The Longevity of the Temporary

Here’s an important point for decision-making from Drucker’s The Effective Executive (129):

One of the most obvious facts of social and political life is the longevity of the temporary. British licensing hours for taverns, for instance, French rent controls, or Washington “temporary” government buildings, all three hastily developed in World War I to last “a few months of temporary emergency” are still with us fifty years later.

The effective decision-maker knows this. He too improvises, of course. But he asks himself every time, “If I had to live with this for a long time, would I be willing to?” And if the answer is “no,” he keeps on working to find a more general, a more conceptual, a more comprehensive solution–one which establishes the right principle.

  • Brian Phillips

    Reminds me of something an old farmer who lived down the road from my family used to say, “There’s nothing as permanent as a temporary fence.”