I came across a very cool idea in Kevin Kelly's chapter in the book, End Malaria. Kevin Kelly is the founder of Wired Magazine, and End Malaria is another awesome publication from Seth Godin's The Domino Project. Kevin's chapter is about the stories that he ended up writing while he was the editor of Wired. Stories he'd try to get other people to write, but for one reason or another, couldn't. Stories that, as it turned out, only he could write.
He said "work at its smartest means doing work that no one else can do." Very cool.
At its most basic this means don't do work that other people around you can do better. Within your organisation or your practice make sure that the most qualified person to do a job is actually doing it. Which means putting a lot more effort goes into designing roles and designing who does what within a project. Placing a higher priority than we are used to on designing the work before we start doing it.
At a higher level it means doing the work that you are the only person in your organisation that can do. We say that the primary role of the Thought Leader is to think, sell and deliver. At white belt ($120k a year) you do everything. From yellow belt ($240k a year) to blue belt ($480k a year) you build your team so all you do is think, sell and deliver. This is working smart - doing the work that only you can you.
The ultimate conclusion of this idea is doing work that no one else on the planet can do.
Pretty daunting concept. What can I do that no one else on the planet can do? It's very easy to conclude that there's nothing that I can do that someone else couldn't do better. But it's worth trying to find out if there is something, and putting as much of yourself as possible into that.
Look at the different elements of my practice there are a couple of examples of things that I think no one else could have done.
Within Thought Leaders the methodology and intellectual property that Matt Church has put together for growing a million dollar practice is way better than what I could have come up with. I think that piece is something that only he could have done. However some of the structures and processes that I have created for implementing that methodology is uniquely mine.
In The Money Workshop the piece I have done which demystifies the maths of becoming financially independent hasn't been done by anyone else. That's work that only I could have done.
And the design of Pure Bookkeeping - understanding the industry and the market enough to see that if we packaged up Debbie's systems the way we have, and positioned it in the market in the gap between a training program and a franchise so it would take off - was again something that I was uniquely positioned to do.
Work that no one else could do doesn't mean work that no one else has the ability to do. Of course there are lots of people who if they were in my place could have done these things. But in each case I was the only person with the skills, knowledge, information, resources, location and relationships to be able to do that work.
What work have you done that no one else on the planet could have done? And what work like that do you want to do?