Too Much Efficiency

New project. New team members. Exciting scope. Tons of ideas.

High energy within team. Can’t wait to get started. Sent initial To-do’s out to team.

Organized first meeting. More to-do’s. Energy still high. Blazed forward in the first weeks.

Energy going down. Sh*t. What’s next. Excitement dying. Team building exercises needed.

Downward spiral. Can’t wait for project to get done. Just made it past the finish line. Phew.

Why did a project that seemed to be destined for success lose steam? What happened to all the initial energy and excitement?

The simple answer – Too Much Efficiency.

We live in a time of efficiency worship. Optimize reading list, optimize time, optimize investments, optimize this and optimize that.

What we often forget is that efficiency works very well with anything that lacks emotion, and is hence governed by logic. Think algorithms, machines, vehicles.

With emotional creatures, being efficient is very different from being effective. Optimization doesn’t work with emotional creatures – not in the long run anyway.

The new year is here. We are all likely to be leading or working in many new initiatives and projects.

Let’s give efficiency a rest when working on new projects. Let’s get to know our team members, understand what they want to learn/get out of the project, understand their aspirations beyond this project and most importantly, ensure alignment of objectives within the team i.e. let’s take time to build our teams before chasing efficiency and productivity.

Getting the foundation right matters. Effective may be slower in the short run but will be way more productive in the long run.

Unless you are leading a group of machines, of course..