Once upon a time a farmer had a sheep pen that held one hundred sheep.
On a Saturday afternoon as he was taking it easy, kicking back on his rocking chair, he noticed one of his sheep push its way through a loose paling in the fence.
It made its way over to a steep cliff, lost its balance and tumbled head over heels, ending up in a heap at the bottom of the gorge.
The farmer grabbed his first aid kit, slid down the hill and started tending to its wounds.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
- Book of Common Prayer, Morning Prayer
He’d just finished bandaging up that sheep when another squeezed its way through the hole in the fence and like sheep do, followed the one before it.
It also ended up at the bottom of the gorge all battered and bruised.
The farmer, responding to the second sheep’s cries for help went to work on it.
Next, another sheep got out of the hole in the fence and met the same fate.
I’m sure you’d agree, the farmer was doing a good thing.
He was being efficient.
The first thing he should have done, however, is he should have grabbed a hammer and some nails and he should have replaced the rotten paling in the fence.
Peter Drucker defines efficiency are ‘doing things right’ but effectiveness as ‘doing the right things’.
Thomas K. Conalin suggests that the first thing we need to understand is that there’s no point in doing something well when it’s something that we shouldn’t be doing at all.
Your effectiveness is not determined by how much effort you put into a thing, it’s determined by whether your effort is directed into the right thing.
If we get to the end of a week, month or year and discover that we haven’t accomplished our SMART Goals, we may have placed our activity into items of second importance first.
This is why specialised knowledge is important.
You can short circuit the process of trial and error by gaining input from those who have already achieved the goals you’re seeking to conquer.
Illicit strategies from successful people - Ask them the right questions - Success leaves clues.
Effective strategies are available in books.
You’ll find them at many seminars.
The efficient person is on a safari hacking his way through the forest with a machete.
The effective person climbs the tallest tree and says, “Hey guys, we’re in the wrong forest.”
Are you efficient or effective? Better yet, you can be both.