Though often used interchangeably, efficiency and effectiveness are two different sides of accomplishing your goals. It’s vital to understand the difference and how these two sides play together to ensure you’re doing your best work and achieving your goals.
Let’s start with some definitions.
Efficiency is getting something done with the least amount of time, money, and effort during the process. Think of it as the HOW. How you work – your process, the tools you use, the amount of time and energy utilized.
Effectiveness is the degree to which something is successful in achieving a desired result. Think of it as the WHAT. What gets accomplished – the number of tasks, the gain over the current state, the gap (if any) between what you set out to accomplish and where you landed.
Without one or the other, you and your team will be spinning your wheels and creating a burnout environment. Shortcomings in efficiency will lead to misuse of time and energy, feelings of overwhelm, and frustration with the process. If we don’t keep our eye on effectiveness, we run the risk of landing far off the mark of our goals, leaving a feeling of not accomplishing anything.
How do you ensure you’re honoring both sides?
Intentionally addressing efficiency and effectiveness with three checkpoints.
Identify and leverage natural work styles
How are you working? How is your team collaborating? Is it in alignment with natural work and communication styles? Identifying work styles allows you to leverage them toward achieving goals in the most efficient manner possible, reducing friction and increasing ease.
Ensure you have the appropriate tools to carry out the work
Are your tools primed and optimized to achieve your goals? Is it time to upgrade or streamline? What about your strategy roadmap? Is it clear enough that you understand exactly where you need to go? Clarity on the goal and having the right systems in place will keep you on track to land at your desired goal.
Consistently evaluate the people, processes, and technology for possible improvements
Review your workflows regularly to course-correct. This will keep your efficiency and effectiveness in alignment well beyond the initial project work. This blog post can help guide you.