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The Right Tool for the Wrong Job

January 19, 2022 By The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

It was the start of the summer of 2020. We were in full pandemic lock down mode and I had intense cabin fever. I was stuck in the house with a then 15 and 6 year old. The cold Wisconsin weather was finally conceding. Grass was getting greener, plants were popping through the soil and the birds were chirping. Especially the birds that decided the cherry blossom tree right outside my office window was the hottest new hangout. I spent a few days getting more and more agitated by the constant sound of cheep, tweet, chirp. 

We talked about losing our cool back in December in the article, “Boiling Point”. I admitted that sometimes I am the one that just can’t keep the frustration in. That day was one of them. I stormed outside, grabbed a manual pole saw and started cutting off branches. I cut and cut all the way till there was nothing but a stump. It took hours. Blood was shed. Bruises were formed. Judgy stares from my neighbors were given. 

I got the job done, and for that I was proud. However, I could have done the job in a quarter of the time, with a lot less blood, sweat and tears, had I used the right tool. I defied the age old adage of, “work smarter, not harder.” 

As owners, managers and co-workers, we strive to provide and use the enhanced tools that are at our disposal. We create better, quicker, easier ways to get the job done. We text instead of fax, we email important documents rather than relying on the postal service. And yet, the new CRM system isn’t being used to its full capability because it’s not understood. The shiny new tool the shop provided sits untouched because the tech has to go get it AND return it.  The new process that was implemented isn’t being followed because it’s new. 

We provide an upgraded tangible piece of equipment or a new way of doing something to increase productivity and efficiency, yet why do they sit collecting dust? How do you push your team to adapt and embrace attempts at growth? 

  • Sell It! – Pump up the team. Make your people excited to utilize the equipment. Take the time to explain the benefits not just for the company but for the user as well. For example, “Sari, I know you are afraid of the chainsaw, but you could have cut down four trees in that time frame. With all that saved time, you could have had time to mow the lawn as well.” Give them a reason to WANT to use it, not just because you said they have to.
  • Provide a Demo – Making sure that your team knows how to use the tool removes the fear. People may do things the old way simply because it works and they are used to it. Showing them the new way allows them to see that it not only works, but works better. 
  • Make It Accessible – If the tool is inconvenient, out of the way or hard to use, it simply won’t get used. Ensure that the cost of using the tool does not outweigh its benefits. 
  • Accept failure – Hear your people. Request feedback and ask questions. Tweak what can be tweaked or return what’s not cutting it. Sometimes what you think will get the job is actually a hindrance. Do not put your staff in a position where they have to rebel. 

Without progress we would still be recording music onto cassette tapes, waiting our turn for the internet line and maybe actually have to go to the grocery store. 

Well, I was going to churn some butter, but I suppose I’ll just order it.

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