Shawn Freeman is an entrepreneur, a personable geek, and the founder of IT services company TWT Group Inc. in Calgary, Canada. He founded the company to make IT simple instead of infuriating, and believes it should be the easiest part of anyone's day. TWT has seen significant growth since its inception and is now serving more than 100 clients.
Being a workaholic is overrated. It's stressful, time-consuming and completely unnecessary.
I'll be the first to admit it: I'm lazy, and my company thrives on laziness.
I'm not talking about lying-in-bed-all-day-while-playing-Candy-Crush laziness; I'm talking about efficiency. I'm talking about proactively avoiding issues and speedily addressing the ones that do pop up. I'm talking about providing such great service that our clients never feel the need to contact us.
This is the right kind of lazy -- the one that finds the quickest, simplest way to accomplish complicated tasks. And if you're reading this, I'm sure you already know how often complications arise when launching a business. Bill Gates may not be lazy himself, but he certainly understands the true value of laziness. He said, "I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." Imagine an entire staff full of perfectly lazy employees.
The Perks of a Lazy Staff
While overachievers tear their hair out in search of perfection, lazy employees do just enough to present a viable, functional option. In business, the ability to swiftly create something usable can be a game changer. If you waste time ruminating over tiny details, you may find that the ship you were hoping to board sailed away long ago.
When your entire staff is the right kind of lazy, things progress faster than you could ever imagine. No problem is ever too complicated to resolve, and pesky issues don't linger any longer than they need to.
Lazy people understand the anatomy of a challenge: big problems are typically made up of small problems that have compiled and snowballed. With that in mind, they never feel overwhelmed by any challenge, no matter how daunting it may seem. Just as a number of small problems combine to create a big problem, they know that a number of quick fixes can combine to cure any issue.
My company works with clients all the time who think they're presenting us with difficult (or even impossible) tasks. But time and time again, my lazy staff members impress them with their ability to identify the solution, divide the duties, and get the job done in the blink of an eye.
Hiring the Right Kind of Lazy
Obviously, not all types of lazy are good. Some lazy people are serial procrastinators who put things off until the last second and then present subpar work. Hiring a team full of this version of lazy will waste both your time and money, and it's a surefire way to sink your business.
Instead, you should seek practical, creative, and intelligent people who don't overthink things. These are the employees who will propel your business forward. When searching for the right lazy employees, make sure candidates possess each of the following three P's:
- Perspective: The right kind of lazy employee will have outside hobbies and passions. Though these lazy people take their jobs seriously, it's not the only source of stimulation in their lives. My lazy employees aren't looking to bring work home with them, and that's fine with me. They strive to speedily complete tasks as efficiently as possible so they can get back to doing the things they love in the evenings.
- Persistence: The wrong kind of lazy employee will persistently look for reasons to avoid work, but the right ones will persistently search for ways to improve speed and ease without sacrificing quality. These folks devote their lives to finding helpful shortcuts and workarounds. Every time I speak with one of my lazy employees, I learn something that makes my life easier. Who wouldn't want a staff full of facilitators?
- Proactivity: Lazy people who are self-starters are the best employees you could ever have. They work in bursts of productivity and tackle things as they arise. I never have to worry about deadlines with my lazy staff members; they love to take the initiative and find their own way to get the job done. If they find themselves tinkering with something for too long, they're not afraid to rip it to shreds and start over in search of a quicker route.