P/PC Balance: What It Truly Means To Be Effective

a month ago   •   3 min read

By Zero Machina

Are you familiar with Aesop's fable of the goose and the golden egg?

A countryman had a goose that laid golden eggs. He soon became rich by selling them at the market.

But he became greedy and impatient—the countryman wasn't acquiring wealth fast enough. So he decided to kill the Goose, thinking it would give him all the golden eggs at once.  Of course, when he opened it up, no eggs were found. And he lost the valuable Goose responsible for producing his wealth.

This fable illustrates an important time management principle.

Two variables determine your effectiveness: the desired results, and the ability or asset that produces them. You want to produce the desired results and get the "golden eggs." But you also need the production capacity, the "goose," to maintain and maximize those results.

The key is to balance them.

Maximize Effectiveness With the P/PC Balance

In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey uses Aesop's fable to describe a natural principle of effectiveness: the P/PC Balance.

  • P refers to the production of desired results—the golden eggs.
  • PC stands for production capacity—the assets or abilities that create the golden eggs.

Covey explains that most people either fixate on the golden eggs or the goose.

Fixating on the golden eggs is classic short-term thinking. The countryman became obsessed with the production of golden eggs and killed the goose, but this led to a total loss in production. In the same way, fixating on short-term results has negative implications in your life—poor health, worn-down tools and equipment, unsuccessful investments, and neglected relationships.

On the other hand, some people become so focused on taking care of the goose—building production capacity—that they never get around to collecting the golden eggs. They take care of their tools but never use them. They study and train but never apply what they've learned. They value their goose but never get any benefit from it.

Let's take car ownership as another example.

Regular car maintenance preserves the PC of the vehicle, preventing expensive repairs or future accidents. But if you spend all your time modifying the car and rarely drive it, then you're not receiving the benefits of owning it.

Find a balance between maintaining your production capacity and using it to produce the best results.

Apply the P/PC Balance to These 3 Types of Assets

You can apply the P/PC balance to three types of assets: physical, financial, and human.

Let's cover each.

Physical Assets

Your physical assets include any object you own and prize—a computer, house, clothing, and other tools or equipment.

These items add value to your life. If these assets break or stop working, they lose the ability to create value. For instance, virus protection and regular software updates improve the production capacity of your computer. They can prevent data loss, improve performance, and patch security holes. And ultimately, it ensures your computer runs smoothly and can be used to produce value (especially if you're a remote worker).

Finding the P/PC balance for physical assets maximizes its effectiveness and protects your investments.

Financial Assets

Your financial assets include anything that contributes to building wealth—your earning potential, rental properties, and other investments.

Financial assets lose the ability to create value if you don't properly maintain them. If you own rental properties, for instance, you'll want to reinvest capital into maintenance or upgrades.  This improves the long-term value of the property and prevents future headaches with tenants.

Or consider your earning potential. Developing your skills gives you the capacity for getting promotions or growing your business.

Failing to balance the P/PC of your financial assets will limit your monetary success.

Human Assets

Human assets involve your relationships—family, friends, colleagues, team members, and partners.

People control physical and financial assets, so a poor relationship can hurt your overall effectiveness.  A bad relationship with your team, for instance, could prevent you from growing your business. You can't produce desired results without maintaining healthy relationships.

Nurturing them requires time and effort, but it's necessary for being effective at work and in life.

Next Steps

The P/PC balance is a key principle of effectiveness.

It will help you get the most out of your physical, financial, and human assets.  By maintaining these assets and using them to produce desired results, you can achieve greater success in your life.  It's the difference between short-term thinking and long-term success.

Want to learn more about how to use time management to enhance your life? Check out our article: The Fourth Generation of Time Management: How To Better Invest Your Time.

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