Easy work is rarely meaningful. But it’s attractive because we feel productive. It’s not very challenging, not risky, but needs to get done.
Hard work isn’t necessarily any more important. But it’s hard because it requires more effort, either physically, mentally or both.
Both easy and hard work have predictable outcomes. Pull the lever and this will happen. Pull it more and more will happen. Most management is predictable work.
Unpredictable work is the most challenging. It’s the work we do when we ask “what if”. It’s the work which might make us look like a fraud. But it’s also the work necessary for meaningful change to occur. Leadership is highly unpredictable because it might not work. But it’s vital to changing things for the better.
Predictable work, whether easy or hard, is abundant. And on average so is the supply of workers to do it. It’s the commodity of labor…bound by low price and acceptable outcomes. On the other hand, the unpredictable work of leadership is scarce. Not because it’s hard, but because it’s based on choices with significant risk…which might just lead to something remarkable. And that’s worth a lot.