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Business Efficiency? Try Effectiveness first.

One of the popular terms we hear is about increasing efficiency for organisations. Many public sector bodies are tasked with 'efficiency gains'. Businesses need to be efficient, but raising effectiveness naturally drives up efficiency. So why don't we start there instead?

Firstly, we can be efficient at the wrong things! Looking for efficiency savings typically means that we look to become better at the things that we do. Some tasks (or functions) could be removed meaning that the resources don't even have to be deployed - an instant efficiency gain.

More effective means less of the unnecessary. We can redesign how we operate and take out the elements that don't help our cause. There are some things that help our customers and some things that are there for some historical reason. Some things we have to do in order to get our job done, we can look at changing how we work so that these tasks can be removed over time.

Effective systems remove delays and errors - a major cause of inefficiency. Every time information or products move from one function to another, or there is some form of interchange (like a meeting) we risk delaying the process, increasing its cost and introducing errors. Looking at how we pass the baton through the business can increase our effectiveness whilst dropping away the associated resources. We become more efficient from being more effective.

Review your systems, become more effective and watch as the efficiency improves. Just making things better in their own isolated world might not bring you the gains you would hope for. Think wider and consider the whole system, a few small changes in approach can yield large gains in efficiency without having to break a sweat!

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