If you’re five years old and you spend a few hours hand-making a Christmas present for your mom, she’ll appreciate it simply due to the effort that you put into it. The same can be true when it comes to fitness, where your effort directly affects your outcome. When it comes to business, though, effort is essentially meaningless when converted to value.
When your company is hired to do some work, your client is paying for the results, not the effort. If you can produce high levels of value in a short period of time, you’re likely to be quite successful. Conversely, if it takes you a long time to generate value worth paying for, your effective hourly rate may not be high enough to live on.
Adam Grant summed this up well in a recent Tweet, as this applies to schools as well:
I’m seeing a growing number of students complain: “My grade doesn’t reflect the effort I put into the course.” Public service announcement: You don’t get an A for effort. You earn it for excellence. Success is measured by the level of mastery you show, not how hard you work.
For most businesses, the length of time that something takes to complete is likely factored into the price to a degree. If that number doesn’t match the value that you ultimately provide in the end, the amount of effort doesn’t matter.