Jun 7 / Barry Luijbregts

Be effective, not (only) efficient

Just a little post on something other than technology for a change.
Time and time again, I hear customers wanting to be more efficient, things like “We need to make this process more efficient” and “we need this application so that support can work more efficiently” are not uncommon.
The focus should not be on being more efficient, but on being more effective. You may ask what the difference is?
  • Being efficient means doing something as well as it can be done with as little effort (time and resource) as possible. For instance, running somewhere with perfect form, arriving at your destination very fast and without being super tired.
  • Being effective means doing the right thing, for now and the future, and doing it as efficient as you can. For instance, you would think about where you need to run to before you start running, making sure that you don’t end up somewhere you don’t need to be.
In many organizations, we often run very fast towards a goal, sometimes towards the wrong objectives. In doing so, we find ourselves off the path we should be on.
We should strive to be effective during the day, this means differentiating between working on things that matter and add value and those tasks that are urgent yet unimportant to your end goal. I believe we all need to have this in the back of our minds when doing anything, especially at work.
I challenge you to try to think about how you can be effective in your work before you start your workday and ask yourself if you have been effective when the day is over.
If you don’t know what you are working towards, this would be a great conversation to have with your colleagues and manager.
Be effective, not efficient. Just a thought…
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