I have been thinking lately about how my organization can function better, and even how other organizations can function better. As I was considering this last night (early this morning), these three words kept surfacing in the ocean of my thoughts: efficient, effective, excellent.
Taken separately, each one has its place and purpose in an organization. As each person becomes more efficient in their tasks and responsibilities, the organization functions with streamlined effort and maximum productivity.
But limiting functionality to simply doing things right does not leave room for influence, whether it be in personal relationships, within the community in which an organization is placed, or within the culture that we live.
Instead of doing things right (being efficient), we can consider doing the right thing (being effective). This elevates what we do to a much more purposeful endeavor, moving us beyond simply doing what's expected to doing what's important.
If we want to add another dimension to both being efficient and effective, we can consider excellence: using the tools, energies, creativity and wisdom that we've been given to make what we do the very best. I am not advocating perfectionism, but rather doing things that exceed expectations, including our own.
So whether we are seeking to be efficient: to make things run smooth and get the job done, or we are seeking to be effective: doing the things that will influence those around us, we can always move to the next level by seeking to be excellent!