How to Use Effectiveness and Efficiency to Maximize Productivity
Both terms are adjectives used to describe how work is done. We will describe below how to incorporate effectiveness and efficiency to maximize productivity at work.
It is relatively easy to mistake one for the other, or use them interchangeably (a lot of people do!). However, these terms are anything but similar – in fact, they each carry completely different meanings.
Effectiveness is all about doing the right things; it is result oriented. Effectiveness is correctly applied when a worker or company’s objectives are in line with their main goals, and indirectly their purpose.
You find ways to improve outcomes when you are effective. For example, if your goal is to increase awareness and sales of a particular product to reach a particular target, you should engage in tasks or activities that will help move you closer to your goals (eg. marketing and ads, in this scenario) , and not waste time on irrelevant tasks that do not serve your goals. This makes you effective.
Efficiency, however, is more about doing things right; this aspect is task oriented. It is using better ways to get something done well in the shortest amount of time possible. Here you utilize the least amount of resources and/or costs. An example of efficiency would be using a computerized system. You would get things done accurately in a shorter span of time. You would replace reliance on manual methods to do the same thing. Because manual methods are susceptible to human error and requires more time.
Either one can exist without the other; one can be effective but not efficient, and vice versa. It is entirely possible for one to be effective in achieving their goals, while being inefficient in the way they do it. It is also entirely possible to be none of both at all.
Effectiveness and Efficiency to Maximize Productivity
In fact, there are four possibilities:
- Effective and Efficient
- Effective and Inefficient
- Ineffective and Efficient
- Ineffective and Inefficient
You should note however that true, optimal productivity is a combination of both efficiency and effectiveness (Number 1) – the Holy Grail for every individual worker or organization.
It is not possible for an organization or person to reach peak productivity levels, if they are lacking in either efficiency or effectiveness (Number 2, 3 and 4). If anything, they’re setting themselves up for either mediocrity or inevitable failure.
Effectiveness > Efficiency
In terms of order of importance, prioritize effectiveness over efficiency in all your considerations about productivity.
This however does not mean that you should disregard the importance of efficiency altogether – again, as mentioned earlier, productivity is a balanced combination of both.
Effectiveness involves the big picture. Putting effectiveness first just means that you should first and foremost focus on doing the right things in order to improve your chances of getting a good outcome.
Once you get yourself on track and laid out the basics, you can then look into how you can improve the way you do things. The logic here is to concentrate on being efficient at the tasks which are significant and are effective in contributing to your goals. There’s no point in particularly efficient when the tasks you carry out do not contribute to your purpose and goals.
To sum things up : efficiency is a modifier for effectiveness, not a substitute.
Efficiency is meaningless on its own.
The problem with most people is that they tend to gravitate towards efficiency, rather than effectiveness. It is perfectly understandable – being efficient is a whole lot easier than being effective. Being efficient involves improvements on a smaller, more manageable scale; effectiveness however requires a whole lot of brainstorming about one’s goals, values and different approaches, on a larger scale. And that is intimidating.
Not only that, people who put efficiency before effectiveness have this tendency of looking for better and perfect ways of doing things, and head nowhere instead – which ironically, leads to ineffectiveness.
So how does one increase their effectiveness?
Put some time aside to evaluate these few things:
Clarify the What– focusing on the results you want to achieve and defining the picture of success.
Clarify and pursue key strategies that will give you the highest possibility for success.
Now that you’ve established your plan of action, you can focus on how to increase your efficiency. This would mean concentrating on the How’s – implementation of your strategies in the most efficient way possible, and improving how you do things as you go along.
In the coming articles, we will look into further detail on effectiveness and efficiency to maximize productivity. Also we will offer many other helpful tips that will elevate your productivity to optimum levels.