I earn my living working in the business office of my County Office of Education. Part of my job calls for auditing the internal controls of the nineteen school districts in the county. To help me do my job well I was reading Evaluating Internal Controls: A Local Government Manager’s Guide by Stephen J. Gauthier. One of his quotes from the book is my title for this posting.
When I read that line, effort is no substitute for results, it seemed to be highlighted on the page. It said very clearly to me that no matter how hard I work or how tired I might become, if I am not achieving the desired results I might just as well be taking a nap. After a nap I would at least feel rested.
We’ve all heard the maxim, Work Smarter, not Harder, and I think that is saying the same thing. As leaders in the American Baptist Women’s Ministries movement we have a responsibility to use our resources (people, time, money, energy, etc.) efficiently.
Using the guidelines for school government I’ve been reading, we can evaluate how effectively we are doing our job:
Any entity exists to achieve some purpose. It is the role of leadership to provide the guidance needed for the entity (our ministry) to realize that purpose.
An analysis of leadership’s fundamental responsibilities would need to address all of the following:
· Effectiveness. Ultimately, success must be judged on the basis of whether an entity is achieving its objectives.
Identification of objectives is an important first step toward assuring that those objectives are attained. (Our Mission Statement and Goals)
Incorporate the following types of measures to goals and objectives:
Output: focus on how much of a good or service is to be provided.
Outcome: focus on the quality of the goods or services to be provided
· Efficiency (the ratio of costs to results). It is possible for a program to meet its objectives but be too expensive. On the other hand, it is not possible for a program to be both economical and ineffective…no matter how inexpensive, a program cannot be economical if it does not accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish. An ineffective program is no bargain at any price.
· Compliance. To policy, laws or regulations. (Our by-laws and Articles of Incorporation)
· Financial reporting. (Phyllis and Nancy are doing a great job with this!)
The ultimate effectiveness of leadership will depend upon the extent to which leadership at all levels is able to communicate its directives to staff and to ensure that those directives are being carried out.
Effective communication of information ensures that the right information is provided to the right individuals at the right time and in the right format. Don’t overwhelm your people with too much data. Balance completeness with conciseness.
Furthermore, there must be adequate means of ongoing communication both within and between various levels and activities of the entity, as well as with those outside.
Information and communication are pervasive characteristics that affect all aspects of the organization.
The two areas that I want to focus on are effectiveness and efficiency. We need to be sure that our goals and objectives are measurable and that we pursue them with efficiency. I think our ministry is trying to do that.
That last sentence emphasizing the importance of communication and information on our effectiveness reinforces our recent efforts to improve communications at all levels of ABW Ministries.
This “required reading” from my job applies equally to my AB Women’s work and it reassures me, once again, that we are on the right track.