The Value of Hard Work, Because Hard Work Is a Value

Written by | @stickybranding

Hard Work
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Core values get glammed up to be aspirational phrases like Excellence, Integrity, and Respect. But what about “hard work?” It’s probably one of the most important and most overlooked core values.

This lesson hit home for me recently when the VP of HR of a national forklift dealership said, “We don’t recruit from our competitors, because we’ve found their people can’t keep up with our pace.”

She went on to explain that across the board they’ve been disappointed when they’ve hired people from the competition. “We just work harder. Our sales reps carry bigger quotas, and our service reps handle more accounts. We have a performance culture that values hard work.”

She continued, “Everyone notices when someone doesn’t pull his or her weight. The work ethic is baked into our company’s DNA, and a team will reject someone who doesn’t keep up.”

I was blown away by her transparency. Not many HR leaders will speak so candidly and directly about their culture. While some companies promote work-life balance and foosball in the breakroom, this company values effort and performance first.

Hard work may not seem glamorous, but it’s at the heart of every successful brand.

Angela Duckworth writes in Grit, “Without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.”

Athletes, for instance, don’t brag about their training. In fact, most hate it. Angela continues, “Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.” Practice is hard, grueling work, but athletes love what training delivers: competing and winning at the sport they love.

The same is true with brands. Growing a successful business and brand is dependent on the concentrated efforts of smart, dedicated people who go the extra mile.

Call “hard work” for what it is — a core value.

It’s ok to say your team works harder. It’s ok to expect more from your people. It’s ok to put in the hours if you’re working for something you believe in. Hard work is a good thing.

If hard work is a value, it’s ok to reject people that don’t share your values. If someone on your team is “working for the weekend” or “shooting for the bronze,” you don’t have to accept it. They’re not a fit and they’ve got to go.

If your company thrives on performance, you want everyone on your team to share the same values.