Balancing Efficiency and Thoroughness

Is it possible to have a perfect balance between being working efficient and making sure you are working thoroughly at the same time to create a safe working environment?

One of the biggest problems I find within my organisation is the silo mentality whereby and even though we all work to the same mission, all departments solely focus on their own goals, priorities without considering the broader organisational goals for the mission to succeed. This has a negative impact on the coordination, communication and places barriers between departments which prevents us from doing our jobs thoroughly and place the emphasis on efficiency.

This silo mentality of not having clear communication with a lack of resources and workforce constantly puts pressure on us to find more efficient ways to do our jobs. This mentality is also driven by an over reliance on using WhatsApp/Signal messages as the main means of communication and results in us receiving message at all times of the day/night and weekends and usually at very short notice. We must constantly compensate for these last-minute changes and find more resourceful ways of how to accomplish these tasks at the expense of thoroughness and, all these small changes over time become one big change that could lead to a serious incident/accident.

However, having said all this, the exception to this would be that, when we are on operations all these barriers of the silo mentality disappear, there is a clear goal with open communication channels, cross functional collaboration and the two main priorities are for the mission to succeed and keeping everyone safe.

We achieve these priorities by having the resources available to us, every man/woman has a role to play, we are well trained for those roles, and we only have to prioritise and focus on that one role. We spent months training and preparing to ensure that when we do it for real, that we can do our jobs both efficient and thorough and even while we are on operations we are still rehearsing and preparing for every possible scenario to keep that balance between being efficient and thorough. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

So, in conclusion and coming back to my original question; Is it possible to keep the balance between working efficient and thorough?

Yes, I do believe it is achievable but only under the right circumstances and realistically until employers start prioritising employees over profit, the balance will always be tip towards efficiency. As they say you can either have things done good, fast or cheap but not all three and in the current climate most employers always seem to choose fast and cheap (efficient) over good (thorough).

Thank you so much Louis! 

Louis Pienaar is a Health And Safety Manager at The British Army as well as a leading health and safety influencer and an HSE People Champion. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.