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    Effectiveness: 3 definitions you don't expect

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    Robert Maurer
    @robertmaurer
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    Practical definitions of effectiveness to learn how to do the right things, with the best strategies and the correct amount of resources.

    Looking in a dictionary you will find that the term effectiveness derives from the Latin verb efficient, which indicates the action of doing, producing. Effective is the act that produces its effect, and especially that has force, the power to achieve a given effect.

    Do you also find this definition a bit empty and repetitive? Have you ever wondered what it really means to be effective?



    Here are 3 original definitions of effectiveness and some practical tips to apply them.

    Definizione 1: the right things

    “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

    Peter F. Drucker

    As Peter Drucker suggests, if efficient is whoever does things in the right way, effective is who does the right things. Effectiveness must therefore precede efficiency: it makes no sense to wake up at 5 in the morning, work late in the evening with discipline, determination and sacrifice if what we are doing is wrong!

    If we want to be sure that we are doing the right things, that we are pursuing the right goals, we should ask ourselves a few questions:

    • can you find 10 great reasons to pursue your goal?
    • Will what you are doing make sense in 5 years?
    • are you looking for immediate pleasure or long-term happiness?

    The next time you feel like you are on a train speeding at 250 km / h aimlessly, stop, get off at the next station, and try to do these 3 simple questions.


    Definition 2: the tube of toothpaste

    Imagine that you are the new sales director of a toothpaste company. To take home your sumptuous annual bonus, you need to increase your toothpaste sales by 20%; which one do you think is the most strategy effective to reach your goal ?!


    • to increase investment in advertising?
    • cut the price?
    • apply a cross-functional psychomarketing outsourcing technique?!?

    Have you found the solution? think outside the box ...

    Here is the solution adopted by a well-known multinational consumer product: increase the diameter of the toothpaste tubes by 3 mm. That's all.

    Effectiveness is the ability to identify simple solutions and original for complex problems.

    Whenever you find yourself facing a problem, do not look for complex and articulated solutions: ask yourself what a 3 year old would do! stay simple.

    Definition 3: the € 500.000 / year banker

    Do you think a London banker with a salary of € 500.000 / year or a freelance photographer with an income of € 100.000 / year earn more?


    The answer would seem trivial. I try to rephrase the question.

    In your opinion, a London banker who works earns more 16 hours a day for 6 days a week, with a salary of € 500.000 / year, or a freelance photographer, who works 2 hours a day, 4 days a week, with an income of € 100.000 / year?

    Effectiveness is maximize the result minimizing the use of resources.

    If you want to work effectively, try this little exercise:


    • think how much time / money / resources you would need to carry out a certain activity
    • divide this value by 10
    • write down 5 unlikely strategies that would allow you to reach your goal with the new amount of resources

    Being effective doesn't just mean being able to produce an effect: being effective means choosing the right goals to work on, to find simple strategiesoriginal to achieve these goals, and use the right amount of resources.

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