Friday, May 16, 2008

Half a Loaf Over Half a Baby

There's two different kinds of compromises in decision making.  One compromise results in a decision that gets you towards the solution.  The other compromise results in a decision that is worse than where you started from.  In The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management, Peter Drucker illustrates

Half a Baby is Worse Than None
Drucker writes:

For there are two different kinds of compromise.  One kind is expressed in the old proverb, Half a loaf is better than no bread.  The other kind is expressed in the story of the judgement of Solomon, which was clearly based on the realization that half a baby is worse than no baby at all.  In the first instance, the boundary conditions are still satisfied.  The purpose of bread is to provide food, and half a loaf is still food.  Half a baby, however does not satisfy the boundary conditions.  For half a baby is not half of a living and growing child.  It is a corpse in two pieces.

Key Take Aways
Here's my key take aways:

  • Half a loaf is better than no bread.
  • Half a baby is worse than none.

I think metaphors are great for illustrating points.  I think these metaphors are easy to relate to and will come in handy at work.

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2 comments:

Alik | PracticeThis.com said...

What a metaphor!
adopted.

J.D. Meier said...

Hey Alik - I hope it comes in handy for you. I used "half a loaf" a few times recently to help overcome some "all or nothing" thinking.