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Why working smart isn’t enough - No-one ever drowned in their own sweat
Harvey Mackay

September, 2006

Wayne Huizenga knows the value of time at work and at play. In his mid-sixties, he told Business Week magazine that a key measure for him was “‘QTR’ – ‘quality time remaining.’ I don't know how many years I'll be able to play golf, so I'm going to enjoy every minute . . .”

What does a self-made billionaire do when he takes QTR seriously? Build his own golf course, of course. And, that’s what he did. Wayne brought in Gary Player to design the greens for the 300-acre Floridian Golf & Yacht Club on the St. Lucie River, one of the best courses I’ve ever played. Experts say it’s the beauty queen of Florida’s myriad courses.

A man of many accomplishments, Wayne Huizenga has been dubbed a “serial entrepreneur.” That’s a serial success six times over. Among his babies are Waste Management (Yes, he did once drive a garbage truck.), Blockbuster Video and the twenty-billion-dollar-big AutoNation, America’s largest car retailer. Wayne also owns the NFL Miami Dolphins and the NHL Florida Panthers . . . and he owned the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins. On the road to every peak, Wayne kept his feet on the ground.

Columnist Chick Cheryl tells a classic Huizenga story: At Blockbuster, Wayne would scour the stores “up to 6 hours per day.” “Employees nicknamed him ‘Toilet Man’ because the first thing he would do on a store visit was check out the employee bathrooms – if they weren't clean, the rest of the store would be in the same condition.”

A while back, the Financial Times covered an Entrepreneur Summit held in sunny Monaco. Wayne was one of the attendees. The Times reporter captured one Huizenga comment worthy of being etched in stone: “No-one ever drowned in their own sweat.” It’s vital to work smarter. But, it’s not enough to just work smarter. The truth is you need to work harder, too.

As Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson used to put it, get used to working half days. And, it doesn’t matter if you work the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours. You have to work smarter and harder if you want to succeed. But, no amount of work will matter if it doesn’t yield results.

Accept the inescapable fact that you need to dig in with all you’ve got. Then ask questions about what you are trying to achieve:

  • Are you constantly focused on specific goals? Do you change what you’re doing when the goals change? Don’t assume the goals you wrote down in January still apply in August. When reality shifts, you better follow pronto. For example, crude oil has risen drastically since January. For oil-reliant businesses, that’s a significant leap in operating costs. Track the trends daily. It’s true if you’re peddling heating oil or the hottest runway couture.
  • Do you constantly try to do things yourself instead of using your personal network or the Web to find information for you? Don’t try to be an expert in everything, but do try to be a real expert in one or two things. Then get known for it. Why? Folks will call you for advice. When that happens, you’ll build a network of experts in other areas who owe you favors.
  • Intelligently use the time you socialize – over lunch, on the golf course, at the ballpark – to move along your A-list business and career agendas. When your head hits the pillow tonight, will you dream about the cob salad you had for lunch or the unfilled staffing hole in the accounting department that could cost you your job?
  • Hard work is not “show” – it isn’t just doing things to impress others that you’re exerting yourself. Hard work is doing those things that really have a benefit. Often a trainer (mentor) can help you figure out what really pays off.

Another Huizenga chestnut from Monaco is: “If we want to grow twice as fast, we have to work twice as hard.” There are no short cuts. There’s no way around it. Know in advance what the price of your growth goals is going to be. Better let your spouse and family know, too. It may mean the difference between awe and awful in your home life.

Mackay’s Moral: You won’t drown in your own sweat. The trick is using it to float to the top!

Reprinted with permission from nationally syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.


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