Efficiency – The Equivalent of Having Restrooms

The successful agency of tomorrow will be led by people who cry “better” not “more.” Your clients are paying for having their marketing and communication trepidations resolved effectively, not how fast you solve the problem.

I am not saying deadlines aren’t important and shouldn’t be respected and met. To the contrary, they are and should be but that ought to be a given by now. Ron Baker, one of the founders of Versage Institute, wrote “Efficiency in a professional knowledge firm is not a competitive advantage. It’s the equivalent of having restrooms.” In other words, being efficient is so important that everyone should already be there—just like the restrooms in your office.

Selling “fast” instead of “effective” makes your agency’s services a commodity, degrades your work, and is demoralizing to your staff.

Is your agency effective? Do you create value for your clients?

Efficiency means doing things right. Effectiveness means doing the right things.

Working efficiently is doing things with the least amount of waste. Efficiency is the straight line that gets you from point A to point B. Effectiveness means doing the things that yield valuable results.

Profitable agencies hire the right employees, who are effective, because they:

• Do the right job
• In the right way
• At the right time.

Agencies that are successful in reaching higher levels of productivity and accountability have leaders who value effectiveness over, but in addition to, efficiency. In addition, they must necessitate following a streamlined work flow, and reward those who exceed goals.

I have seen many agencies try to accomplish the fine balance between efficient and effective. A few have been able to master this. Most have not been able to because they are too close to the work being done. Most of the time when an unbiased, outsider observes the agency’s work flow, they are able to find ways to improve both efficiency and effectiveness. Once you achieve this fundamental balance, you will see great strides in the growth of your agency.

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