To Win We Must Work Smarter…


Gen. 30:31-36 (KJV)… What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, …all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. … And Laban …removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked … speckled and spotted, and …Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

Sequel to the first remedy for success in a hostile (work) environment i.e. Loyalty as mentioned in our last article in this series, another factor, which guarantees success and prosperity in such an environment is Diligence.

Beyond ‘Busyness’ or Hard Work

Contrary to popular opinion, diligence is not about being busy alone. It’s more about being productive; and that to the point of delivering results and making good profit.

Moreover, diligence goes way beyond physical labour or hard work. In other words, diligence is hard work plus something more important.

It’s in fact, more about smart work, which engages our intellectual capabilities.

As stated in A New Way of Working-Insights from Global Leaders

…to keep up, we work hard. But to win we must work smarter!

While hard work helps us to just cope and survive, smart work is what pushes us beyond the survival mode and helps us deliver results.

Smart work is wbat attracts tangible reward!

Not Enough Guarantee …

Back to our case study, when Jacob realized that all odds were against him in his career, being constantly defrauded by his mean, wicked and controversial boss Laban, he realized that he’d have to do more than work hard, else he stood the chance of retiring poor!

It dawned on him that he had to really engage his mind and look beyond the limited constraints of his role profile, else he stood the chance of retiring with practically nothing to show for twenty years of hard labour!

Really, if manual labour or ‘busyness’ had been sufficient, his full reward and success should have been guaranteed; and he wouldn’t have had to do anything extra to secure his gratuity.

Unfortunately, in his peculiar instance, reversed was the case!

And that speaks volumes!

Hard work in terms of physical labour alone is not enough guarantee for success!

In Need of Something More…

Surely, Jacob needed something beyond manual labour to secure his reward which was locked up by his boss.


Shortly put, he needed to engage his mind and really think to outsmart the gimmicks of Laban!

Moreover, he realized he needed to do something beyond the dictates of his role profile, and possibly beyond the confines of his normal work hours. He surely needed to do something EXTRA.

For him, diligence, in other words, smart work was the answer.

Diligence was expressed in Jacob’s life in two ways:

1) He thought outside-the-box:

Jacob had to think beyond the obvious confines and limitations of his harsh work circumstances to outsmart his shrewd boss in his gimmicks!

2) He did something EXTRA:

After thinking deep, Jacob had to work out his plan.

Gen.30: 37-41 (KJV) And Jacob took him rods … and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear …and the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted…And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

This couldn’t have come easy. It must have involved lots of sacrifice. He obviously must have worked extra hours and beyond the boundaries of his role profile to secure for himself a desired future which his compensation package couldn’t guarantee.

Making stripes in rods and setting them before the flock was way outside the scope of his role profile!

And surely, it must have cost more than the normal work hours which he spent religiously on tending Laban’s flock.

Gen. 30:36 … and …Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

This combination of hard work and smart work is the definition of diligence, which not only guaranteed Jacob’s full reward but also left him richer than his shrewd boss!

Next, we’ll look at another success factor, Innovation.



Please set my mind free from being overly charged, engaged or obsessed with the difficulties of this present time.

Let me rather be empowered to look beyond today’s limitations and inspired to focus on finding a way forward in the midst of it all. Amen.

Funmi Adebayo (c) 2013

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