High Performance in Swedish

Today I was teaching Responsibility Redefined to a wonderful group of consultants at the premier Swedish consulting firm Provins Fem.

Image of hanging locked bike

I mentioned “effective” versus “efficient” and one of the consultants stopped me for a quick language check — as they had done all week when I used language they did not understand (such as “hold my feet to the fire”… that metaphor did not translate to “accountability” for them…so it’s a good thing they asked about that one too).

I learned that Swedes do not get hung up on the difference between  being effective and being efficient. At first I was puzzled about that. Then I thought about how much better life might be for us Americans if we did not have a word for the concept of efficiency, only effectiveness. After pondering that for awhile I decided Swedes were lucky.

P.S. What’s with the picture? Walking yesterday I saw some bikes locked to some type of conduit five feet above the ground on the side of buildings. This one looked to be very clean. If you look very closely — double-click on the image — you will see that the chain is sparkling clean and shiny with no rust or grime or grit — quite the efficient drive chain. I just wondered if the wheels were stolen or smartly stowed by the owner. Efficient and effective? Or just efficient?

Posted in Responsibility on 08/10/2007 04:06 pm
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