What is the manager’s job? It is to direct the resources and the efforts of the business toward opportunities for economically significant results. This sounds trite–and it is. But every analysis of actual allocation of resources and efforts in business that I have ever seen or made showed clearly that the bulk of time, work, attention, and money first goes to “problems” rather than to opportunities, and, secondly, to areas where even extraordinarily successful performance will have minimal impact on results.
What is the major problem? It is fundamentally the confusion between effectiveness and efficiency that stands between doing the right things and doing things right. There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all. Yet our tools–especially our accounting concepts and data–all focus on efficiency. What we need is (1) a way to identify the areas of effectiveness (of possible significant results), and (2) a method for concentrating on them.