Effectiveness Can Be Learned
We often think leaders and executives possess high intelligence, extreme creativity and stunning imagination, but these qualities are not in short supply. Nor are they the most important qualities of executives.
Whether executives work in government, business, hospitals, churches, universities or the military, they’re expected to get things done, and they’re expected to get the right things done.
Effectiveness is in short supply in most organizations these days. Why is that?
I don’t know all the reasons, but I know one of the reasons. If you think about it, you’ll come up with others.
I think most of us confuse effectiveness with efficiency. We want to get a lot of things done, and we want to get things done right. I learned long ago from the late Peter Drucker that doing the right things is more important than doing things right.
Getting a lot of things done in a short time span, and doing them perfectly, is certainly admirable, but what if we’re working on the wrong things? If we aren’t careful, we use our time, energy and creativity working on the wrong things. So it’s important to focus on the most important things, not just the urgent things.
Time management expert Charles R. Hobbs cautions us to avoid the “tyranny of the urgent.” He points out that most things that occupy our time are urgent matters that are not vital to our long term success, things that can easily be delegated or just ignored, such as interruptions or a ringing phone at an inopportune time.
It is important for us to remember that not only must we do things right, we must do the right things right. Doing the right thing imperfectly is preferable to doing the wrong thing perfectly. Focusing on our vital long term tasks instead of bowing to urgent short term tasks makes us more effective.
That is the essence of effectiveness.