In our every day rush of trying to get things done (play on words is not intentional), we seek to constantly improve our efficiency.
We look for all sorts of time saving devices. Whether it’s the latest gadget, new time management approaches, the latest in tools to automate much of what we do, we seem focused on efficiently done.
In the rush to efficiency, we sometimes forget effectiveness.
A bad thing efficiently executed is still a bad thing. We’ve just inflicted it on the recipient much faster, and have the potential to re-inflict it just as easily.
So all our efforts in being ruthlessly efficient, are meaningless unless we are being ruthlessly efficient in the execution of the most effective and impactful processes or activities we undertake.
But we overlook effectiveness too often. Probably because effectiveness is tough stuff. Being efficient is ever so much easier.
Effectiveness means we have to understand, deeply, what we are trying to achieve (we have to know what we are trying to achieve in the first place). It means we have to understand what activities or thing have the most impact in helping us achieve those goals.
To be effective, we have to understand what really works best and why. We have to be fully conscious in being effective–not on autopilot–as we might be when we are efficient. We have to constantly study–understand what drives the customer, how we connect with them in the most impactful way, how we collaborate in constructing value–helping them achieve their goals.
Maximizing our effectiveness is difficult when we are pressed and busy. We are tempted to take the short cuts. We don’t invest the time in research, planning, we don’t take time to think and analyze. We don’t take time to listen and engage.
Maximizing our effectiveness, means we and our customers have to sometimes take the time to Sit With The Problem. This is uncomfortable, particularly for sales people, because we are conditioned to take action. But being effective trains us to determine and execute the right actions.
Effectiveness means we must constantly be paying attention. But busyness fights that–it takes too much time to pay attention.
Once we have mastered effectiveness, then we look at doing it in as little time as possible. We might leverage tools and techniques to support us. We can look at how we might systematize those practices that make us most effective.
Effectiveness and efficiency are a powerful combination–but in that order.