Bruno Lui Thinking loud

Effectiveness vs Efficiency

In business, we often hear companies talking about increasing and improving the efficiency of their operations and employees, but the problem is that people are trying to be efficient without regard to effectiveness. And even though they sound similar, effectiveness means something entirely different than efficiency.

Let's check the definitions:


  • Effectiveness is about doing the things that get you closer to your goals.


  • Efficiency is about doing things in an optimal way, performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible.

In other words, being effective is doing the right thing and being efficient is doing the thing in the right way.

For example, let's say you check your e-mail 30 times a day and created a organized folders system that makes each one of your "e-mail checks" as quickly as possible. This is efficient somewhat, but it's far from effective.

To improve Efficiency, people need to remove wastes, obstacles and all other things that make the work or the process slow or/and expensive. But it does not worth if you are not doing the right thing to achieve your goals.

"What you do is more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things."

Remember that Doing something unimportant well does not make it important in the same way that Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

To conclude, I took to myself as a personal motto, something that we seek to follow in our company:

"Do the right thing, in the right way and do it fast!"



PS. Found this video that is a nice illustration of we were talking about.