To have a successful business you need to be both.
So what is the difference and why does it matter?
Efficiency is how you do things.
If you are efficient you are well organised and know where to find things. You could get a stranger to go to your office and tell them exactly where to find the cheque book, the stationery wish list, or the signed copy of a particular customers order form.
You have a filing system that is logical and simple. Your desk is uncluttered and tidy.
If someone asks you to do something you can tell them yes or no, and you both know that if you say yes then it will be done.
You’re unlikely to be a hoarder because you ask yourself “Will I need it?” every time a price of paper or an email crosses your desk.
You handle things once. If you can do it in five minutes you do it straight away and if it’s going to take longer then you schedule it in your diary for later. And then you do it then.
You’re a doer, an action taker, and people can rely on you to get things done.
That’s being efficient.
Effectiveness is a whole different ball game.
Effectiveness is doing the things that matter first.
It’s keeping your eye on the big picture and knowing what things need to happen to get to your goal. Knowing what things are vital to your business performing well. And then prioritising them so they get done.
Step one to being Effective is setting goals (and writing them down) and then making a plan to get to those goals. And I’m not talking BHAG’s – Big Hairy Audacious Goals – which are popular with a lot of industry leaders. I’m talking about the two or three activities or projects which are key for your businesses performance.
Step two to being effective is reviewing your plan every quarter and getting clear on the big steps or actions needed to reach your goals. What are the long term, high impact activities? The things that are critical to your success. To find them ask yourself what things would have a significant impact on the long term performance of your business if you did them extremely well and nothing else.
Step three is planning your week with those big steps or activities scheduled in first, as the top priority. Before all the other little things clutter up your schedule.
Big steps aren’t always project related, like working on your new website. They might be client related, like finishing one big job a week, or calling five new prospects each day. It depends on what your goals are and what things effect your businesses performance. Those are the things that matter and they should be scheduled first. Everything else fits around them.
The last step is following your plan on a daily basis. Don’t drop everything for every emergency that comes along. You need to recognise that you can’t do everything and, here’s the important bit, make sure you do the high impact activities first. Just like you’ve planned.
It’s a mind shift – from reacting to all the day to day issues to deciding on what to focus on and what not to focus on. But doing it will make you more effective and help you to have a successful business.
Listen to your numbers, read their story and watch your business Bloom!
I highly recommend the book “Work smarter: Live Better” by Cyril Peupion. I’ve just finished reading it for the second time and it is awesome! It goes into these concepts in detail and tells you exactly what you need to do to be both efficient and effective.