Trading Off Capabilities

My experience has been that net expense reductions in a mature organization almost always result in a loss of longer-term operational capabilities.  They rarely produce a net efficiency improvement.  Usually, there’s a corresponding reduction in value, quality, or capability.  It’s a trade-off.  The key is whether you understand the trade-off or not. If you understand it, fine.  But if not – if it manifests itself as an unintended consequence – then not so fine.

I saw an article recently in the Navy Times that captured the same idea.  I’ll post the link below, but here’s the paragraph that really caught my attention.  It’s an excellent example of what I tell my students.


“However, the cumulative effects of well-meaning decisions designed to achieve short-term operational effectiveness and efficiencies have often produced unintended negative consequences which, in turn degraded necessary long-term operational capability.”