“Efficiency is about going from inputs to outputs. But effectiveness is about going from outputs to outcomes.” So says Dr. Charles G. Chandler, author and podcaster, who discusses his model for organizational sustainability and effectiveness. What makes a project and, by extension, an organization, truly effective and great? You must distinguish between “efficiency” and “effectiveness,” and understand the importance of measuring effectiveness based on Outcomes (Uptake, Adoption, and Use) rather than Outputs. By looking at organizations as complex adaptive systems, it becomes clear that the true goal of all organizations is basically the same: to be effective in their particular environment. Rather than top-down goal-setting, the directives should ideally come from below, where team members are closer to the environment and customer interaction.
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Charles G. Chandler graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (B.S. and Ph.D.) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.S.), where he studied engineering sciences. He served in the US Peace Corps in Nepal, and later worked at the Texas Water Development Board in Austin, where he managed the state’s program in water conservation and drought contingency planning. In 1982 he founded Assumption Analysis, Inc., a management consulting firm. His clients include USAID, the World Health Organization, the UN Development Programme, the World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.