Enhancing Efficiency at Work

November 28, 2009

I had taken a taxi to go to an important meeting. I didn’t know the way myself but had the address with me. The driver drove very well but he wasn’t sure of the way.  I suggested that let’s ask someone. However, he said he knows the area and will ask once we reach closer.  He had assumed that he was going in the right direction but he was not. Once he asked after driving for some time, we were told that we had come in opposite direction. We were far away from the venue. When we finally reached, I was late by about 40 minutes. We got lost because the driver assumed that he knew the way whereas actually he didn’t. Due to his over confidence, he didn’t seek help earlier which would have been useful. The end result was a disaster. Both of us were stressed and annoyed. He, for not doing his job well, and I, for reaching late.

No one would rate him as an efficient driver for the job of a driver is not only to drive well but to know the route and reach destination in time.

Let’s now ask ourselves. Are we efficient at our own work?

Efficiency means accomplishing things the right way. All of us can get better in something or the other that we do. We can do it more efficiently.

Here is a simple test of efficiency: If you can accomplish a task    in one attempt to the accepted norms of quality, you are efficient. But if you have to redo it a few times before it is treated as complete/satisfactory, you have some effort to make to get more efficient.  Here are some suggested steps:   

–  Make a list of key tasks assigned to you or expected of you.

–  Rank yourself for each of the task on an efficiency bar of 1-10. Might be good to take feedback from your colleagues or supervisor.

–  List the tasks in which you get less 5 or less marks. Now write reasons for this low score. It may be either knowledge related or skill related.

– Set a goal for yourself to acquire that knowledge or skill in next three months. Start with one issue at a time. Seek help from someone who can help you and mentor you.

–  Monitor your progress and take feedback after three months.

You will notice that if you have made a conscious and consistent effort, you will have acquired the confidence and ability to do that task well. You are getting efficient.  The confidence of getting better in one task will motivate you to take up other tasks and get better at those as well. But it all depends upon the willingness to be more efficient. Stronger the will, greater will be the effort and better will be the result. That is why I suggest – Make efficiency an attitude.