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What to focus on in order to increase long-term effectiveness?

It is quite unusual to know Aesop’s Fables when you grow up in Germany. Here, we are told the Grimm's Fables which I also recommend reading. However, for this particular post Aesop’s Fable about the goose that lays golden eggs is more suitable. For those who are not familiar with the story, there are many different versions of the story but in the essence they go as follows:

A farmer and his wife had a goose that laid a golden egg every day. Trough this they became unbelievably rich. However, one day they decided that they do not longer wanna wait till the next day for the next golden egg. They supposed that the goose must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed her. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the goose differed in no respect from their other geese. Instead, they killed her and erased their chance to ever getting another golden egg forever.

 
 

But what does this story teach us about effectiveness?

Currently, I am reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. The book is not new, nor does it offer a brand new approach towards effectiveness. It rather reminds us of long forgotten principles that we as human beings have to start cultivating again. In order to achieve growth and being able to build a true personality instead of one that is based on manipulative techniques and tools. Especially, in times where our political and economic situation seems to get more and more out of balance. Despite the fact that Covey writes that everything the reader learns in his book, the reader should take and teach it himself within 48 hours. The main reason why I wanted to share his usage of Aesop’s fable of the goose and the golden egg.

Covey writes that the greed of the couple is a perfect analogy for how most people work and live today. We always want things to happen faster, or increase our profits. We are solely focused on the end result. We only focus on the product (the golden egg). In order to get it, we try to optimize and tweak the producing asset (the goose) and do not realize that it might kill it. We only realize this when it is too late. Convey is calling it the P/PC Balance.
You need to have a healthy balance balance between the focus on product and focusing on the production asset. If you mistreat one, the effects can be fatal.
In his book he brings this example to an organizational level: Take a production manager. He receives a certain production goal for the year. In oder to surpass this goal and get a big bonus he lets the machine run without downtime. He is doing this for a few years and than gets promoted because he exceeded the expectations ever since. You are getting the newly opened position to fill his spot. However, after a few weeks in the machine is broken and needs to be replaced. You get all the blame. But was it your fault or the co-workers? Maybe the management’s? If the organization builds a culture around a healthy PC/P Balance than this wouldn’t have happened in the first place. The co-worker would know that in order to have long-term success as a company he has to take care of the PC (the machinery) instead of focussing on the P (the outcome and his promotion).

 

Don’t take care of yourself and there won’t be any golden eggs anymore.

Personally, I can strongly relate to the goose and the golden eggs analogy. I just experienced it this year. Imagine you are blogging every day. You have this idea in your mind that you want to to produce one piece of content every day. You optimize you days, get up earlier to cut videos, prepare postings and produce new stories during the day for the next day. All at the same time while you have your 9to5. This is what I was doing this summer.
However, I didn’t really take care of my equipment and most importantly of my body. After 8 weeks of doing this I was exhausted and my body screamed for rest. Moreover, my equipment showed signs of the rough treatment and I had to get it repaired which costs me a lot of money. I wasn’t able to produce anymore. The videos, the articles, the pictures - In my case they are the product, the golden eggs. However, my equipment and my body where the producing asset here and I mistreated it. I paid a higher price for repairing it afterwards as if I had just taken care of it in the first place and maintained it.

I guess that the moral of this story is that you should be aware of creating a healthy PC/P Balance in everything you are doing.


#QOTD: When was the last time you killed a goose in order to receive more golden eggs?

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