Efficiency, what you want, what it is and what it does


When you ask people what they expect regarding efficiency, they mention things such as:

  • Time management
  • Prioritizing
  • Dealing with urgent tasks and deadlines
  • Following up on tasks
  • Managing Stress
  • Dealing with interruptions and maintaining focus
  • Diversification of skills
  • Negotiation and finding win-win solutions

Time and stress management related topics make sense in that context. People also say they want to maintaining relationships. Being efficient also means working together in a satisfying atmosphere. On the other hand, this also saying: “no.”

Definition of Efficiency

Efficiency is doing things in the most economical way, that is to  say with the best input to output ratio.

Efficient means that you use the available resources to the best of their/your capacity. You do no waste resources on things that do not help in reaching the goal.

The goal, whatever it is, should be measurable and agreed.

We all learned about SMART goals:

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Agreed and Achievable,
  • Relevant and Realistic,
  • Time bound

Once you have reached the goal, you can say that you have been efficacious.

Therefore, Efficiency is about using your resources well, whereas efficacy is about getting the job done.

In modern organizations, if you want efficacy (people can measure how much you achieve), you need to be efficient.

But then, efficacy is not about having jobs well done but hanging up in he air. All of the above needs to take you in a meaningful direction, towards a meaningful goal. Reaching that goal is being effective.

To summarize:

  • When you are effective, you contribute to achieving a meaningful strategy. This is about making a difference out there.
  • To be effective, you need to complete missions that contribute to the strategy. This is about efficacy.
  • To be efficacious, you need to use your ressources in the best possible ways. This is about being efficient.

Efficiency is at the core, and without it, nothing happens the way it should and things become meaningless.

Au sujet de l'auteur

Stephane Baillie Gee

Stephane Baillie-Gee is a senior consultant. He works on advanced management and leadership in the scope of organizations of the future. He also helps bridging the communication gap between Western and Chinese cultures and organizations.

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