Friday, 6 November 2009

Aspects of improving performance

There is a strong feeling that the business world is changing. Social media is rushing towards us at an uncomfortable pace, the internet is evolving and financial crises of varying types are still with us. Added to which, many people’s jobs have changed over the last 10 years. There are many more information workers, people who frequently know more than their line manager within their field of expertise.

Yet the fundamentals of business apply. The business of business is still business. To make a healthy profit in today’s fast changing and difficult economy it is necessary to have eyes everywhere and good information. Perhaps it was ever thus, it just feels more important than ever right now.

The 4 E’s are a good starting point:
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Economy
  • Ethics
Effectiveness is whether we are furthering our goals. Obviously, you can’t measure effectiveness unless you know what your goals are. Having the right strategy is still Top Dog.

Efficiency is getting things done in a time and resource efficient way. Doing the wrong things efficiently won’t help you be more effective, and doing the right things too slowly will make you uncompetitive, which is why efficiency comes after effectiveness. In our “Getting Things Done” culture, it pays to remember to pay attention to Effectiveness before turning to Efficiency.

Economy is making sure you don’t spend too much on being effective or being efficient. Most organisations, large or small, have good systems to keep tabs on this one.

And ethics is ensuring you don’t trample over other people or squander the earth’s resources in pursuit of your dreams. An increasingly important dimension to business and living in the new world order.

Simple? On paper, sure! In practice? Well that’s where the art, science and monitoring of business starts.

It is down to each person, each team and each organisation to figure out what the 4 E’s mean for them, and how to measure them.

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