I’d been meaning to write about this for the last few weeks. In fact, I first got the idea after the Washington Nationals made the playoffs for the first time in a long time. I immediately knew that there were going to be a number of articles written in trying to sway the management of the team to let Strasburg (the star pitcher) pitch in the playoffs. However, management had already decided that this particular pitcher had “reached his limit” and would no longer be pitching this season.
There are pros and cons to this, but I wanted to look at it for: “short-term gain vs. long-term sustainability.”
When we look at companies that have failed, often times, it’s because they sacrificed long-term sustainability for short-term profits. That is, they took a shortcut to make a quick buck without due consideration for how it was going to affect the company in the long-term. Or, maybe they did consider it, and just chose the short-term gains instead.
As I watched — painfully — the Nationals be eliminated from the playoffs a bit ago, I couldn’t help but reflect on this idea of short-term gains and long-term sustainability. Those folks who screamed for Strasburg to pitch kind of have a point. It’s possible that he Strasburg may get hurt at some point next season or the season after or that the Nationals will never get that opportunity to return to the playoffs. And it’s because of this that Strasburg should have been allowed to pitch.
Though, if I think about it from a ‘business’ perspective, the argument can be made that it’s best to “take care of your assets.” That is, if your company had a Ferrari, you wouldn’t necessarily overuse your Ferrari simply because you had a Ferrari. No, you would want to take care of that very expensive (and valuable) asset to reap the benefits over the long haul.
In sum, I don’t know how I would act if I were the General Manager of the Washington Nationals. However, I do think that this is a creative example in illustrating the difference between pursuing short-term gains or long-term sustainability.