Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
Increase your success by be being less efficient. Yes, less efficient!
That is certainly a bold statement. How can you possibly improve the success in your business by being less efficient?
Let’s examine what efficiency really is. Generally speaking, efficiency describes to what extent time, effort or cost is expended for a specific task.
Most people confuse the terms efficient and effective. Efficiency is a measurable concept, a ratio determined by the amount of effort expended divided by the amount of reward returned. Effectiveness, on the other hand, is a nebulous, non-specific concept, concerned almost exclusively with reaching pre-set goals that has less emphasis on what it actually takes to achieve those goals.
The concept of efficiency versus effectiveness is interesting, mainly because they both focus on the singular aspect of achieving goals, but through diametrically opposed ideals.
The simplest way to determine the difference between the two is to remember: To be efficient you must do things right, but to be effective you must do the right things.
Another confusing aspect to this subject is while most would assume effectiveness and efficiency are twin concepts that work together to successfully reach a common goal, the exact opposite is often true.
In fact, effectiveness and efficiency work against each other in regard to achieving a singular goal.
One of the big problems with today’s world is that we are all on the treadmill of efficiency. We’re constantly striving to find new and better methods to achieve the same goals with less effort, expense and time.
Technology has helped us all tremendously in this endeavor. Nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives is often more efficient than it was just a few years ago. Most of our correspondence is by email or other electronic means — far more efficient than a stamp and envelope. There is no excuse for missed phone calls these days. There is no reason to ever miss an important televised event or your favorite TV shows. Standing in line at the gas station waiting to pay? Not anymore! Just use your card at the pump, and get back on the road quickly! Making a full dinner for your family from scratch? Never! Everything is available pre-packaged, so you can just heat and eat. Drive all over town or mail out payments for utility bills? Nah, just a few clicks on the ol’ mouse and you can pay every bill electronically from your home. How about suffering the madhouse-level of craziness when Christmas shopping? Again, just do it from home at your convenience, and it will all come right to your door.
These are excellent examples of today’s increased level of efficiency in action. But, are all those modern, efficient methods actually more effective than the old ways? In most cases, I will say, no.