SDS 166: Should You Be Effective or Efficient?

SDS 166: Should You Be Effective or Efficient?

Efficiency and effectiveness are two words that we use interchangeably. If you choose the right one between being efficient or effective, success and satisfaction could happen in your career or business. That’s what we will talk about in today’s FiveMinuteFriday Episode!

So, how do we differentiate effectiveness and efficiency? Effectiveness is doing the right thing while efficiency is doing the thing right. Think and reflect on that statement for a minute.

Effectiveness is pursuing the right goal to get the intended result. The ‘eye on the prize’ kind of mantra. Efficiency is performing in the best way possible with just the available resources. Minimizing wastes of time and effort is part of it.

If asked, what is more important – efficiency or effectiveness? How would you answer?

Effectiveness might probably be a priority for most of you. High-quality performance does not matter if you are pursuing the wrong goals anyway. Your efforts of minimizing time and practicing practicality have been put into waste in the very second you are not pursuing your very goal.

There are pros and cons for both but the benefits when you’re both effective and efficient are huge. So, ponder upon this. It could help you in your performance and in your goals.

Start tuning in!

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Full Podcast Transcript

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This is FiveMinuteFriday, and today we're talking about efficiency and effectiveness.

So, those two terms, right? Efficient and effective. What do they mean? What are they all about? And, what's the difference? Right? We've all heard people use these terms and sometimes even interchangeably. Sometimes people will say, "You have to be efficient." Sometimes people say, "You have to be effective."

Well, today we're gonna quickly demystify these two. Efficiency is about ... Let's start with effect. Effectiveness is about doing the right thing. Achieving the right goal. Going towards the right result. Whereas efficiency is about doing the thing right. Is about doing ... Being very productive. Being very ... Having low costs. Having high returns of investment and things like that. So that's what efficiency is all about and that's what effectiveness is all about.

And so my question to you today is, what do you think is more important? Is it more important to be efficient or effective? If you could choose one, just one, which one would you choose? Being effective or being efficient?

Quick answer? Probably being effective if you think about it. Because if you're just efficient, right, you're doing the thing right. Your costs are low. Your return on investment is high and things like that. But ultimately you're achieving the wrong goal. You're not effective, then what's the point? You're gonna be very efficient in doing the wrong thing.

But if you're effective, even if you're not efficient but still if you're effective, at least you're doing the right thing. You might have high costs. You might be doing it slow. You might be not taking the optimal route. But at least you're going in the right direction.

So when people say ... They'll say to me, for instance, "You have to be efficient," and say to themselves, "I have to be very efficient." Efficient, efficient, efficient. First question I ask myself is, "Are you being effective? Are you actually doing the right thing? Is your goal set out correctly?" And that's what I encourage you to do as well.

Think about it in this way. Do you first think, "Am I effective?" Or when you're talking to someone, I would suggest advising them to be effective and then only efficient. I actually saw recently an interesting table, an interesting diagram, that puts an intersection of these things, effective and ineffective versus efficient and inefficient. Very interesting, very insightful. So I will share that on the SuperDataScience page.

And yeah, something to think about this weekend. The sun is out. Hope you have a lovely weekend and see for yourself next week, where are you being efficient? Where are you being effective? Where are you being both?
See you next time. And until then, happy analyzing.

Kirill Eremenko
Kirill Eremenko

I’m a Data Scientist and Entrepreneur. I also teach Data Science Online and host the SDS podcast where I interview some of the most inspiring Data Scientists from all around the world. I am passionate about bringing Data Science and Analytics to the world!

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