I have a background in Engineering. Something I’ve observed with my ilk is we’re often lazy. I don’t mean we don’t work hard. I mean we look for the most efficient way to get things done. How to use the least resources, be it time, money or people.

But over 20 years running our consultancy working with business leaders, I’ve realized that efficiency without an eye to effectiveness is only half the equation.

Let me explain.

Effectiveness is doing the right thing at the right time to get a successful result. Efficiency is doing as fast as possible using the least resources.

They are not the same thing!

You can have a very efficient process which doesn’t lead to anything useful – wasting time and effort.

So you need to marry the two, starting with what outcome you’re looking for.

Then determining the most effective steps to get there. Be as granular as possible.

Only then looking at how to be more efficient executing each step. Looking for bottlenecks etc.

Do it the other way and you risk wasting a lot of time optimizing steps that don’t positively move the needle towards your outcome.

As the quadrant shows, your goal is to be in the top right corner – as Effective and Efficient as possible.

Here’s an example that illustrates the point:

A few years ago, the UK ambulance service decided to improve efficiency by taking heart attack patients to the nearest hospital in the belief that time was of the essence.

Imagine their surprise when after a year they realized significantly more patients were dying.

The reason? Taking someone to the nearest hospital versus one which specialized in heart trauma led to bad outcomes. It was more effective to spend more time driving to a further hospital where they got specialized care.

Wrapping up – How does your business stack up?

Do you have a process for evaluating your efficiency/effectiveness ratio? Do you review where you could improve and if so, how often?

It’s coming up to the quiet time for many of us – so now’s a great time to stop, take stock and look for improvements that will see you be more successful in 2023.

As such we’re offering Focus & Strategy sessions where we work with you to take a helicopter view of your issues. What you’re facing and where you want to get to.

You can contact me on +61 414 913 334 for more information

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