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This was originally posted on our blog about a year ago. I am generally not a fan of recycling posts, but as you know, repetition is the key to learning and some issues are worth addressing again. I recently attended a class and an area of contention was the differences and importance of efficiency and effectiveness. So, in response to that discussion, here I address and discuss the differences. Enjoy.
Many of us have said something like, “I am an efficient and effective leader, capable of leading teams to extraordinary achievements…” For some, these are just buzzwords used in an attempt to sound intelligent but often come across as, well, something else. For others, these “buzzwords” are true definitions of who they are and how they lead, but they cannot explain what it truly means. What does it mean to be an efficient leader? What does it mean to be an effective leader?
Efficiency and effectiveness are often used synonymously but are in reality a bit different. Efficiency can be attributed to the time or rate which something is accomplished, whereas, effectiveness is the accuracy or quality of the accomplishment. Which is more important?
(Added content to increase understanding). If you were planning to climb a mountain within 7 days, you would find the right people to guide the way, pack the right equipment, ensure your team were physical fit, and plan your path to the top. You then set out on your journey and make it to the top in 5 days – that is 2 days ahead of schedule! This is efficiency. However, you realize you climbed the wrong mountain! Climbing the right mountain is effectiveness.
Here is an example to illustrate the difference between the two.
It is appraisal time, you have 8 team members to evaluate, and you only have 8 hours to do them all, among your other tasks. So, you spend an hour developing a quality appraisal and you copy and paste your information into each of the remaining 7 appraisals. You are able to deliver all 8 appraisals, including your face-to-face discussions, in less than 5 hours. Each team member receives an appraisal, and you have 3 extra hours to do what you want. This is efficiency.
Alternatively, you spend more time developing an honest appraisal for each team member and deliver the face-to-face discussion, all in 8 hours. You conduct your appraisals in this way as each team member performed a different function, had different goals and tasks, and performed to a higher or lesser degree of quality. Each team member understands his or her successes and areas to improve for next year, thus, a more accurate assessment. This is effectiveness.
Which appraisal method is better? Is it more important to be efficient or effective in this case? In reality, as the leader, you should be constantly evaluating your team and the final appraisal should be a relatively easy wrap-up, but that is a topic for another day.
A leader that accomplishes a task quickly is efficient. A leader that accomplishes a task accurately is effective. A leader that can do both is efficient and effective. Are you an efficient and effective leader, capable of leading teams to extraordinary achievements?
Next week I will add to this discussion by addressing expectations and quality as they affect what is perceived as efficient and effective.
Until next time.
The mountain climbing example was originally used here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140730001606-37049081-effective-vs-efficient
Last week I wrote about what a (business or life) coach is. This post is dedicated to why everyone needs a coach and what they can do for you. Professional athletes, who get paid millions of dollars to play a sport professionally, all have coaches. The coach serves as the person from the side-lines, observing the individual and team’s actions, and providing correction action, suggestion, and direction. In the same way, a professional (business or life) coach is there to help see what you cannot, for a number of reasons, provide suggestions, direction, and potential corrective action. The question is, do I really need a coach?
This can be challenging for several reasons:
A coach is there to see what you cannot. You may be too close to the situation to have an unbiased position, they are able to see things from a different perspective and provide insight otherwise left unseen, or may simply be better at something than you are and can help solve an issue by asking the right questions, providing new insight, or giving you a little nudge in the right direction.
Reasons why you may consider hiring a coach:
Number 3 (above) could be done in a number of ways – hiring a consultant to help resolve your issue, bringing on a new team member to fill a void, training for yourself or your team, etc. There are a several ways to accomplish your goal, a coach is another method (depending on what it is).
What to look for in a coach. Look for someone who:
Number 5 is a little tricky. There are some coaches out there that charge flat rates, per hour, or per project. If it is a project based fee, then this is really a consultant as they should be providing something tangible like a documented improved process, marketing plan, etc. Some are better than others. You may be charged $100-$1000 per hour (or more), or have a nominal (or significant) retainer. The reason it is tricky, is without the coach, could you have succeeded without them? Had you not paid the $2500 per month retainer for 6 months, would you have been able to improve your marketing return on investment by $500,000, or hired the right team and increased revenue by 30%? The question is, would you rather spend $5000 and earn $30,000 or spend $20,000 and earn $100,000?
How to be a good coachee:
Finding the right coach for your situation may be challenging but beneficial for you, your team, and your organization, no matter how large or small. I encourage you to consider to options and get yourself a coach.
What do you think about this? Do you have a coach? Are you a coach? Please share your experiences by posting your comments here.
Until next time…
You wake up in the morning, take a shower, brush your teeth, make some coffee, say good bye to your kids, kiss your spouse, and head out to work. During your commute to work, you begin planning your day to maximize your time at work, and serve your team more effectively. With 3 one-hour meetings, 1 presentation to prepare for, 4 follow-up calls to make, and seemingly endless emails to respond to, your day quickly fills up before even getting to work. No worries here, you are a highly efficient and effective leader, able to handle issues as they arise.
Then it happens. Your boss give you another week’s worth of work that must be completed in the next few days. On top of that, your team’s regulatory training is due by the end of the week, your monthly reviews are scheduled for Thursday… the list goes on. How do you handle the growing list of tasks and responsibilities that must be accomplished in what appears to be an impossible amount of time? Staying late at the office is not really an option as you have your son’s baseball game tonight and your daughter’s dance recital the next night. You are family-oriented so missing these events is not an option.
What do you do? Enter the concept of selective disobedience.
Here is how this works. As the leader of your team, you are responsible for what they do and don’t do. When your boss (manager, supervisor, or leader) gives you a task, generally it does not mean you do it, rather that you are responsible for making sure it is completed. To get more done, you train, enable, and empower your team, then delegate, follow up, and follow through.
When you are given an excessive number of tasks, you have the choice of doing them all okay or doing some of them very well. The “do less better” concept from last week. If you choose the first, then you will be mediocre at many things. If you choose the latter, then you will be excellent at some things and short on others. But this does not mean you will never get everything done (although it does not mean you will either). You and your team may get all of your tasks done, just not exactly when originally wanted. This is selective disobedience.
As the leader of your team, you must prioritize all of your work, and complete the most important tasks first. However, when you commit to accomplishing one task, you are also committing to not complete another (at least not right away). You must selectively disobey in order to prioritize and accomplish the most important and impactful tasks and responsibilities of you and your team. There will likely be some repercussion such as a “talking to” from your boss, but if you do your job well, and your leadership understands and respects you, then they will expect you to employ appropriate selective disobedience”.
How have you employed selective disobedience lately? Do you think you have never employed selective disobedience? Think back to the time where you chose to be late for a meeting because of another task from your boss or dropping a child off at school. Did you miss the budget submission deadline for another presentation?
Do you have a supervisor that does not understand, respect, or trust you? If or when you selectively disobey, you experience extreme repercussions – being yelled at, adverse counseling, written up, suspended, etc. Stay tuned for next week’s post on how to handle disruptive managers.
When I was going through Officer Candidate School (OCS), we were pushed to the brink (or so I thought) pretty regularly. Early mornings, late nights, long days, lots of sweat, and constant learning. One of the mantras we were taught really stuck with me, well, a lot stuck with me.
When in charge, take charge; when in a leadership position, lead; when in a follower position, follow.
It made sense. If you are in charge or report to someone, then do it. Well, the OCS cadre pushed candidates, placing them under pressure, to see how they respond. If they responded poorly, then additional training (in some form) was required. The purpose of this was to place these leaders into positions where decisions were to be made while under stress, to teach them how to manage stressful situations and lead others – prepare them to lead Soldiers into battle if needed. It made sense, if you are in charge then you better take charge and lead your Soldiers.
So, why was this so valuable? This also holds true in a business or non-profit environment as well. Let’s break this down.
When in charge, take charge.
You are responsible for the situation and you must take control and get the job done. Delegate as needed, provide task and purpose, and see it to completion. Sounds easy, right? How many times have you seen or been in a meeting or office where it was difficult to tell who was in charge – who’s the boss? If this happens, then whoever is in charge, is not taking charge. If this is you, then insert your authority and take charge of the situation. This does not have to be done in an “I’M THE BOSS” way, but make sure that what is supposed to be happening, actually is happening. Whoever is in charge, may not even be the boss. He or she may just be the person responsible for that task, project, or meeting. Still, if you are in charge, take charge.
When in a leadership position, lead.
Similar to when in charge, take charge, this is focused on leading others. If you are in charge, you may have a responsibility to see a task or project through to completion. If you are the leader, you have an obligation to mentor, direct, inspire, motivate, and so on. Leading is more than seeing a task through, it is about building others – building leaders. What happens quite often, is people in leadership positions really are or become managers. Managers are task or product focused – did enough product get delivered on time, is the office running efficiently, and so on. A leader needs to shift some of their efforts from task completion (which is important) to building others. If you are a leader, then lead.
When in a follower position, follow.
From a leadership perspective, following well is just as important as leading well. In fact, following well may actually lead others. Here’s how. Back to OCS… since everyone took their turn leading the class and being a follower, each candidate knew what it was like to lead a group, sometimes it was like herding kittens and others like a symphony in motion. So, the best way to help your peer leader succeed, was to be an exceptional follower. What does that mean? Well, if given a task from the leader, do it to the best of your ability. That’s it. Sure, sometimes our best is not that great, but all you can do is learn and do better.
So, by following well, you show your peers that you care enough to help them succeed, and in turn, they will do the same for you. Additionally, if others see you doing your best, they are more likely to do their best as well, or know that you care for others which inspires and motivates. Think of it this way. How many times have you seen or heard of the subordinate surpassing a superior, and becoming their boss? If that boss struggled to get their former subordinate to cooperate and do their share, what do you think they are most likely to do in return?
When in charge, take charge.
When in a leadership position, lead.
When in a follower position, follow.
To the best of your ability.