Efficiency vs resilience

Is efficiency vs resiliency really a tradeoff?

A few weeks ago we were privileged to hear Roger Martin share some of his views on this topic at a private event hosted by Emergn and the Drucker Forum. There were several key takeaways that we can mention here.

First, it isn’t a tradeoff – you wouldn’t or shouldn’t decide for one over the other. There are differing types of each, some good and some not so good. We have pushed the principle of efficiency so hard that the effects of it end up becoming the cause of more effects.

Unless we think more carefully about how we measure and consider efficiency, e.g. we keep thinking that more is better, then we will undermine the goals we are seeking.

Our aim should be more focused on creating more value in the business and in the teams vs saving money or cutting cost. Let’s face it, we are great at accepting imperfect proxies for efficiency instead of becoming more resilient in our business.

It’s interesting that one of the synonyms for resiliency is agility – something so many organizations strive for. Yet the challenge continues to center around a focus on short-term measures that efficiency offers and not playing the long game of becoming resilient to adapt better to change. Not everything should be measured incrementally.


To respond better, it’s not that we need a new type of manager or leader as much as we need managers and leaders who think differently. 

Related content