The credo of efficiency

The credo of efficiency

The ‘Parable of the talents’, which talks of the three servants who had received talents (where a talent was a significant amount of money) from their master, highlights the credo of efficiency in one’s work, job and profession.

A master, who was leaving his house to travel, entrusted his property to his servants. According to the abilities of each man, one servant received five talents, the second servant received two talents, and the third servant received one talent. On the master’s return, they all rendered account of their stewardship. The first two had doubled their capital. Each of them said so in fourteen words, “Master, you delivered to me five talents/ two talents; here I have made five talents/ two talents more.”

Their work was pronounced, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and each was rewarded.

The third servant, however, had accomplished absolutely nothing but made a full report and said to the master, “I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.”

Servant number three had to deliberate much and use forty-two words, three times as long as the other reports, in finding excuses for his laziness and inaction at what was entrusted to him. The point of the parable is simply this: the less we do, the more we explain. Embarrassment and subsequent cover-up are often the result of lack of efficiency at work. On the other hand, efficiency at work brings substance and satisfaction to a job.

In support of efficiency, Dr Crane Frank, an American columnist, urged, “Do well what you do. Do it better than anyone else can do. Be efficient! Don’t waste time in giving reasons why you didn’t, or couldn’t, or wouldn’t, or shouldn’t.”

Efficiency is the ability to do a job well. It is the capability of a man to apply theory to practice. It is self-mastery, concentration, vision and common sense put together at work with the objective of finishing a job commendably.

 It is the sum of the three qualities of purpose, practice and patience in doing a job to the best of one’s abilities and is successfully obtained by learning how to do a job by doing it.

Efficiency is thus the mark of those who outshine others in their professions. It sets a good worker apart from the mediocre ones. With efficiency our performance is enhanced, our talents honed, the confidence of others won and the ignominy of a job poorly done spared. As a scholar rightly observed, “Efficiency is the sum total of all that’s in a man.”

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