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Leadership Skills — Balancing Efficiency and Effectiveness

Leading an organization, department, or team is a balancing act. You need to ensure things are getting done while monitoring team health. You need to meet deadlines and stay on budget. To accomplish this delicate balance, leaders often focus on being extraordinarily effective or efficient.

Efficiency is all about measuring and then refining and then refining some more. It’s all about the inputs. I can look at a map and find the most efficient route to get from A to B and drive 68 miles an hour with precision.

Effectiveness is all about what we want to accomplish. It’s all about the results. Driving in the wrong direction with precision isn’t much help.

Most of the time, I lean toward effectiveness. One of my favorite sayings is "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." While I love efficiency, I believe what’s most efficient at the moment is rarely the most effective over the long term. Taking the extra time to make something better creates opportunities to have recyclable content, less maintenance, and greater impact.

This is why Get Smart Stuff Done (GSSD) is one of our Core Values. I don’t want my team members to call something done for the sake of moving forward. GSSD encourages us to be mindful of each decision and try to make the best choice for the long-term impact on the organization.

Every organization has parts of its business that should be focused on efficiency and other parts that should be focused on effectiveness. My experience suggests understanding which parts of the business need to focus on effectiveness and which parts need to focus on efficiency increases organizational productivity, health, and resiliency.

I want my departments to be crystal clear on what should be more important for their goals — efficiency or effectiveness. With objectives in mind, we can form agreements and commit to efficiency or effectiveness.

Being transparent about goals is essential. I’ve seen too many efficiency-oriented leaders smother or overpower effective-oriented leaders. With your Vision, goals, or Rocks setting the tone for an efficient or effective approach and transparency for your agreements, your organization will have a more trusting atmosphere.

Ninety Can Help You Increase Your Effectiveness and Efficiency

Our platform helps leaders build great organizations: organizations that have compelling Visions, are great goal-scoring machines, run better meetings, stay accountable, measure performance, and so much more. If you’re new around here, start a free trial today.

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