What is good management?
On first sight, one would say that efficiency and good management walk hand in hand. Some would even say that being as efficient as possible equals good management. There is a strange controversy, though, between the two. It happens when being efficient becomes a goal in itself. It is in those cases that being efficient can stand in the way of good management.
I won’t argue; it can be a good thing to do as much work as possible in as little time as possible at the lowest cost. But be careful there: don’t lose track of your original goals. All too often I’ve seen this happen. Before you know it you might end up doing the wrong things with unmotivated people. But of course in a very efficient way. That is not good management.
Good management requires much more than looking at efficiency. It requires setting the right goals, selecting the right team, motivating people, helping people to get better at what they do, creating an environment where continuous improvement is possible, being able to change rapidly in a changing environment, and creating room for new ideas. And still, this list is in no way exhaustive.
Should management focus on efficiency?
So, can efficiency get in the way of good management? Yes, it can. But it doesn’t have to. It’s up to you. By all means, measure productivity, analyze your data and act upon your findings. But please act with common sense. Don’t make efficiency your goal. Your primary focus should be on other things.
It’s a common misconception that management should control the working process. Believe me; that is not management’s task. Make your business goals very clear and trust the people that do the work to do a great job. Don’t take away their responsibility to look at efficiency. What happens when they believe that being efficient is not to work better, but something they do for you? Shouldn’t you be focusing on the real business goals, on opening new possibilities and on innovation? What do you think?