golden rule

I’m reading Stephen Covey’s bestseller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and was inspired by his lesson on effectiveness, or the ability to produce a desired or beneficial result. In this post, I’d like to correlate effectiveness with technology, and point out how a small change in perspective can help us get the maximum benefit from our computers and technology devices.

Most people believe that effectiveness is simply ‘doing more.’ However, Convey suggests that “true effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced and the producing asset.” To better explain this theory, he recalls a popular story, “The Golden Egg.”

The fable tells the story of a farmer and his goose. One day he discovers that his goose laid an egg made of pure gold. Each day when the farmer went to check on his goose, he discovered a new golden egg. While originally grateful for his good fortune, he soon becomes greedy and is no longer satisfied with one golden egg a day. So the farmer decides to kill the goose, thinking he will get all of the eggs at once. After killing the goose he finds no eggs – and now he has no way of getting more.

The farmer failed to recognize an important principal to effectiveness, which Covey refers to as the P/PC Balance. P is for production of the desired results (the golden eggs), and PC stands for production capacity, or the ability of an asset to produce something (the goose). The farmer was expecting more and more out of the goose (production), without taking into consideration how much the goose was able to produce (production capacity).

As an IT consulting firm, we see a similar scenario play out all too often when it comes to our expectation of computers. We buy a shiny new laptop and install a few programs in the beginning to block ads and prevent viruses, but eventually we slowly turn into the greedy farmer. We ignore critical software updates, we download programs from untrusted sites, and we spill coffee on our keyboards – yet we continue to expect the computer to produce for us. We get especially frustrated if it slows or crashes.

Whenever a computer fails, we have failed to respect the P/PC Balance.

When we don’t maintain or care for our computers and devices, they stop producing. Then, we’re often left spending more time and money in troubleshooting, replacement costs, and downtime than we would have spent if we had simply taken better care of them.

“In our quest for short-term returns, or results, we often ruin a prized physical asset – a car, a computer, a washer or dryer, even our body or our environment. Keeping P and PC in balance makes a tremendous difference in the effective use of physical assets.”

This is the essential idea of a Managed Service Provider (MSP). By paying an MSP to care for and maintain our computers, servers and network equipment, we’re improving the effectiveness and lifespan of our devices. We’re also safeguarding our business from the loss of revenue and productivity that accompanies a crash or outage.

If we keep expecting more and more from our devices, we must also recognize and respect what they need in order to continue producing. Take care of your computers my friend, and they’ll take care of you.