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Speed Kills!

by David Brock on June 16th, 2016
race car

No, I haven’t become the spokesperson for the National Highway Safety Commission, I’ve had more than my fair share of speeding tickets (and actually far fewer than I deserve.)

I just read a horrible piece of advice from a “guru.”  The advice was, “Efficiency Drives Effectiveness!”

How wrong can a supposed expert be?

Efficiency is all about speed, getting more done in less time.  We have to be concerned about efficiency, but only if we are doing the right things in the right way with the right people at the right time!

Executing bad selling skills very efficiently produces garbage really quickly.  It wastes our time, wasted the time of the people subjected to these efforts, destroys our credibility and brand reputation.

Doing something poorly, but doing it faster has nothing to do with our effectiveness except to destroy it.

As we become increasingly time poor, too much advice and too many tools focus on efficiency and velocity.

We have learned we have to respond to inquiries within seconds or minutes.  We can make more calls faster than we’ve ever done before.  We can send more email messages, faster–and we can recycle them forever.  We can leverage social channels to more quickly get our messages out to more people.

The time we save by being efficient in what we do enables us to crank up the volume of what we do.  Together, this high velocity and high volume approach overwhelms our customers (and us).  Our email boxes are overflowing, our voicemails (if we have it) are overflowing, the phone doesn’t stop ringing—all because we are focusing on efficiency.

Yet all the data shows results declining.  Quota performance, customer engagement, customer experience, customer loyalty should be improving if the answer is increasing efficiency, increased speed, increased volume.  But it isn’t!

Something must be missing or horribly wrong.

What we’ve missed in the quest for velocity and volume is whether we are doing the right things in the right way with the right people at the right time.

We’ve missed a critical element of high performance—effectiveness.

Effectiveness focuses us on having an impact, producing the right outcomes.  It doesn’t make sense to focus on efficiency or speed until we know we can produce the right results.  It’s only after we’ve become effective that efficiency makes sense.  Once we have learned how to engage our customers in effective, relevant, impactful conversations producing outcomes of value to both of us, then focusing on how we can do more in the same amount time makes sense.

A friend who shares my passion for high performance cars and fast driving went to a 3 day “Performance Driving” class.  He wanted the opportunity to drive hot cars very fast.  Not surprisingly, these instructors who have mastered speed spent the first couple of days going slowly.  They focused on the basics of car handling–braking, shifting, steering, accelerating, choosing the right line through a curve, handlng skids and other things critical to their performance on the track.  These were all done at low speeds.  It was only on the third day, after they had mastered doing things right—being effective—that they started going for speed.

Top performance is a combination of effectiveness and efficiency.  But we have to get the order right.  Effectiveness always precedes efficiency!

Focus first on mastering those things that produce results.  Learn how to do the right things in the right way, with the right people, at the right time.  Then look at how you do more in the same amount of time.

Anything else is wasted effort (which, ironically, is terribly inefficient).

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