Monday, 10 February 2014

Foundations of Effectiveness

Effectiveness is not efficiency. Most times, effectiveness has within it efficiency but they are different. It has been said that efficiency is doing things right while effectiveness is doing the right thing. Effectiveness is focused on accomplishing the objective. It is not just doing things. It is not just being busy. It is not even being a hardworking person. It is getting what should be done done sustainably. We need effectiveness personally, in families, in business organizations, in government, in every human endeavour. The obvious consequence of ineffectiveness is WASTE, WASTE, WASTE!

Effectiveness is founded on these 3 principles:

·        Purpose—there must be a purpose. Trying to achieve effectiveness without a purpose is like trying hard to score a goal when the goal posts are down. It is purpose that defines effectiveness. Therefore, to be effective individuals, organizations, groups must have purpose.

·        Long term perspective—effectiveness cannot be disconnected from a view of life that goes beyond the now. The farther you sight, the more effective you will be.

·        The Whole (Holistic view)—being holistic in view refers to a kind of outlook that sees the whole and the relationship between the parts. There is an unmistakeable interconnectedness in life. This means that progress in one aspect usually affects progress in other areas. The same way decline in one area affects other parts. The effective individual is aware of this and uses his resources with prudence.




  1. My dear friend, I have really enjoyed reading your post, i think it was well researched. I just have few questions to ask:
    1) what is the difference between doing things right and doing the right thing, would doing things right not be doing the right thing?
    2)You said that the obvious consequence of ineffectiveness is Waste, what would you think is the obvious consequence of inefficiency?
    3) You have also said that it is purpose that defines effectiveness, what about wrong purpose or wrong goal?
    4) I love the third principle of effectiveness, but i want t know would it be ineffective to have a very short term goal? And how can you possible apply the holistic view to organizational development?

    1. I thank you for your comments and questions. I will try to answer as follows:
      1. Doing things right (efficiency)means getting some things done without wasting resources or time. It means not using more materials or time required to get something done. This is a good thing. Doing the right things (effective) goes beyond doing things without wasting resources or time. It reaches to the properness or relevance of what is being done. If my objective is to make a certain group of people who are abroad feel at home by cooking a particular food but I thought that the food I’m meant to cook is not expensive or rich enough for the occasion and thus make another food that is very rich. In doing that I have missed the point—to make a delicacy that will make them feel at home. I may have made the food with care and precision (efficient) but the purpose of the whole thing is lost. I’m not being effective.
      2.The consequence of inefficiency is also waste.
      3. The issue raised in your 3rd question has very deep consequences/implications. What is a wrong purpose? In summary, I think a wrong purpose is a purpose unintended by the creator/Creator. So in a superficial way one can be effective in a wrong purpose. But in the long run one can only be truly effective in a purpose intended by the creator.
      4. One can be effective in a short-term goal. But if my short-term goal is detrimental to my long-term goal, how effective am I? In any organization, there are components/parts/sections. Organization development, which is basically an attempt at strengthening the capacity of the organization to fulfil its aims, can only be successful only if the whole organization is taken into consideration. Consider an organization that only takes care of the executive or management level but treats its other workers with implicit disrespect. That organization will never be as effective as another that regards all staff with respect. This is just a little application of holistic view.