Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Presently Working As Dy Manager Hr &
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
+2 Others

Hi dear all,
I know this is very old repeated technique, question and ongoing discussion. but I would really like to know from all members. what exactly this hard work and smart work is all about. still in this current modern era is this applicable. what are the current ongoing techniques practising in the industry. is it really helpful, how to handle and all. please do go through it, suggest and share some of your views, personal experiences with this.
15th February 2014 From United Arab Emirates, Dubai
Dear Raghavaprasadnarayanan,
Rather than pose the question, I kindly suggest that you go through the previous threads by clicking on the links in the sidebar at the right. Then, give us your views and, I am sure, others will do like wise.
Thanking you in advance for a positive response to my suggestion.
15th February 2014 From United Kingdom
Endorsing Mr.Simhan's view, you must have you done some research on the subject and must have tried some techniques as you have expressed the doubt whether it is still relevant in current modern era. This enables the discussion to be more focussed rather than strayed. Any how, you need to work hard even to work smart.

16th February 2014 From India, Mumbai
I will give you a small example,

(1) An employee non-graduate can equally work like a graduate without feeling below dignity or any thing and he will not be sitting with his boss and cannot expose himself that he could do the job. Without laptop without any technology and olden days.


(2) Another person will be attended the same work, you can say qualified graduate or post graduate in a simple method, by getting it done through his sub-ordinates (contract labour / temporary workmen) and claims that he had completed the job. With new changed technology and with computers and with soft skills in present MNC. He will spare lot of time with his bosses and praise them and get appreciations, rewards etc.

1st one is called "hard work" and the later one is called smart work. Show put-up is the demand now-a-days. Even if we keep the interest of Company, cost control, ethics, the smart workers will not allow hard worker to grow in the present market condition.

This is my personal experience while working in 26 years in private sectors.

Regards====NV Subba Rao===
16th February 2014 From India, Hyderabad
Dear Raghavaprasadnarayanan,
Many CEO's in America have not reached the top by working Smarter as experience by Subba Rao. Please read and digest the content at The Myth of Working Hard vs. Working Smart | Entrepreneur.com Please let us know your views.
16th February 2014 From United Kingdom
Even going by the example of Mr.Subba Rao, you will be accountable for the quality of performance, meeting time lines,cost reduction by reducing wastage and numerous other compliances as they have all bearing on the brand image, performance and profits of the company. Unless you are some one who has thorough knowledge of the job which you can acquire only through hard work, you can run the risk of being taken for a ride by the contractors and temp.staff. Hence the saying that there are no short cuts to success.We can also say that there are no smart cuts to success.By working smart, you mean integrating technology into processes, then it is altogether a different subject. Therefore you need to be more forthcoming on the subject so as to enable the members to respond in right perspective.

17th February 2014 From India, Mumbai
Dear Raghav,
Let me explain you through the following two proverbs:
a) "knock the door till it opens"? Hard work is concentrating on the activity of knocking the doors. Smart work is choosing the right door.
b) "strike when the iron is hot". Hard work is waiting for the iron to become hot. Smart work is making iron hot and then striking it.
One more example is about hard working salesperson. He masters art of "how to handle objections of the customers". Smart salesperson prevents the objections!
Dinesh Divekar
17th February 2014 From India, Bangalore
Dear Dinesh you hit the nail on it’s head to drive the point straight home.Very crisp presentation of the distinction in a nutshell. B.Saikumar HR & Labour law Advisor
17th February 2014 From India, Mumbai
Dear Raghav,

Let me express myself further to what all the learned members have beautifully said. Michael Moroney's article suggested by Mr.Simhan makes a wonderful reading on the topic and the examples cited by Mr.Dinesh makes it highly illustrative.To me, (of course not in an offending sense) your attempt without a research to post the query in the midst of availability of a sea of articles on the topic is an act of smartness! Pl leave it.Coming to the second part of your query about the relevance of the concepts of " working smart" and " hard working" in the modern era, the answer is in the article of Moroney itself.Hope you remember the mythological anacdote of Lords Ganesh and Muruga over the divine mango fruit.Muruga had a vehicle with a super-sonic speed which Ganesh did not.So he used his lateral thinking and asked the referee himself whether the parents would be the universe to their children, got the affirmative answer and finished the cicumambulation of his parents well before Muruga finished his cicumnavigation of the universe.So, every thing, transcendent of the barriers of time and other difficulties, depends upon one's perseverance, rapidity and accuracy. Here, perseverance refers to hard work and rapidity and accuracy to smartness.
17th February 2014 From India, Salem
I wonder why we are all very prompt in responding to "SMART" people, who are quite adept at raking our brains, without expressing their own views!! There are many hard working people who find answers and then seek help to improve their understanding. I wonder whether we who respond are "SMART" or "Hard workers"!!!
17th February 2014 From United Kingdom
Dear All Thanks all for your inputs and sharing the examples which really makes me more understanding in identifying the difference between smart and Hard work.
Dear Dinesh and Uma really appreciate your examples quoted.
For Others i just want to say that I do have some knowledge regarding hard work and smart work but currently in most of the organizations still its a question mark and that's the reason i have posted to get more views on the same.
Anyways thanks to all who gave their suggestions and Views on this.
17th February 2014 From United Arab Emirates, Dubai
There are so many dialogues "Right Perspective"...; "Positive Thinking".....i do not believe all these things.... Doing right things and by helping other are will only keep me happy....i do my job in my own way and means....Thanks for your response.
Quality of performance, meeting time lines,cost reduction by reducing wastage and numerous other compliances...........All these tools are useful on paper while rewarding employees with increments and promotion and only to divide the people and not to assess the abilities of a person.
Most HODs are misusing, mis-interpreting, misguiding HR Heads and making good performers to quit the organisation and bad performers to remain the Indian industries.
17th February 2014 From India, Hyderabad
It appears that you got me wrong. I did not find fault with either getting things done through contract labour or temporary staff as per the needs of the organization or using technology in doing work. What I said is even to get things done through others, one should have sound knowledge of job and the processes which one can acquire only by working hard himself to ensure that the job done by others conforms to desired quality standards, failing which he runs the risk of accepting all that is done by others, however shoddy it is. For example a tailor should know the tailoring job well to ensure that his stitching assistants and buttoning assistants do their job qualitatively, failing which he may face the jibe of his customers. Similarly, a captain of the team in any team based sport shall know the game as much as any member of the team to direct their efforts to win the game and he acquires the knowledge of the game by sweating it on the field for months but not by observing someone playing. This is true of any function or business, raised dons the foundations of team work. There is no denying the fact one should keep himself as well as others happy and help others in an atmosphere of team spirit, which you probably must be doing and it is essential too.

You said that you believe in doing right things. Even here it involves hard work. I cannot resist appreciating the learned member Mr.Dinesh Divekar who so tellingly brought out the distinction between hard work and smart work in his crisp one liners in his post. Thus applying this principle ‘doing’ a right thing is hard work but using discretion and intelligence to identify what is right thing to do is smart work. Many professionals may end up making wrong decisions by not using their faculties smartly. Thus when you said that you do right things, you must be also working hard in doing it without being consciously aware of it and in selecting right things to do, you must also be working smart without being consciously aware of it but probably wrongly crediting the rewards and recognition which you got to the praise and flattery which you lavish on your bosses while they must be actually rewarding you for all the good things you do and for helping others but not fall for the flattery, though everyone wants to hear good things about himself. There may be some HODs who grant these rewards and recognition for flattery and praise as you said but they only can damage the organization in the long run as they cause the talent to leave the organization as you rightly observed. Such success, acquired by any one has only short life as he may wilt under circumstances that challenge his competencies.

What I want impress up on is that smart work means that one needs to work hard intelligently and that hard work cannot be dispensed with altogether in any activity of human life. I therefore regret to share the view that smart work is devising means to find spare time for buttering bosses to gain rewards and recognition.

In the harsh world of market driven and intensely competitive business which survives so long as it’s cash boxes are ringing and which cannot ring without someone sweating out there, the terms right perspective, quality of performance, time lines and customer service will not be rhetoric or only verbose but exist for real and no business can ignore them and if it ignores, it does so at it’s own peril since it cannot ask it’s employees to work by merely giving them cheques with their salaries written on them but which bounce for lack of funds. Cash, money and profits are not rhetoric but real in business and since they cannot grow on trees, they need to be generated by solid performance at ground level.


HR & labour law Advisor

navi Mumbai
18th February 2014 From India, Mumbai
Dinesh Divekar has given crisp one line examples and Sikumar has given a comprehensive response. Hence, I will just give a link and let the readers decide.
Even Directors of companies sometimes do not act smart when appointing their CEO. Neither do they work hard but base their decisions on other factors leading to disastrous results. For example read this long article at How Hewlett-Packard lost its way - Fortune Tech <link updated to site home> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google )
18th February 2014 From United Kingdom
Hard Work & Smart Work :
I would like to give a very simple example of hard work and Smart work
You must have come across a Magnetic Pin Box in your office,
Take a case that all the steel office pins have fallen down and you have to put it in pin box
A hard work :
Pick up with hand .- it may hurt you & will take more time
A Smart work :
Just attach it with magnet and pick it up – it will be done easily & in few seconds
Same work but in different way, this is smart work , I hope the concept is clear.
21st February 2014 From India, Pune

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Dear Raghav,
Simple example for Hard work & Smart work;
Sweating comes from your body means Hard work.
Sweating comes from your brain means Smart work.
Both should be handle with confident and interest then only he/she will reach the achievement.
21st February 2014 From India, Madras
Ritika has given another striking example about working smart, clarifying the concept further.Here the smart work is using magnet to attract pins and the hard work done is thinking about how to do it differently to pick so many pins scattered on the ground at once to save time and physical strain and avoid hurting while picking pins and fetching the magnet and getting down to attract the pins to the magnet and then emptying the pins into the pin box.Smart work is, as she rightly said, doing things differently but not avoiding the doing of the things.Thanks Ritika.
HR & Labour law Advisor

22nd February 2014 From India, Mumbai
Thanks All for your valuable inputs about Hard and Smart work though nowadays smart work is only getting rewarded (my own thought) and appreciate all for your comments.
Thanks Once again
22nd February 2014 From United Arab Emirates, Dubai
Dear Mr. Sai Kumar,
I request u to share yr personal email ID, so that i can drop a message on this issue and to share my views instead of disturbing the smart members in this forum. Since u r labour law advisor, i need lot of clarifications from u.
9th December 2014 From India, Hyderabad
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