Effectiveness Can Be LearnedAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” ~ Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker said that being effective is “doing the right things”, and that’s what any knowledge worker is expected to do. Being effective is something that everyone would want to be regardless of their life’s circumstances, not just in professional matters.
Although knowledge, intelligence and creativity are essential resources for doing things right, only effectiveness produces results. Working on the right things is what makes the work effective.
Curiously enough, we aren’t taught how to be effective in the current school system, so we must be the ones who, proactively, seek the best way to produce results. It’s our responsibility to contribute in order to improve the capabilities of the organization in which we work, to improve some aspect of our customers’ lives, to improve the lives of those around us…
Effectiveness is the fundamental tool of today’s worker. Any knowledge worker is an executive at their level (whether he has subordinates or not), since he has to plan his work, organize, prioritize, execute and measure results. Effective work is not measured by quantities or costs. It’s the results that define it.
Paradoxically, we live in a reality that demands effectiveness and, at the same time, makes being effective tremendously difficult for everyone.
The environment demands immediacy, and we become so busy with so many things to do that sometimes it becomes difficult to stop, lift our heads up and redirect our attention to the things that actually produce the results we want.
Only ourselves can change this reality by becoming aware of the situation and doing what’s necessary to reverse it. If we don’t act consciously, the flow of what happens will determine what we’ll end up doing.
To be effective you need objective criteria that allow you to see reality above all the flow of events that govern your life and work on what’s really important, what produces results and contributes.
Effectiveness can be learned. After all, it’s a habit, a set of practices that you must repeat over and over again until they become a reflex, something you don’t even think about because it has become fully integrated into your behavior.
There is no specific personality trait that determines who can be effective and who cannot. There are effective people with different knowledge, skills, interests, temperaments, ways of being, etc. According to Peter Drucker, the characteristics that define effective people are:
- Effective people know what they do with their time. They work systematically to get most of their time under control.
- Effective people focus on contributing. They concentrate their efforts on getting results, not on working harder.
- Effective people build on their strengths, i.e., what they know and can do best.
- Effective people focus on a few areas where they know superior performance will produce exceptional results.
- Effective people make effective decisions. And they can do this because they have a strategy in place, a self management system.
If you want to be effective, GTD is the perfect tool. GTD is a personal management system that provides you with objective criteria to decide what is important at each moment and, therefore, do the right things.