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Many people use the two words – efficiency and effectiveness – interchangeably, but they can result in very different outcomes.

People who are efficient can complete tasks with the least amount of effort and/or resources.

Those who are effective focus their energies on the things they believe most important.

In the constant battle for your time, where the urgent tasks compete with the important ones, it’s commonplace for the focus to be on the urgent (they’re generally easier / quicker) which might well be efficient (you can cross more items off your ‘To Do’ List) but is generally not as effective as focusing on the important items.

Infrastructure maintenance is a great example of something that’s not generally urgent (until something breaks!) but is very important as those of us living in South Africa are seeing daily – whether in the declining state of many things like roads and railways, or in the increasing level of “load shedding” as power stations fail through lack of proper maintenance.

Eskom, our electricity generation and supply utility, for example, posted great profits in the earlier part of the previous decade and so paid its executives healthy bonuses, but this was due to lower maintenance spend – a situation the country is now paying dearly for: at least R10 billion (US$670 million) last week alone. So, although the executives could argue they were efficient (the company showed great profits at the time) they were certainly not effective, and this efficiency was also short-lived as the repair costs now are considerably higher. Should they be held to account in terms of the Companies’ Act for a breach of fiduciary duties

So, look at the urgent and the important, at efficiency and effectiveness and allocate your time and other resources in the best way possible, and ideally seek to achieve efficiency and effectiveness together.

As management guru Peter Drucker said in his book, The Effective Executive, there are five essential practices that combine efficiency with effectiveness: managing time, choosing what to contribute, determining what to mobilise for the best return on effort, setting the right priorities and combining all of these with sound decision-making.

#BusinessFitness #Action #Focus #Overwhelm #Planning #Productivity #Success #QOTW

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