The Lazy Unreasonable Man

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
– George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

That quote sprang to mind when I read the great post – In praise of the lazy employee

They want to know why it takes five signatures to get something approved when one should do. They want to know why the forecasting effort should take two weeks each month when a bit of rethinking could cut 50% out of the work and possibly get better answers. They want to know why they’re tied up in bureaucracy when simplifying work would leave them more time to attend to customers’ needs and to come up with creative new ways to make progress for the company. They’re lazy enough not to take “We’ve always done things that way” for an answer; they want to figure out how to do more with less. They want to make more contribution than the 80-hour-a-week employee supposedly does and to do it with far less stress and strain.

As one demonstrably highly effective manager I knew has said (my paraphrase), “The effective people are those who put in a solid six hours a day working on the right things and then spend another couple of hours listening to people and to ideas; they typically are much more effective than those who work late into the evening.”

My view of myself places me in both of these camps (lazy and unreasonable). But, honestly, I have become more reasonable over time and while it makes me less difficult to put up with I think I am less effective (my performance appraisals are more positive so maybe I am wrong or maybe my opinion of performance appraisals is right).

5 thoughts on “The Lazy Unreasonable Man

  1. A quote from Robert Heinlein:

    Progress doesn't come from early risers – progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.

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