Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
We have all heard that expression. It’s an idiom (didn’t know what that was until I looked it up) derived from an old German proverb.
I thought about that expression one time when I was at our barn tending to my wood pile.
The barn is about 300 feet away from my house so that’s a good place to store all my firewood in the warm months. It’s a good spot to let it cure and then I move some closer to the house when the temperatures get below freezing.
Some years I am able to cut, split and stack more wood than I can burn in one or two winter seasons. By the third year the smaller pieces start to rot and I need to discard them.
On this particular day I decided it was time to get rid of the older pieces that were starting to rot. I have access to a small farm tractor and a trailer so I hitched up the trailer and was able to pull right up to the wood pile.
My first thought was to just scoop up the pile of smaller pieces that had some rot and dump the whole pile in trailer. That would have been the quick and easy thing to do. The pile filled a regular warehouse pallet and was about three feet high.
As I started to pick up the wood I noticed some of it was still good to burn. I estimated at least fifty percent if not more was OK. We have two wood stoves in our house, a fire pit in the backyard and my son had recently acquired a chimenea. At lot of this wood would be perfect for outside burning.
I took some extra time and picked out what I thought was salvageable and ended up with a nice pile of wood for burning outside during the warm weather months. That means I can save the best wood for inside burning during the cold months. When I was done I was pleased with the pile of wood I salvaged.
That’s when I thought here’s a good example of “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
This is a great example to convey to people in business who tend not to think about such things when making changes and fixing problems with their business.
You’ve probably seen them do it where you work.
Something goes wrong and a manager or co worker decides they are going to fix it.
They don’t take the time to sit down and assess the situation or determine what exactly went wrong or what may have gone right.
They make a snap judgment determining what went wrong and take the process and through it out. They decide if part of the process didn’t work the whole thing needs to go.
Authorized or not they make the wholesale changes.
Usually these changes will give them the specific benefits they want so they see no need to consult anyone else about the effects down the line.
It’s great that someone took action but their unilateral decisions usually result in the loss of months if not years of work by others. Work that corrected previous issues that the zealot manager was not aware existed.
They think they fixed what went wrong but in the process threw out the child and all the work by other people to make the child.
They disregarded all that time and money for their own quick fix.
Now they have to or I should say someone else has to go out and cut and split that lost skid of wood all over again.
When you’re making your big changes at work or anywhere make sure you’re not throwing the baby out with the bath water.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.