Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

Are You Working Smart?

October 20, 2019

by Robert Stevenson

Rubbermaid “thought” they needed more products to be the leader in their industry. So, they set out to invent a new product every day for several years, while also entering a new product category every 12-18 months. Fortune magazine wrote that Rubbermaid was more innovative than 3M, Intel and Apple; now that is impressive.

Then Rubbermaid started choking on over 1,000 new products in less than 36 months. Innovation became more important than controlling costs, filling orders on time, or customer service. They ended up closing 9 plants and laid-off over 1,100 employees before Newell Corporation came in to buy (rescue) the company.

I had a mentor who once told me, “Rob, I don’t care how hard you work … I care how smart you work.” Rubbermaid was working hard, putting in time, money, and effort while at the same time destroying their own company. How was that working for them?

Eli Lilly “thought” they needed to hire 2,000 Ph D researchers to create more products to keep Wallstreet happy with their growth. The only problem was they didn’t have the funds to hire them. So, they had to come up with another way to solve this problem … in other words, they had to work smarter.

They decided to take all their molecular problems and post them on the internet and tell all molecular PhD researchers that they would PAY for solutions. Instead of having to pay the salaries and benefits for 2,000 new researchers with money they didn’t have, they now have thousands upon thousands of researchers all over the world sending in their suggestions for solutions to their molecular problems and they only have to pay for the ones they use. Now, that is SMART!

Do you see any opportunities in these statistics?

  • 66% would take a lower-paying job if they had more work flexibility
  • 62% of employees believe they could fulfill their job duties at a remote location
  • 60% of employees believe they don’t need to be in the office to be productive and efficient

Could you lower fixed overhead and expenses by having some of your people operating from home? Some managers out there will immediately say, “That won’t work; you won’t have control of your employees. They won’t get things done.” If that is your argument, my statement to you is, “You have hired the wrong people.”

Jet Blue has hundreds of reservation agents operating from their own home. Their home-based agents save, on average, up to $4,000 on their commuting expenses, not counting the cost savings of eating out for lunch, daycare, and wardrobe. Jet Blue found they had a 25% increase in productivity once employees were allowed to work from home; they figured out a different, more productive, less expensive, more profitable … SMARTER way to operate.

To survive in this competitive marketplace you must change, adapt, modify, challenge, innovate, transform, revise, and improve, but what’s paramount to your success is to be working SMART!

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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