Precision Inefficiency

Working in the most organizationally efficient way doesn't come naturally to everyone. Why is that? Too often I ask myself why a colleague executed this or that program without considering how it could have benefited other initiatives underway. The answer to that question was lying on the hallway floor one morning...


The Mysterious Hole-in-the-Paper Caper

It’s just a normal 8 1/2” x 11” sheet of paper, but there is a circle, drawn in pink felt mark (of course), almost dead center in the piece of paper. The circle has been cut out, in a rather circuitous manner.

Precision Inefficiency

The efficiency nut in me took one look at the hole in the middle of the paper and wondered why the kid had wasted the future uses. One would think the best approach would be to draw the circle right in the corner of the paper, or near an edge, so as to minimize the cut and perhaps cut several more circles out of the same piece. Of course, to my kid, this was a sensationally successful execution against her goal. Getting the work done is the primary goal - not optimizing for some future use of this paper. Mission accomplished, and on to the next step. It made me chuckle out loud.

Here we have a "Precision Inefficiency".

And, so it is with organizations: If your team doesn't have a clear view to the bigger, broader picture of what's underway, they may be able to execute precisely, but they risk being inefficient in the broader scheme.


A Better Way Is Always Right in Front of Us...Even if We Can’t See it

All organizations strive for efficiency. Ever since Henry Ford realized that he could crank out far more automobiles if he built an assembly line, companies are continually looking to cut corners, make operations faster, and get more done with less. But the more we throw at today’s knowledge workers, the more they can get bogged down in Precision Inefficiency.


Take a few examples of Precision Inefficiency:

  • Designing a customer email layout that will not be useful for future customer emails
  • Producing a customer case study that only fits one outlet
  • Using a different SaaS tool for every discrete narrow function in your teams' processes
  • Building a training video that cannot be cut into separate quick-view segments
  • Creating a circle smack-dab in the middle of the sheet of paper


There are better ways. Sometimes all it takes is a little disruption, a little leap of faith to try that new idea or tool.


What’s in Your Toolkit?

I’m obviously a big believer in what we do at Smartsheet. We’ve taken a very familiar interface and concept and brought it forward to meet the needs of today’s workers. We use it for every facet of our work and I’ve never felt more collaborative, more organized, more content knowing when I go for that circle, it’s the quickest, easiest, most efficient route available.

My kids are simply amazing. Yes, they took the longer cut to get that circle - like many organizations - but they taught me something that morning. They taught me that we can very easily be caught up in our current processes, operating incredibly inefficient, and never have the slightest clue. Sometimes it’s good to step back and take a look at how you’re working - and try something new.

- Brent


To find hundreds of ways you can drop the "in" from "inefficiency", take a look into our Solutions Center


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