People nowadays, discuss the terms efficiency and effectiveness much commonly and constantly in many contexts. They come on stage in the day to day scenarios as well as high-level process stimulators in the management world. Nonetheless, both these terms need equal focus and attention in the dynamic competitive world of management and enterprises.
But, when it comes to day to day life, which is more important and which can be traded off? Or is it possible to trade off one of these concepts, or should both be considered with equal weight?
To understand better, first, let’s look at a simple technical definition of the two terms. Efficiency – doing the things right and Effectiveness – doing the right thing. So, the term efficiency is applicable to any deed you do. Effectiveness has a bit of a moral dimension as well.
In other words, efficiency does not consider the nature of the task. Even a morally wrong deed you can complete efficiently. If you manage to put up the expected output volumes within a specified time. Hence, we can carry out theft or a morally wrong act efficiently. However, the effectiveness score of your act will be poor. The reason being, effectiveness by its own definition has a moral dimension.
It is an obligation for anyone striving for a good life, to be effective in his deeds than efficient. In fact, it is good to be efficient, but not at the cost of effectiveness. In a spiritual sense, it is worthless to be efficient trading off effectiveness. For example, it is good to help needy people by giving them their needs. But it is worthwhile to see how you obtain their needs before giving them. The value comes when you give away something of your attachment, to fulfill the need of someone. But if you steal it from someone else, and give it back to the needy person, effectiveness lost completely. There is something seriously lacking in the generous thoughts that would give you a handicapped return on your act.
You can feel some happiness on account of such generosity. Subsequently, though you will have to suffer the consequences of stealing added to the benefit you enjoy. It will be like, someone buys you your favorite ice cream. Before you enjoy it, you drop it on a ditch. Merits for your generosity returned, but with the consequences of stealing.
Hence, it is important to do the thing you do right. But equally important to realize that thoughts driving the act defines the scope of your deed and its consequences. The magnitude of the quantity of what you give physically does not really matter. But, the magnitude and the number of your thoughts of your attachments to what you are giving away, matters immeasurably. This is why giving away stolen goods does not bestow the merits fully upon you. Your generosity is there in one direction, your intention when you stole may be honest as well. But on top of all those, stealing is stealing and the consequences of that will definitely fall on you. It is sensible to rethink your next move in terms of effectiveness before you commit it.
I recall a great quote once my friend said which is very relevant here as the bottom-line. I re-quote him, with all due respect. “The things we have to do in order to gain better states in spiritual life are quite small and simple. But their value is priceless”.