work hard. I work constantly – my blog is actually a daily break for me. With lunch and an afternoon stroll, the rest of my time is working, in bed, reading, or time with my kids. I love work, that's why I do it. I just don't think that it's like the good ‘ol days where ‘hard work pays off'. Those days are long behind us! Hard work may pay the bills, but it doesn't pay off in the long run. All you'll have at the end of your life is a whole pile of work done.
This developer's work may not have taken much effort – but his idea, his initiative to execute on it, and the impact it will have on our clients will be something the entire company benefits from.