Top Insights from Morten Hansen



Working smart requires answering some tough questions in your job: what are the key activities that I can undertake that maximize value? What does “value” mean in my job? What must I say “no” to in order to do this? And what does it mean to go all in and do exceptional work in my job?

It’s important that we shift from a volume-focused mindset to a value-focused mindset. Some examples of this:

  • Medical Doctor shifting from # of patients seen to % of accurate diagnosis.
  • Lawyer shifting from # of billable hours to % of legal problems solved.
  • Teachers shifting from # of classes taught to % students learned.
  • Sales people shifting from # calls, # of units sold to usefulness to the customer.


Do less and then obsess is one of seven practices that Hansen says are the keys to working smarter and becoming a top performer. These practices were identified through a five-year research project that included studying 5,000 managers and employees.

The research shows that having the self-discipline to stick with doing exceptional work on a handful of priorities will give us the single greatest boost to our performance.


Leaders and managers are inundated with tasks that aren’t necessarily the most important things. In order to improve effectiveness and productivity as a leader, we want to be mindful of the clutter and consider removing or significantly reducing the following items:

  • number of meetings & pre-meetings
  • number of task forces
  • number of metrics
  • number of product features
  • number of objectives per job
  • number of priorities per job
  • number of emails
  • number of sign-offs required
  • number of decision makers needed
  • number of options being pursued


Finding passion at work isn’t just about following your bliss. Hansen shared that passion wasn’t limited to certain types of jobs. For some, finding joy meant savouring relationships with colleagues or customers.

What is the one thing that I must do less of in order to focus on the thing that matters?

The important thing to remember is to marry your passion with a sense of purpose. Purpose is to do something that contributes to others or what you can give to the world. Focused energy comes at the intersection of passion and purpose when they are blended.

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