Measuring effectiveness

I’ve been thinking about being effective a lot lately.

Just so we’re clear, the definition of effective is;

successful in producing a desired or intended result

Regardless of where you are in your professional journey or what role you have, it’s absolutely normal and right to want to feel like you’re achieving something.

Being effective gives you purpose, motivation and keeps your morale high.

As organisations grow in size, the ability to be effective can start to diminish.

More work, more people, more silos, more personalities, more politics and more governance… you can see where I’m going with this.

I’ve watched morale be broken, impostor syndrome go into overdrive and fatigue kick in faster than ever before.

It led me to think about how we can measure effectiveness, ground ourselves with a level of evidence and then execute on it.

A set of questions

Are you empowered?
or Do you feel like you need/have permission to do the things that need to be done?

Are you working well?
or Do you feel like things are working in the right way?

Do you feel the work you’re doing is important?
or Is it validated as important to you or the organisation?

Do you feel like you’ve achieved something in the last 30 days?
or Can you recognise the last time you felt you achieved something?

Do you feel like that thing is having a positive effect somewhere?
or Can you recognise the value it has had on others?

Do you feel like it has had a positive effect on the overall goal of your team?
or Can you identify that your team is feeling positive and moving towards their goal?

Is your team effective and having a positive effect on the overall goal of your organisation?
or Can you recognise that your team effectiveness is meeting the goal/strategy of your organisation?

Depending on how you’re getting on answering those questions and assessing your answer to each, the next question is the one which could hit a lot home.

Am I / are we really that effective at accomplishing things? What impact has my/our effectiveness had?
or Am I / are we set up to be empowered and/or effective?

Conditions for effectiveness

There are key conditions required to create effectiveness for an individual, team or organisation.

  • Hire people better than you, always
  • Be honest and have integrity
  • Make people feel safe and provide them the space to do their best work
  • Meet a problem with the right skills and experience – NOT job titles
  • Create empowerment everywhere
  • Make sure your strategy and mission is publicised
  • Make sure your strategy and mission is clearly defined, concise and understand by all
  • Ways of working need to be defined, processes need to be simple and smooth
  • Operationalise as much as possible

As much as the above list will help create the conditions required, there’s one larger and more nuanced piece which needs to be navigated…

Human behaviour

Humans are the only ones who can make any of this happen.

They’re also fully capable of derailing it.

The person with the most accountability is ultimately responsible for making sure the conditions are available to all.

There’s a strong leadership play to make, to lead by example and emanate all of the good behaviours required.

If you’re individual or a team and you’ve recognised you’re not being effective and can identify why, then I implore you to use the evidence and show how things can be better and tell it like it is.