Effective versus Efficient

Today I’ll be working with a former client who has asked me back in (after a break of some years) to work on a business and personal vision for his future.

There is no problem to solve here apart from a very full book, a waiting list for treatment and a bursting calendar of clinical, business, educational and personal days.

We met for dinner last night and I found myself (for the second consecutive evening) sharing mutual thoughts about how to manage priorities in a world full of opportunity and responsibility.

A sage once said:

Efficient is doing things right. Effective is doing the right things right

We can all be efficient and finish each day exhausted but with little progress.

Being effective requires time to think.

One of my meetings yesterday was with a practice who know how to be effective but have become so busy that they have slipped back into simply being efficient – the effect on the team is a constant state of overwhelm and of feeling rushed in everything they do.

Cracks are beginning to appear in the customer service experience they deliver and the patients are starting to notice.

What do they need to do?

  1. Re-introduce their morning huddle, which has slipped away to cope with busy-ness;
  2. Slow down – spend more time with fewer patients
  3. Let a waiting list develop

The decision was made to implement all three actions ASAP (mid-November being the first chance).

No surprises then that today I’ll be talking about “less is more” about “focus and simplify” and about “managing your priorities and not your time”.

Equally, I’ve no doubt that the late, great Thomas Leonard was right when he said

We are only called to coach our clients on the things we need to know ourselves


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.