Effective over efficient

One of the hardest things as a leader is remembering to be effective over efficient.  There are plenty of times when the most efficient (fast) approach would be to simply tell people. However, telling people rarely achieves shared ownership, which results in not gaining shared accountability. Thus, not effective.

When I’m working with leaders regarding this concept, I would not be very effective to simply tell them and expect application.  Instead, we collaboratively explore several concepts at a minimum:

  • what is preventing people from doing the thing that seems so obvious:  fear, competence, situational-context, goals, etc.
  • what mindset is ideal:  prime directive, growth, empathy, curiosity, etc
  • what promotes shared ownership:  collaboration, partnership, shared goals, etc

We know what is the fastest thing to do (just tell them) but does that achieve anything we discussed?  So is it really efficient if the end result is not effective?  Frequently, this does the trick in understanding the connection of being effective over efficient.   Yet application, can still be difficult – especially when the urge to tell is front and center. So we work towards what is an alternative approach to this current situation. Providing a game plan with a next step helps to keep the focus on being effective over efficient.  The extra work is not inefficient; it is what will make the difference.

What hinders you from being effective over efficient?


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