December 11, 2020

What can you do in five minutes that will change someone’s life?


We spend a third of our lives at work, so it’s probably a smart idea to figure out how to create an environment worth coming to every day.

The hard part is, the onus is mostly on us, not the organization.

Here’s a case study from my own work experience.

My startup once conducted an employee engagement survey. And overall, I found the experience to be meaningful. Except for one part. Under the category of performance drive, there was a question that bothered me.

Are you motivated to work harder here than you have at past companies?

Sorry, but that’s the wrong word. There’s no leverage with working harder. As people progress in their careers, they shouldn’t be figuring out how to work harder, but how to work smarter.

It’s cliche but it’s also a life changing distinction. Because once employees learn how to do as much as necessary and as little as possible, their engagement skyrockets.

After all, you only have so much energy in a given workday. And if your goal is to keep ratcheting up labor intensity with every new role, position or career in which you work, then you’ll burn out faster than a cheap firecracker.

That’s what highly prolific employees do. They learn how to pace themselves. They learn how to deploy their brilliance in short, powerful bursts. They learn how to see new opportunities, make key decisions and enable powerful connections that create massive value and minimal time.

Start asking yourself a smarter question:

What can you do in five minutes that will change someone’s life?

Forget about working harder. Figure out how to create maximum leverage with minimal effort, and your company won’t need a survey to determine if you’re engaged.

Do you independently and proactively try to improve your work situation, or do you expect someone else to do it for you?