Sustainable Success Strategies

Here is the common advice I got from my seniors on joining the Indian Police Service – “You have to extract work from the sub-inspectors.” Like you would extract oil from coconut, squeezing out every drop.

In fact, one otherwise well-meaning officer told me, “Don’t let those buggers sleep!”

And now, I sometimes see the same obsession with “extracting” work even in the private sector.

Let me be candid with you – the police force has a lot of ills, e.g., corruption, brutality, disregard for law and fairness, and so on. But laziness is not one of them.

In fact, in a north Indian state (which I won’t name), a police constable once told me that they have duty for days on end, without any break!

You would imagine that if their policemen are working so hard, that state would have great law and order. Not really – this is one of the most lawless states in India.

I am not doing police-bashing. All I am saying is that “extracting” the last drop of work has not done much good to the police force. Nor is it likely to do much good to others.

When we squeeze everything out of people, denying them time to rest and recover, they are irritable and on the edge. Even their mental health may get affected. It is hardly the recipe for success.

I run HabitStrong, a startup. And like any ambitious entrepreneur, I want to grow it and build a lasting brand. We are neither easy-going nor complacent. But to build the company, we don’t have to squeeze out every drop of work from our team. What purpose will that serve?

Yes, we have to work hard. But it does not have to be insane.

Success comes from doing the right thing, innovating, and serving customers well. It doesn’t come from working ourselves to death.

– Rajan

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