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Efficacy in Business

Efficacy           [ ef-i-kuh-see ]

noun, plural [ef·fi·ca·cies].

capacity for producing a desired result or effect; effectiveness:

Efficacy versus Efficiency

An efficient practice is defined as one that maximizes profit for the given resources at its disposal.

Efficacy, as shown above, is the ability to perform a task to a satisfactory or expected degree. (i.e., effectiveness).

Efficacy is neutral on efficiency—that is, it is possible to be effective while being inefficient.

Another way to think about efficacy and efficiency is that efficacy is about the results, whereas efficiency is about waste while achieving results.

Medical Comparison

The distinction between efficacy and efficiency is most frequently applied in the medical field.

A medical intervention is efficacious if it works under strictly controlled (laboratory) conditions, and it is considered effective if it works under real life conditions.

An efficacious treatment is one that is applied under ideal conditions. In other words, the patient is in the hospital, treated under rigorous control, and receives the treatment as it should be applied.

An effective treatment is one used in the real world of medical practice. The treatment is prescribed, and the patient returns to his or her home.

Efficacy and Efficiency in Business

Efficiency and efficacy are concepts that in the business world have considerable importance, and our confusion about their meanings will affect a company’s success.

Efficiency is when an activity is done in the best way possible and with the least expenditure of energy and resources.  Efficacy, on the other hand, is when we are capable of achieving a goal, despite the expenditure of energy and resources.

For example: if we have to go from point A to point B, and to do it, we elect to take the longest and the curviest road. This would be effective because we would have reached the goal we set before us.  But it is not efficient, because the route that brought us to point B led to a useless expenditure of time and energy that we wouldn’t have wasted had chosen to take the shortest and most direct route.

A company can be effective but, at the same time, not efficient and, vice versa. Business owners and entrepreneurs need to know if everyone and every process in their company is both efficacious and, simultaneously, efficient.

If the answer is no, it’s time for the business to look for solutions to better optimize all business processes at the organizational, management, and production levels.

The Bible

Benjamin Franklin said, a stitch in time saves nine, meaning, if you see a tear in your garment, it is best to sew it right away, or it will tear more and cause you even more work.

Our God is a God of order. He desires that we be efficient and efficacious in order to do our best with what He gives us. He wants us to make the best use of our time and resources so we do not lose out on His blessings and the opportunity to be all that we can be.

Our worship is to be efficient.  We are to be well organized, competent, and resourceful, making the most of every situation, doing our best, and always seeking better ways to be a Christian in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 12 speaks of the gifts given to believers to ensure they are efficient.

We are also to be effective.  Effectiveness for the Christian is to bear fruit.  John 15:8 says.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

The Christian life and the goals of business are identical.  We are to always strive for effectiveness and efficiency.  Our success in both is dependent on understanding how to be efficacious in our goals and efficient in how we achieve them.