Why Leverage work is better that Efficiency work?

Max Casal
The Startup
Published in
4 min readJan 28, 2020

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Every day thousands of productivity posts, podcasts, Apps, methodologies, and techniques are created. Every team invests time in finding the right resource to learn something new and trying to apply it. Our productivity can be slightly improved, but we never experience real change.

After trying something new, we may quickly get upset and undo any change we have made so far.

“Performance is your reality. Forget everything else.”

Harols S. Geneen

The main reason for this performance-obsessed environment might be leaders demanding immediate results from their teams.

As a co-founder and leader of Nowports, sometimes I make this mistake. I want to encourage leveraged work instead of performance efficiency.

Analysis of Efficiency vs Leverage

According to Wikipedia, “Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing the desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well, successfully, and without waste.” Otherwise speaking, efficiency is how you can minimize your effort to generate a specific impact.

Contrarily, we have the leverage work. Leverage work maximizes the impact by using the same amount of effort. It is related to the 10x Engineering concept (10x A concept sometimes used in Silicon Valley to describe an engineer that is 10x more productive than an average engineer), but for the entire company.

Leverage your work every day!

Tips on how to use this concept.

#1 — Boost your strengths

As a team or individual, you have to know which are the superpowers that make you a top performer in some tasks. You need to start focusing on those things because the results will be way higher. For example, in my case, if I have to solve a hard problem, I try to break it down in different tasks and start with the ones I know how to complete with no doubt due to my strengths. After that, I have made some progress and feel more confident to continue with the next ones.

#2 — Focus your energy in execution

Daily workers get overwhelmed because they have many tasks to do and finite time. The truth is that having a precise and organized day helps you to achieve the goals per day. In my experience, scheduling blocks of 30 to 60 minutes with a specific focus and an expected result has incredible results.

#3 — Analyze your resources and environment

Becoming a 10x Engineer, Sales, Accountant, Product owner, etc requires technical skills but also a smart and unique use of the resources and environment. For example, you start a new job as an Engineer with a completely new stack, do courses, read articles, participate in forums or meetups to master the new stack.

#4 — Execute, Learn, Execute, Learn…

The 10.000 hours rule works! Executing, analyzing the results, try new ways, repeat until perfection is achieved.

Short use case in Nowports

Image result for nowports

Let me tell you a quick case that we have gone over at Nowports. When we started, the main country we were operating and growing was Mexico, then we opened Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, etc.

We were focused on how to be efficient in each country and get the biggest number of customers and move more freight.

It worked for a few months until we realized that we already had a big number of international companies but we were working only in one country (even though they had LATAM presence).

After reading about leverage, one day a Country Manager suggested that we should share all the international companies' contact lists and focus on growing with the partners in each country. This was a simple case of leverage work rather than efficiency in individual countries.

Final thoughts

We should never mix the words leverage & efficiency. Efficiency is what people with a limited mindset does, while Leverage is what makes a startup a 10x Company.

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