My Pispective on the Appropriate Maximum

My Pispective on the Appropriate Maximum

(A pispective is when you write about something using only 314 words)

If we can take something to its full extent, should we?

Frank Sinatra had a hit in 1939 with 'All or Nothing at All'. Though I prefer Billie Holiday's cover. Anyway, the line goes,

"All or nothing at all
Half a love never appealed to me
If your heart, never could yield to me
Then I'd rather, rather have nothin' at all"

A little extreme perhaps, but that's love for you. As a management professional, I'm fairly content with half of something. Though it depends on the something.

Half a loaf of bread is better than no bread. But, as King Solomon advised, no baby is better than half a baby.

There are times when the complete lack of something is good (cancer) and bad (chocolate). The management professional, like it or not, lives in a world of continuous ambiguous context.

We kid ourselves when we take general principles, apply them to a situation and expect them to deliver consistent results. A principle is a guide, not algorithm. We must always keep our heads clearly in the present. See things as they are, not what we wish them to be.

So how far do we take something, if we can take it all the way? The answer lies in art. Business is a creative endeavour, where the eye of the artist is as important as that of the analyst.

When we take something to its full extension, very often something just doesn't feel right. Like watching a circus contortionist. But a contortionist applies the same principles to the same medium as a ballerino.

It's just that the ballerino stops at or around an aspirational maximum. Watching a skilled contortionist hurts our brain but watching a skilled ballerino makes us applaud.

Just because we can take something to its full extension, doesn't mean we should. There is an art to business that the truly masterful continuously seek after.