Why Being Efficient Isn’t Everything
There’s an often overlooked part to it as well.
As a society, we love efficiency. We want the most efficient lights, heaters, algorithms. We hire the most efficient people and fire the least efficient ones. Something that often comes in hand with efficiency — but not always, is effectiveness. In order for efficiency to be worth anything, effectiveness is just as important. I like to think of efficiency in terms of how much cost is put in, and how much work is acquired as a result of that cost. An efficient employee will do lots of work with their pay and an inefficient one will laze around, or perhaps not get anything done. But what about effectiveness? Effectiveness is the result. If one is able to successfully complete what they set out to do, then they are effective in accomplishing their goals.
What’s the good in an employee who does a lot, if none of that work is useful? That’s like buying a set of speakers which make a lot of sound but never play the music you tell it to play. When you set a plan of action, you want to do a lot, but make sure that what you’re doing is useful in the long run. Ensure that the products of your labor — of that efficiency, is effective.
When a company hires someone new, they look at many factors: experience, personal skills, and adaptability, just to name a few. Efficient workers are great at getting work done, and oftentimes earn the company a lot of money. But when a worker is effective but not friendly, does that turn the client off? If they do not mesh with the company culture, are they likely to stay? If they can’t change with the times, will they still be as efficient? Efficiency is important but it isn’t everything. And sometimes it’s the opposite — a traditional light bulb is effective in lighting up your room, but when you look at the math, most of the energy is lost as heat, meaning that it’s not efficient. Make sure you balance your efficient team members to work towards what they’re effective at, and always keep in mind solely focusing one efficiency isn’t everything.