Effectiveness is a measure of how well a task, process, or objective is accomplished. In a business context, effectiveness is often associated with achieving goals and objectives, regardless of the resources used.
Effectiveness should not be confused with efficiency, although they’re often linked. Efficiency measures how well resources (like time, money, and manpower) are used in achieving a goal. An efficient process maximizes output for a given set of inputs, often with an emphasis on speed and minimizing waste.
Effectiveness, on the other hand, is about accomplishing a task correctly and achieving the desired outcome. A process can be effective without being efficient. For example, a company might effectively develop a high-quality product that meets customer needs, but the development process could be inefficient, consuming more resources than necessary.
In general, an organization strives to be both effective (achieving the right results) and efficient (using resources wisely). But there may be situations where focusing on effectiveness is more important, especially when quality or thoroughness is paramount.
Example of Effectiveness
Let’s consider a company that manufactures cars:
Scenario 1: Effectiveness but not efficiency
Suppose the company’s goal is to produce high-quality cars that meet strict safety standards. They’re successful in achieving this goal—their cars are of excellent quality and have top-notch safety ratings. However, their manufacturing process is lengthy and uses a significant amount of resources. They’ve effectively achieved their objective of creating a safe, high-quality car, but the process is not efficient.
Scenario 2: Effectiveness and efficiency
The company revisits its manufacturing process and finds ways to reduce waste and streamline operations without compromising the quality or safety of its cars. They implement changes such as improved training for workers, better management of their supply chain, and the use of more advanced machinery. As a result, they continue to produce high-quality, safe cars, but they’re now doing so more efficiently—with fewer resources and in less time. In this case, they’ve achieved both effectiveness (the right results) and efficiency (minimum waste of resources).
In both scenarios, the company is effective—they’re producing a high-quality product that achieves their goals. However, only in the second scenario are they also efficient.