Ever notice how often people gleefully describe a situation as pendulum swinging in their favor? This is rarely a result to celebrate, for one of two reasons:
- We are in the middle of two extremes, and the pendulum continues to swing beyond us.
- We are near an extreme, and the pendulum inevitably swings back to the other extreme.
The worst part: Pendulums aren’t actually going anywhere, they just bounce back and forth till they finally run out of energy.
The optimal situation should be more consciously pursued.
Pendulum situations are often battles between conflicting win/lose positions. Rather than getting stuck in a draw or lose/lose situation, how can we expand the scope to find a win/win solution?
Reckless cost cutting often leads to greater expenses in other forms, just as impatiently pursuing benefits causes us to lose other important goods. By taking a holistic view of value, both cost and benefit, we can identify wastes and eliminate them. In many situations, this will not lead to a reduction of spending, but frees our resources to focus on more valuable purposes.
If a strategy is failing, first understand how and why. Switching to the opposite approach will merely cause different problems. Perhaps radical change is needed, but can we simulate or trial to expose flaws before too many people are harmed in a new way?