When I learnt the difference between being effective and being efficient, it really opened my eyes. I learnt the difference at a work training workshop but soon realised that everyone can benefit from knowing what the difference is and how to apply it.
For those who don’t know how to define the two words, this is how it was defined to me.
When a lumberjack is chopping down a tree:
Being efficient means to chop it down as quickly as possible.
Being effective means to be sure to chop the right tree.
So it is important to be both efficient and effective but the order is also important. You must exercise being effective before being efficient as there is no point realising you’re chopping down the wrong tree after you’ve done it. So Effectiveness before efficiency is the key.
Ways to be Effective
There are many things you can to do make sure you are as effective as you can be. This can include asking questions before starting a task like, Why do we do this? When does it need to be done? Is there a better/simpler way to do it? Who benefits from doing this? Would anyone miss it if we didn’t do this? This is an example of the types of questions we can ask to make sure we are as effective as possible
Ways to be efficient
Efficiency is not always about how quickly we can get something done, it can also be about, cutting out bureaucracy, being organised and seek training to do something.
It is safe to say, efficiency is very much focused on the individual tasks of the person, team or organisation, where as effectiveness is more focused on the overall performance of the person, team or organisation.