Liz found an interesting article that related the Broken Windows theory to "debt" that builds with buggy software. At some point, the bugs come on faster than they can be fixed and the debt spirals out of control, just as the first unfixed broken window leads to more and more degradation in a neighborhood. Liz then makes the concept personal:
I’ve been in organizational debt for a long time now. It will take me a while to climb out of the hole, but I’m determined to do it—at home and at work. This week I’ve had a taste of what debt-free living could feel like, and it’s awfully nice.
This makes me recall the Covey idea of the emotional bank account in dealing with interpersonal relationships. So long as I keep the accounts topped up, I can get away with the occasional misbehavior with my friends and colleagues. Emotions don't work like money, however, and frequent withdrawals have a potentially disastrous effect on our relationship, regardless of how much I put back into it. In all cases, the accounts need to be actively managed to prevent irreversible meltdown.