Maximising components vs maximising systems

Some examples to illustrate what it means to maximise components rather than systems – and why it’s best avoided:

  • Sports teams with star players that don’t gel as a team – maximising individual talent at the cost of collaboration, team spirit and collective hunger. (See Leicester City’s 2016 Premiership win as an example of the opposite). This applies to all kinds of team.
  • Building your their upper body but skipping leg day.
  • Maximising your professional life at the expense of the rest of your life.
  • Maximising for beauty or wealth in a partner at the expense of character and shared values.
  • Maximising for short-term income or attention at the expense of longer term impact, relationships and trust.
  • Running too fast at the start of a marathon (see Fast Starts = Slow Finishes).
  • Focusing on lead generation rather than delivery and finishing projects (and getting paid) – or the opposite.
  • Getting really efficient at doing unimportant things.
  • Building an economy that makes us richer but destroys the world in the process.
  • Running a hospital or organisation (or your life) efficiently and at maximum capacity… but with no slack for the unexpected.
  • Winning a family boardgame in a way that ruins everyone’s afternoon (winning a finite game at a cost to the wider, infinite game).

Just a start – contributions welcome!

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...