Efficient or Effective?

Big “aha” moment in yesterday’s Intensive.
Its an old saying that:
“Efficient is doing things right.
but effective is doing the right thing right.”
I have always been efficient – ever since 1980 and my first time-management course.
1. make a list of all you have to do;
2. A/B/C the list;
3. do the “A’s” first.
So Mr Efficient always showed up on time, finished on time and delivered what he promised.
But wasn’t evolving in his career.
Then I realised what Covey was really talking about with his “rocks, stones and sand” metaphor.
The “rocks” were the really big decisions. Is this the:
a. right career?
b. right business colleagues?
c. right clients?
d. right country?
e. right home?
for me?
Listening to coaches these last 3 days I had a moment on Friday afternoon.
Coaches want to chat about the “small stuff”.
1. Which client management software is the best?
2. What does the perfect workshop look like?
3. How do I keep my accounting information?
4. What is the best way to set up my ezine?
But they don’t want to talk about the big stuff as much….
1. Right niche?
2. Right support team?
3. Sufficient capital to grow the business?
4. Do I know how to do this?
And the real distinction came when one client asked me a simple question.
“I’m thinking of doing X, which is the right software to use?”
My reply…….
“Re-phrase your question.”
“I want X to happen. Which is the right person to find who will make this happen?”
You cannot do it all yourself.
Or, perhaps, let’s rephrase that as well….
“You can do it all yourself – if you are happy with a mediocre business.”
“If you want a spectacular business, you cannot do it all yourself.”
“Oh – its OK for you, you are a million dollar coach – you can afford a support team.”
“I became a million-dollar coach AS A CONSEQUENCE of the fact that I invested in a support team.”
Efficient is doing it all yourself.
Effective is building a support team.


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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.