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Being Effective and/or Efficient


Working effectively and efficiently is usually the goal. Many people, confuse the two and think that working effectively is the goal while others think working efficiently is the goal. I see a differentiation in the two and also that the two need to overlap.

Effective means that doing the right work will be done to be assured that the right project will be completed with the desired outcome; that all applicable benefits are taken advantage of and that compliance, safety, and planning opportunities are not overlooked; and that the project can be completed on schedule.

Efficient means that the right methods and processes are followed to get the job at hand completed in the best possible way and on a timely basis. I might add that there would be no excessive work, handling or touches, and that all the work done is necessary and adds value to the process and customer or client; that the work was properly planned in advance with the right personnel with staff assignments coordinated and that everyone is properly trained to work on that project.

There are many instances where effective or efficient would include the other, but not in every situation. For example, during the Revolutionary War the British probably were very efficient in every step, maneuver and action they took, but they were not effective in containing General Washington’s forces with their goal of winning every battle. Washington, on the other hand, was probably very inefficient in the use of the men he had but he was very effective in achieving his goal which was not losing to the British. BTW, the two sides had different goals.

Another way to look at this is that efficiently refers to doing what you are doing in the best way; without considering if the right thing is being done. Effectively means that the right thing is always being done, and always in the best way. Being effective is a function of leadership while efficiency is a function of management.

This is a cloudy area but the bottom line is that the right things need to be done the right way at the right time. Try being effective and efficient at all times.

If you have a different take on this, please let me know. Thanks, Ed

Do not hesitate to contact me with any business or financial questions at emendlowitz@withum.com or fill out the form below.

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