Bulletin HASKINS & SELLS 59
Efficiency in Reality
IT was a saying of Napoleon that every
soldier carried in his knapsack the baton
of a marshal. So true is this that all who
set foot on the path of business advancement
feel the desire for a larger opportunity and
the possibility of an increased efficiency.
This word "efficiency" suffers from many
disagreeable connotations which have grown
up around it. The conception of a machinelike
uniformity—the precision of an automaton—
applied to human effort has at
times overshadowed the real and indespens-able
good in an intelligent efficiency. For
intelligent it must be first of all; without
a mind in control the labor of a man's hand
is so much lost motion.
For our purpose, efficiency may be roughly
defined as the power to do the work
before us in the best possible way, in the
least possible time, and with the least possible
effort. In short, it is the ability to find
the best way of arriving at the best results.
A good piece of work is an achievement in
itself; when it has been accomplished with
the least possible expenditure of time and effort
it is a product as nearly perfect as
human skill can make it, and the man whose
work it is has felt a joy in the doing that is
denied to a fumbling or less finished craftsman.