Boy, did I “open a can of worms”! At a recent family dinner, I posed a question for some fun discussion. I challenged everyone to come up with word pairs that are almost always said together, and they have the word “and” between the two words.
Everyone joined in and I was surprised to see how many word pairs we came up with. It was amazing!
In the food category, we came up with word pairs such as “salt and pepper,” “peanut-butter and jelly,” and “macaroni and cheese”.
In the business and professional category, we came up with word pairs such as “policies and procedures,” “roles and responsibilities,” “cause and effect,” “symptom and root cause,” “efficient and effective,” and “leading and managing”.
As you can imagine, this game went on and on and on to the point that it became down-right silly. In fact, even after we got home, someone from time-to-time would yell out another word pair.
Insight: It is interesting that these word pairs seem to always be said in a certain order and are almost always said together like they need to work together for the best results.
Every leader and manager can achieve greater success by viewing matters through the lenses of efficiency and effectiveness.
Efficiency and effectiveness represent two viewpoints that are useful to leaders and managers. While they sound similar, they mean different things. And they are commonly misused and misinterpreted.
Let’s learn how to notice and benefit from these two perspectives as we compare and contrast them in the following ways:
Leaders and Managers
People with a manager’s mindset have a bent toward efficiency.
People with a leader’s mindset have a bent toward effectiveness.
The most successful organizations understand you need BOTH efficiency AND effectiveness.
Survival and Success
- Doing things right that…
- Determine your survival
- Doing the right thing that…
- Determines your success
Maximum output and achieve the goal
Efficiency focuses on…
- Getting the maximum output with minimum resources
- The process – the way of doing things
Effectiveness focuses on…
- Achieving the goal
- The end result – the final outcome
Status quo and change
- Is concerned with maintaining the status quo
- Keeps things orderly to be efficient time and again, and it requires discipline and rigor
- Believes in meeting the end goal by considering any variables that may change in the future
- Keeps the long-term strategy in mind and is thus more adaptable to the changing environment
Repetition and Innovation
- Requires documentation and repetition of the same steps, and…
- Avoids mistakes and errors
- Encourages people to innovate and discover different ways to achieve the desired goal
- Is not afraid to make new mistakes
If you were only being efficient and not meeting the requirements of the organization’s stakeholders (owners, investors, donors, customers, clients), efficiency would be of little use to anybody.
In a similar way, effectiveness may result in success but at what cost?
Insight: It is interesting that when you take or accept an extreme position, life gets out-of-balance, and it restricts your potential results.
So, learn to wear two hats, as the occasion dictates, by understanding that the most successful organizations need BOTH efficiency (managing) AND effectiveness (leading).
This is why leadership is not better than management. It is a different function than management.
And great leaders need great managers to maximize their potential.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Leaders and managers make great teammates. They need each other – and they can learn from the other.
Insight: Leaders without managers cannot keep what they grow, and mangers without leaders cannot grow what they keep!
Don’t forget to view today through the complimentary lenses of efficiency and effectiveness, I guarantee it will improve your vision!
What is your primary lens? Are you restricting your potential by being stuck in an extreme position? Please share your comments <here>, and share this blog post with a friend.