5 Ways of Working

Stan McDaniel, Ph.D

Agustín Peralt, Ph.D

Profesores de la Universidad Europea de Valencia

I spend so much time with professionals during the year that I have learned quite a lot about their productivity. As a matter of fact, I have spent so much time with them that I can classify them in the following groups:

1.- Active but lazy: These are the people who work a lot of hours but just do what they feel like doing, not what they should be doing. The problem is that by merely doing just what they feel like, it is very often work which is not really important for the job, and, consequently, these people hardly ever achieve results. These people get stressed easily and are not really happy, but do nothing to solve it because they sincerely feel as though they work a lot, and they really do, but it is work which is not important.

2.- Brilliant but lack a system: These are intelligent people who work just the minimum. They usually achieve results, but without any kind of clear system of working. Their personality is on the anarchical side, and they almost always obtain results, even if means just the minimum in order to avoid problems. They are not willing to modify their way of working given that they feel comfortable with their system. The problem is that even though they have great potential they never bring out the best in themselves, that is, they never show their highest performance. This obviously is a pity for them and for the organization where they work.

3.- Willing but without focus: They are very hard workers but without any focus, and this means that they spend many hours working but do not really achieve the results that they should. These are the people that are always the first to arrive to work and the last to leave. From time to time these people stand out, but they always seem to be overwhelmed. This is coupled with such intensive timetables nowadays which, at the cost of their families, results, in the long run, in burnout and even serious emotional problems. The rewards that come from this style of working are not usually positive.

4.- Lazy bums: They hardly work and almost always do just the minimum to survive. They do whatever they feel like doing, and when they see they might get caught at it, their shrewdness saves them or allows them to get the minimum result required. The problem is that these people usually burn everyone that surrounds them (who usually end up hating them) and ultimately have problems with their bosses, who get fed up with them and their “last-minute solutions and saved by the bell”.

5.- Productive clever: These make up a small percentage of workers in companies. They come right out of a productivity manual. They have identified their 80-20 (80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes) and are very focused on it. Besides, when they work, they work with absolute attention, knowing how to say no and getting rid of any distractions. They always plan their weeks and days with detail. They are so pro-active that when a meeting becomes stalled, they right out say so. They understand that they must be in good physical and emotional shape, and they take care of themselves as well as find time for their families and hobbies.

For a long time I was in Group 3. I belonged to this group for too long, years in fact. I was in this group until I burned out, literally. Then I carried out a professional reinvention and realized that first I had to be honest with myself and at the same time be humble in order to realize that my work style did not function (it´s really hard for us to be honest with ourselves and recognize what we do badly without looking for excuses!). After analyzing, reading and observing, I detected the problem and I started working on a model which really helped me to be happy workwise, achieving more results and working less. That is how the F.A.S.E. (Focus, Attention, Systemization, Energy) Method was born. I am now in Group 5…. It is so much better to work like this, and, besides getting good results, I find myself doing more and more often things that really make me happy, not only on a professional level but on a personal one as well. But most importantly my profession allows me to help a lot of people to be in Group 5……

And you? In which group do you think you are?