January 24; Opportunity Cost and Organizational Goals
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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24 January

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.

Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost

to see if you have enough money to complete it?

Luke 14:28

Opportunity Cost and Organizational Goals

Strategic Resourcing

Germany had enough talent to research and assemble an atomic bomb at the beginnings of World War II . Why didn’t Hitler build it?

Hitler had a vision of world domination and had a nation filled with resourceful scientists. It is believed that Germany, at that time, had the highest per capita of Ph.D.s in the world.

Indeed, the discovery of nuclear fission was published in January of 1939 by German scientists. Otto Hahn, who is credited as “the father of nuclear chemistry,” and Friedrich Wilhelm “Fritz” Strassmann identified the process of blasting neutrons at uranium producing the barium byproduct. The Third Reich had the science of nuclear weaponry.

But Hitler didn’t build the bomb.

Albert Speer, his Minister of Armaments and War Production, suggested that Germany not do it. He calculated that design and bomb building would take every German scientist working non-stop for years to build and produce the weapons.

The Allied scientists also believed this. The Danish Niels Bohr was the leading physicist in the late 1930’s and was concerned about the resources needed to develop a nuclear weapon.  He said, “It can never be done unless you turn the United States into one huge factory.”

Speer and Bohr were not too far off. The USA’s Manhattan Project took some 4 years and employed 130,000 people.

Speer felt Germany would win the war before the bomb could be completed. His analysis of available resources — time, talent and treasure — might be difficult to manage in a big bomb project and it would not affect the war’s outcome anyway. Resource allocation away from conventional war materiels would slow The Third Reich’s ultimate victory, or so Speer reasoned.

He was right — but only on the timeline, and not the result. Germany would probably have run out of time and lost, no matter what was done with the nuclear program.

Speer had unique training that enabled this perspective. Before his elevation to directing strategy, Albert Speer was an architect. He was a builder who understood the budgeting of scarce resources.

Luke 14:28 reminds us, Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?

The CEO must count the cost and decide if the effort will advance the organizational goals.

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