Monthly Archives: October 2015

Effective vs. Efficient and the message for managers

I have been recently asked to explain the difference between two very frequently used words which to some have more or less the same meaning: Efficient and Effective.
I said as an executive I would rather be Effective than Efficient and explained my position further giving them the following illustrations.
An engine when it generates more output than another for a given input, we say it is more Efficient.
A worker that loads more boxes onto a truck than a coworker is more Efficient.
A manager that does more performance reviews than another is more Efficient at that task.
But while for the first two cases more efficient meant something of importance for the subject, this is not so for the third case. For the latter, there is another dimension, the intended result, the goal. The direction of effort counts. Does he work at the right things?
So in this last case the word efficient is lacking in context, and we must use another word if we want to convey that a manager does his job well. If we return to the engine analogy, we must complement the subject, the pump, with the receiving end, the purpose. We may say for instance
A.      A pump works efficiently sending water to the sea thus wasting it, or
B.      A pump works efficiently sending water to irrigate the fields
In both cases, the pumps are efficient but only in B the arrangement is effective. So, Effective is Efficient combined with serving a purpose producing an intended result.
There is a message for managers and executives. Sometimes we feel that when we are busy working hard from 8 am to 8 pm, doing what comes at us [...]

By |October 25th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Is HR Strategic?

The greatest resource of an organization is said to be its people. And the discipline responsible for that resource is HR. A multiple of subjects concerning people are assigned to HR, and the picture above portrays some of its conventional functions.
But one very critical is missing. The strategic element is not there. The role of HR as matching the people dimension with strategy is absent.
Probably because it is not easy to apply, or because it requires expertise most HR people don’t show to have or because of internal politics or because tradition wants HR on the sides of the business. But whatever the reason it is in my opinion inexcusable.
It is not logical to leave out from strategy making the people experts who know the capabilities of every staff. Not utilize them, for example, to analyze contemplated new strategies and come up with what human resource is required where and when. Not to bring them in to look at prospective strategies and tell at an early stage what is involved in terms of people needs, training or the need to acquire new capabilities.
HR is a major division in most organizations; it has a significant share of costs, and it would be a pity to limit it to rituals and bureaucracies and for all to pretend a closed eye to its critical strategic function that would make it more than worth its cost.
You can read a very informative article on the subject in the HBR magazine July-August issue, titled: People Before Strategy: A New Role for the CHRO at

By |October 20th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|