Efficiency versus Effectiveness

By Wendy Hearn

What is your level of effectiveness? What difference would it make to your life and work if this level were raised? One of the first steps to achieve this is to understand what effectiveness really means. Many people confuse effectiveness with efficiency. They strive to become more efficient, but their effectiveness doesn't always improve. Sometimes, the price of greater efficiency is less effectiveness.

Defining Effectiveness

Being effective means producing powerful effects. Being efficient means producing results with little wasted effort. It is the ability to carry out actions quickly. However, by so doing, you may not be achieving effectiveness. Effectiveness involves achieving your worthwhile goals that support your vision and mission.

For instance, you may be very efficient at working through and completing your to-do list. However, when you shift your focus to being effective, you may choose to delegate part of your list, stop doing some of it, and focus on one or two things that enable you to achieve your goals. Perhaps you're efficient at sending follow up letters to potential clients, but being effective may mean only following up more comprehensively on certain key ones.

Where does your time go?

When your intention shifts to being more effective, you can achieve your worthwhile goals in much less time. You choose the things that improve your effectiveness instead of doing more and more to achieve a sense of efficiency.

Effectiveness comes from taking the time to stop and evaluate, rather than running faster and faster. Discovering for yourself what effectiveness means, and what it will take for you to achieve this, is one of the objectives of coaches when working with individuals or organizations. When I'm working with clients, we often focus on their effectiveness. Our weekly telephone coaching session provides the opportunity to stop, look at where they are and where they want to be.

I believe that effectiveness is enhanced when you take time to re-evaluate. I'm also a great believer in taking this time at regular intervals during your day. So many people set out to work harder and harder, without really looking to see if they're being effective. I've found that what works best for me is to work for 15 minutes slots with breaks of a few minutes in between.

I strongly believe that if more people worked this way, companies would be much stronger and more effective. For instance, lets say you're working on a proposal. You work on it for 15 minutes and then put it aside for the next few minutes. You can use this break to stretch your legs, step outside for fresh air, enjoy a period of quiet reflection, or clear thoughts from your mind. You choose what would be most beneficial.

When you return to your proposal for the next 15 minutes, you'll probably find that something occurs to you which you had forgotten, or you didn't see as being important. You may find you now have a different perspective on it or you now have a solution to something you were stuck on. It's increased your effectiveness. When you only have 15 minutes, you'll work more effectively to achieve more within this artificial deadline.

Work smarter, not harder. You'll become far more effective in achieving your goals and vision.

Wendy Hearn Coach, works with business owners, professionals and executives to discover and unlock their own inspiration, to effortlessly take the actions required to have the success they desire. To receive Wendy's free newsletter, send an email to: newsletter@wendyhearn.par32.com

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