Some of the most important business lessons just don’t seem to make sense. Despite all of our sophistication and advanced thinking over the last few decades, there are a few timeless business lessons that defy logic.
At face value your gut instinct tells you that you’re getting conned. Upon closer inspection, you realize that not making sense might make the best sense of all.
Here are a few of those business lessons:
1. You will get more done if you work less and sleep more.
It might seem like being a workaholic is the best way to get the most done each day. But what we know about our brains is that sleep drives our emotional energy — our creativity. You actually get more done in less time if you get sleep. The amount is different for each of us. But generally you need 6 to 8 hours to let your immune system clean you back up and get you ready to take on the next day of assignments .
Tip: Take a 15 minute nap before you jump into a stressful meeting or assignment.
2. Forgiveness is easier to get than permission.
Instead of going up the chain of command, sometimes you just need to act. The moment of opportunity you are looking at can go away before you get the permission you need to act. It’s always easier for those above you to give you a second chance then it is to authorize something that is ever so slightly risky. You need to be aware of that and leverage your gut instinct for getting the results that you think are important.
Tip: Be sincere at apologizing (and explaining your intentions) if things go wrong.
3. How much you get done is result of where you try to do it.
Location matters. Your creativity and inspiration are directly tied to where you spend your time working on achieving a specific set of actions. So take some time and turn your office into a place where you feel comfortable and safe. By the way, studies show that if you sit for more than 5 hours per day that your total life expectancy goes more than 25%. It decreases brain activity as well. Stand up. Move around. Get funky.
Tip: Look into getting a standing desk. BTW, you won’t have people “stopping by” so often if they have no place to sit.
4. Fewer team members can get more done than a lot of team members.
At a certain point, you stop being able to get more things done by hiring more people. The additional communication hurdles make it difficult to move quickly. Instead of getting things done you find yourself “talking” about getting things done. Which means you are better off hiring a smaller, more capable team of specialized workers. Stop throwing more bodies at a problem and hire people who are as passionate as you are.
Tip: Hire 2. Pay them like 3. Work them like 4.
5. Being smarter doesn’t give you that much of an advantage.
If you’re not a complete idiot you are smart enough to be wildly successful. That’s what we know. Being a genius isn’t a requirement for you being successful. In fact, some of the biggest breakthroughs in innovation came from people who tried things that their “smarter” counterparts were sure to fail. With enough passion and personal motivation, average intellect trumps genius — at least when it comes to business.
Tip: Always keep learning. But always keep trying things you think are important.
6. Doing the wrong thing has less impact than doing nothing at all.
Likely, it’s not what you do that will make you a failure, it’s what you don’t do — or what you don’t do fast enough. It’s easier to make smaller changes to get back on course than it is to start fresh. So once you have begun, the hard work is behind you. The hardest part of any task is what you do first. So if you get in the habit of “just getting started”, you’ll think of everything you do as an experiment and not being intimidated by temporary setbacks.
Tip: Be disciplined about taking action each day. Even when you don’t feel like it.
You can’t expect to be a success by thinking logically. Sometimes the strategies and principles that drive success are bigger than your imagination.
Frankly, you might want to start not making sense.
That might be the best business move you’ve made this lifetime.