Ok, it’s confession time. As a lot of preachers do with their sermons, this article rises of out some self-evaluation I’ve been engaging in since I picked up Timothy Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek. While my goals are certainly different from Tim’s (I’m not shooting for a 4-hour week…not yet anyway!), the theme running through his book really brought back into focus for me the battle of efficiency vs. effectiveness. I could instantly see how so many small business owners and nonprofit leaders are daily losing this battle without even realizing they are engaged in it…including me! Understanding the difference truly separates the winners from the losers.
To be fair, our culture pushes efficiency. Whether it’s the latest smart-phone with instant email and text messaging, or the most recent time-management seminar you attended, it’s all about efficiency. Do more, do more, do more. Funny how technology has played a dirty trick on us, though. Remember how high-tech gadgets were supposed to do all our work for us so that we had plenty of free time? Instead, our gadgets have made it such that you cannot escape even if you wanted to…and everybody expects an instant answer to any question they have in real time. You are working harder and longer than ever before. But, to what end?
Consider your role as a nonprofit leader. Have you gotten trapped in striving for efficiency at the expense of effectiveness? Be honest…It’s OK. We’re all guilty. Consider these nuggets from the book:
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.”
“Being busy is a form of laziness–lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” OUCH!
Get the point? Busy, busy, busy. But is busyness effectively building your program? You can be the most efficient manager ever, but accomplish absolutely nothing in the process. Study up on Pareto’s Law (a.k.a, the 80/20 principle) for a better understanding of this.
Here is the bottom line. You have decided to invest your time in a nonprofit endeavor. Whether yours is a community arts program or a kids’ camp or a church, you are striving to make a difference with your organization. Don’t shortchange yourself and your beneficiaries by getting snared in the efficiency trap. Yes, you need to be efficient…but only when you are focusing first on being effective.
There is a lot more to this book than just this concept. You may not even relate to much of the rest of what it contains. But I highly recommend it if only for this concept alone.
You can get a copy of Tim Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek, by clicking on the link.