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Don’t judge by input. Judge by output.

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • March 7, 2017

What is work?

What does it mean to work hard?

Some work is easy to identify. Simply look at the input.

Carrying rocks from 7am to 7pm. That is obviously hard work.

Or building a road. Or driving a delivery van all day.

What’s not so easily appreciated is the hard work that goes into jobs such as sales, or being a writer.

The trouble with these jobs is that there is a weak correlation between input and output.

A salesman might only deliver one deal a week. A writer might only deliver one chapter a month.

What you can’t see is the thirty fruitless sales calls, all ending in rejection.

You can’t see the countless crumpled pages on the floor, hours of work thrown away.

The output is not a fair reflection of the input, and because you can’t empathise with the effort, its easy to assume there is no effort.

You assume that the salesman, or the writer, is lazy. You assume that whilst you’re slogging away all day, he’s messing around.

That’s why trust amongst partners is important.

If you trust your partner then it won’t bother you whether it looks like he’s working hard or not. You don’t need to look over his shoulder to see whether he’s slacking. You’ll know he is putting in the hours.

That allows you to focus 100% on your job.

To trust you must understand that for some jobs, output does not match input. Just because the work is not visible to you, doesn’t make it less hard work.

Don’t judge by input. Judge by output.