Stephen R. Covey utilizes an amazing fable to describe the definition of effectiveness.
In short, this is how it goes:
A farmer had a pet goose, and day after day he would pick up the eggs laid out by the goose. One day, however, the pet goose laid out a golden egg. The farmer got really excited, and from that day on the goose would lay out one golden egg per day. The farmer got rich, which lead him to greed and impatience. So one day he decided to kill the goose and get all the golden eggs at once. However, when he opened the goose there were no eggs in there. Now, he had no other way to get more golden eggs and he had just killed the only goose who was able to lay those out.
The moral of the story is how having the capability to produce (pet goose) is more important than what is produced (golden egg).
And there comes the P/PC relationship – P being Production and PC being Production Capability.
Covey describes how there are three kinds of assets – physical, financial, and human.
Let’s assume you purchase a vehicle. For the next years your car runs perfectly well and takes you from point A to point B with no problem. You decide that you won’t take it to the shop to maintain it on a regular basis because you don’t think that it is that important if the vehicle is doing the job. However, 2 years later the vehicle breaks down and now you have to purchase a new one. Had you only maintained it on a regular basis you would not have had this problem, and now you will have to spend much more money to buy a new one in comparison with the maintenance costs you would otherwise have had.
Keeping a balance between your P – the vehicle – and your PC – maintaining and preserving the vehicle – is essential for extracting the most value out of your physical assets.
Let’s say you have some money in the bank – your P – and day after day you make money on top of it with the interest you receive – your PC. The more you spend your money, the less interest you will receive. And you will eventually reach a point where there will be no P nor PC if you don’t continually add more money into your account.
This is the most important asset, because it controls the physical and financial assets.
A basketball coach, for example, teaches his players that the only thing that matters is getting the points, and not how correct your fundamentals were in the process of making the basket. In the short term this might bring positive results and even lead the team to win some games against the weaker teams. But once they get deeper into the playoffs they will begin facing better teams which will challenge their ability to score baskets.
If the players do not have their fundamentals properly trained they will not be able to score baskets against a great team, and therefore, leading them to a loss.
The same goes to someone who just joined a gym. You might experience muscle gains in the beginning even if your trainer teaches you poor form, but once you begin lifting heavier weight, if your form isn’t correct, you will hurt yourself. Getting injured leads to time off, and time off leads to muscle loss.
There is the other side of the coin, as well. If your trainer spends all your time focusing on form (lifting lighter weights), and little time on increasing the weight, you will also not experience muscle gain.
With that, it is very important to keep a balance between P – weight – and PC – taking the time to learn proper form.
This is the first principle Stephen R. Covey teaches in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The habits taught throughout the book revolve around this basic principle. From being dependent, to independent, and finally to being interdependent, people need to keep a balance between their P and their PC if they are seeking long term results.