"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."
Mark Twain

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 397

Estimated reading time:   3:10




Good morning from another soggy day in Vancouver; the cherry blossoms are looking rather limp today. 


In my coaching and teaching practices I’ve been reflecting on the words, efficient and effective. In may Dad’s day (back in the paleozoic era) business decisions used both factors; what was most effective, and what was most efficient. Over time, the two became conflated with efficiency apparently resulting in effectiveness. 


Take decision making for example. The most efficient way to make a decision is to have the one person make the decision and the many people then carry it out. In emergency situations, like there is a fire in the building and we all must leave, it makes no sense to open the decision up for discussion; as a leader I am after only your compliance. In such situations efficiency may well be more effective. However, where commitment (buy in) is much more important, efficiency can become the antithesis of effectiveness. For example in a decision about what our corporate values are, what we want the team culture to be, or what the parameters of a project will be, it makes much less sense to be simply efficient in that decision making. We need to invest the time to have a more inclusive and therefore effective decision making process. 


Ask yourself two questions; on a scale of 1 - 10 how important is the team’s commitment? and on a scale of 1 - 10 how much time do we have to make the decision.  The higher the two numbers are, the more likely you need to invest that time to make sure you are being more effective. If the time question is answered with a low number, and the commitment question is answered with a high number, “there be monsters.” The need to efficiency will prove ineffective. Can you find the time to make it more effective a process? And where the answer to the time question is a high number and the commitment question is a low number, be efficient and make the decision, don’t bring people in to the process for show.


And so may all your decisions in the coming weeks not only be efficient but effective too.