Last Christmas, I gave my husband Steve a page-a-day calendar with Insights from the Dalai Lama. Occasionally, Steve shares one of these daily insights with me.

One page he shared with me recently was:

Ultimately, any system, set of laws or procedures, can only be as effective as the individuals responsible for its implementation.

I found this an interesting insight.

I spend a significant amount of my time working with organizations who want to implement , or improve, their management system processes. We focus on ways to improve organizational effectiveness. The ISO management system standards even include a definition of effectiveness. For ISO standards such as ISO 14001, effectiveness is defined as “extent to which planned activities are realized and planned results achieved.”

But what about individual effectiveness - what makes a person effective?

There are three factors that make a person effective:
• Integrity
• Competence
• Execution

Integrity, being perceived as trustworthy, is critical to effectiveness. It is very difficult to get anything done within an organization, or any group of people, when there is a lack of trust. Trust is what allows us to drive 60 miles an hour down a two-lane road. We trust that the other drivers are going to stay on their side of the road.

Competence, having the knowledge and skills necessary to do the job, is also key. I am sure you can think of examples where individuals undertook tasks – but lacked the knowledge and skills to do them right. At best, work needs to be redone. At worst, people may be injured or killed.

Execution is the final requirement for personal effectiveness. Integrity and competence are insufficient if nothing actually gets done. Endless planning doesn’t accomplish much if those plans are never implemented.

Related Resources:

For more information on the importance of integrity, check out my previous newsletter - Trust, Transparency and Truthfulness.

For more information about the role of competence in being ethical, check out my previous newsletter - The Ethics of Dabbling.

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