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18 2012

Can There Be Too Much Balance?

Syndicated from: balance-AND-results

Short answer: yes and no. It’s helpful to understand when or why. You can’t go wrong reflecting about balance in any and every situation. Doing so vastly improves perspective, which in turn enables better decisions and solutions. So in one sense there’s no such thing as ‘too much balance’ when trying to sort out objectives and directions. On the other hand (we talked about balancing paradoxes in the last posts) you don’t have to look far to see ‘paralysis by analysis’ in action and variations of it that are quite damaging. It’s important to learn to balance ideas so you know the pros and cons, but without letting it stand in the way of moving forward. For anything at all to happen you have to make decisions and take action. Reflecting on balancing or opposing ideas deepens understanding, but can’t be allowed to delay things – keep moving! An obvious example of this that’s getting a lot of press just now is the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff in the US. The political parties promised immediately after the election (or perhaps promised isn’t the word – more like they advised the opposing party) to moderate their positions and find a balance in order to avoid the dreaded ‘fiscal cliff’ of automatic tax hikes and cuts that will occur as old exemptions disappear in January. Anyone hearing this would be amazed at the emphasis on the need for balance – how laudable, but how unlike anything we’ve seen recently in US politics! Anyone with half a brain listening to this, of course, knew what the outcome would be – that in the two subsequent weeks it would take to regroup, each party would reinforce their intransigence and find abundant reasons to recall what they knew before – that the other party is completely wrongheaded and stubborn so the only possible course is to maintain a completely stubborn adherence to your original principles. There are few voices calling for a true balance. Fortunately the President is one, but unfortunately, nearly the only one it seems at times. US Democracy regrettably doesn’t seem to mean the winning party gets to do what it wants for four years or even four weeks. The vaunted system of ‘checks and balances’ works only too well. Atypically in the last Bush administration, they were able to piggyback on and accelerate a vast external crisis. More often the losing party will simply redouble its efforts to stonewall any action at all since it doesn’t have the power to enforce what IT wants. Unfortunately the US federal houses are so ‘balanced’ by equal numbers supporting each that neither can do anything much except by occasional lucky breaks. Balance in this case means stasis, stuck, no movement at all, which is potentially deadly when the country that is their strongest competitor has an authoritarian ability to move in productive directions. So here’s the biggest paradox of all – balance needs balance, too. Sometimes you have to look at all the alternatives and take ONE. You can’t go down all roads at once. You can’t hesitate on the cusp of action, balancing all the alternatives indefinitely. Balance must be ‘balance in action’ not stasis. Keep moving forward, or in a direction that aligns with what you believe is most likely to be forward… and keep balancing the alternatives as you go… but GO! I’m not so sure the Republicans lost so much because they failed to court diverse constituencies as because they represent an ideology that stands against change of many sorts – the one type of ‘balance’ none of us can afford. Bookmark and share this post More »

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