What is Personal Effectiveness?

For most of my professional life I have been employed, by both large and small organisations, and in between these periods I have set up and run a number of small businesses. Running parallel to the actual demands of the roles I performed was an interest in understanding and identifying the patterns of behaviour that contributed to people’s success; either as employees or as business people and entrepreneurs.

In my personal experience I came across people in senior roles and had to question how they had achieved that, I met people running successful businesses apparently against the odds. I read the books, the blogs and viewed the TED talks. For every theory of success there seemed to be another research project that had a different perspective on the qualities and behaviours that would lead one to become successful. So far I have read books and articles that claim to have isolated the 5 things that successful people do to the 1000 things that successful people do. Some are compiled through observations others by painstaking research and others by interviewing 100’s of successful people.

However I also met people who seemed to have these traits but did not manage to attain the heights that their talents might have suggested. The inevitable question for me was –what on earth was going on?

As I spent more and more time thinking about this I did recognise an underlying pattern. Those who were successful over a long period of time achieved because they were able to maintain their usefulness to the people that were paying them. This might seem like a blindingly obvious thing to say but it is only after a little thought that it explains the vagaries of some employment decisions; why people of seemingly lesser talent achieve promotions beyond their apparently more able colleagues and why the most unlikely of people are running very successful businesses.

So now I add my factors to the unending list of “helpful” tips on how to be successful; and there are only two of them.

Successful people demonstrate two key qualities they are RESOURCEFUL and they are EFFECTIVE. You might then well ask – so what constitutes resourcefulness and effectiveness; at this point it might be tempting to then create a list of “The 8 things that resourceful people do” or “The 10 behaviours of effective people” but I’m not going to do that. Instead I offer two definitions.

Resourcefulness is the ability to find ways of dealing with the unknown, the uncertain, the unfamiliar, the unexpected and the obstacles that get in the way of your objectives.

Effectiveness is the ability to be resourceful in a way that serves a market, an organisation, a boss, a team etc. (The list here could probably be endless.)

My interest is in what makes people successful. I’m interested in the behaviours that determine whether someone is effective in their job, career or in their business and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to share my thoughts on this great platform.

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