Choose Effectiveness Over Efficiency

Photo: Nick Fewings

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” 

– Peter Drucker, management guru

In November, I posted an article about why you can focus better when you are aligned with your purpose. Today’s article is related, diving into the difference between effectiveness and efficiency.

Your level of effectiveness depends largely on how inspired you are. If you are already clear about your higher purpose, you have inspiration to draw from. Also, if the leader of your team or organization is inspiring, the road to effectiveness is clear.

When we are able to focus, we are also effective.

Effective vs. Efficient
Are you a human being or a human doing? In today’s fast-paced world of immediate response and digital noise, we may find ourselves acting more like machines or “human doings”.
How do you wish to be as a human being, effective or efficient? You may answer that you would like to be both but I challenge you to consider putting more energy into effectiveness.
Why? Effective is a quality of being and often relates to people. (Of course a COVID vaccine can also be effective, something we are all hoping for these days.)
As leaders, we manage things as well as people. This is where the nuance arises. We strive to manage things efficiently but it is important to manage or lead people effectively. This is because,

“People, like nails, lose their effectiveness when they lose direction and begin to bend.”

-Walter Savage Landor, British poet

Effective means producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect. An effect is impressive or striking. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Effective is the ability to be successful and produce the intended results; the quality of being successful in achieving what is wanted. (Cambridge Dictionary)

Efficient means being capable of producing desired results with little or no waste, in terms of time or materials. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Efficient means working or operating quickly and in an organized way; using resources such as time, materials, or energy well without wasting any. (Cambridge Dictionary)

Inspiration and Effectiveness

In his book, The Spark, the Flame and the Torch, Dr. Lance Secretan teaches us that inspiration is the source of exceptional effectiveness. He defines effective as,

“Achieving desired outcomes successfully – to reach the goals we have set for ourselves, whether on the spiritual, mental or physical levels.”

When we are inspired, being effective requires almost no effort. When we are inspired, we operate in a state of flow which happens to be a state of extreme focus.

In summary, know your purpose, be inspired and inspiring to others. Effectiveness will naturally result, without sacrificing wellbeing.