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And no, we’re not advocating cursing as a means to an end. Although in your organization’s march toward better productivity it might serve to make you feel better at times…

We can all agree that better use of time, employees, and resources is the goal as we try to streamline our companies and survive the competitiveness of our industries. The question I have is this: Are we defining what that means exactly?

Better use of time = Efficiency

Efficiency is, at best, an overused term. Many of the tools and approaches deemed to make us more efficient are not much more than distractions. The only true way to grasp efficiency is to only focus on the tasks that get you closer to your goal. Shortcuts are helpful, but all of the really important tasks to be accomplished to grow your business have little to do with technology or time management. Those most important tasks typically require stepping outside your comfort zone and engaging people, managing deadlines, and negotiating various deliverables.

The use of your time to master the tasks necessary to meet these goals will result in the efficiency you are looking for.

Better use of employees = Effectiveness

Effectiveness, in my experience, is rarely evaluated. Are your employees busy? Absolutely. In fact, you are probably at a point where you need to hire more to keep up with the endless pile of tasks not completed by your current staff.

Yes, busy is good. Busy work… not so much.

You are paying talented, educated, and experienced people a good salary, but what type of work are they engaged in? Is your employee with a B.S. in Accounting and 5 years experience pounding the keyboard pulling data out of multiple systems and creating reports in Excel? Yes, I’m sure she’s very busy. But is that really the most effective use of her time? You hired her because she was better than all the other candidates. So why is she doing work you could train a college intern to do?

The effective use of your people’s time takes us into the next ‘eff’ word.

Better use of resources = Effortlessness

Tasks like pulling data into Excel and generating reports is not only an ineffective use of your employees’ time, it’s a misuse of your resources. Technology may not be what is needed to accomplish those important tasks to grow the company, but it is exactly what is needed to help manage data and generate reports. Automation via technology is no longer limited to those companies willing to spend millions of dollars. Put technology and automation to use for your organization, and stop paying smart people to do dumb work.

The correct use of technology will make better use of your resources and result in a reduction in the level of effort necessary to perform these mundane tasks.