Do you have a favorite tool? It could be a kitchen tool, such as a knife, or a garden tool, such as a pair of pruning shears, or an automotive tool, such a torque wrench. Or perhaps your favorite tool is an iPad or a MacBook Air or a Samsung phone or a pair of Adidas soccer boots. Some of you may have a favorite sewing machine or printer or Bible or flashlight or camera or curling iron. Regardless of your profession, hobbies and general interests, you undoubtedly have a favorite tool, a resource if you will.
My current favorite is a John Deere riding mower. It helps me cut almost 1 acre of grass quickly. Prior to getting the John Deere, I used a Toro push mower and it took almost 4 hours (ok, the grass was REALLY tall the one day I used the push mower). Now, I can cut the grass in 45 minutes, a savings of over 3 hours! You see why it’s my new favorite tool?
The last time I had a riding mower (or lawn tractor) was 15 years ago. We moved from Tennessee to Arizona and I donated the mower to a local charity. If you’re not familiar with the geographical differences, Tennessee has lots of grass (that needs to be cut twice a week in the summer) and Arizona has minimal grass. I didn’t need the riding mower in Arizona. During these last 15 years, we’ve lived in South Carolina, North Carolina, the Philippines, Kentucky, and now Connecticut. I’ve either had small yards, boys at home who could cut the grass or someone who would cut it for a small fee (in the Philippines our house came with a gardener and he cut the grass with hand shears – amazing!). But all that is in the past and now I’m in Connecticut with almost 1 acre of grass that needs cut, no gardener and no boys at home to cut the grass. It’s either my wife or me. You guessed it. It’s me. So I recently bought a riding mower.
Some people love the experience of cutting grass. It’s relaxing for them, almost therapeutic. It’s not that way for me. It’s a job and I look forward to getting it done efficiently and effectively. I don’t want to spend 4 hours cutting the grass each week and I don’t want to pay someone $100 to do it. The John Deere riding mower was the perfect solution, the right tool for the job. Now I can cut the grass in 45 minutes, save $100, and get on with my life. Anyone else feel this way?
A couple days ago while cutting the grass, I starting thinking about the riding mower and how critical it is for leaders to provide the right tools and resources to others in our organizations. Knowing when to provide the right tool is critical to organization effectiveness and efficiency.
If you’re a chef, you know how challenging (and dangerous) it is to use a dull knife. If you’re a pilot or a ship captain, you know how critical it is to have updated maps and navigational equipment (did I tell you that the US Navy ran a ship onto a delicate and protected reef in the Philippines while we lived there because they had outdated maps?). If you’re a guitar player, you know you need high quality strings. And on and on it goes. To produce quality and to it efficiently, you need the right resources and you need them at the right time. Leaders ensure their organizations have the tools and resources they need, at the right time, to get the job done.
For many corporate organizations, necessary resources are iPads, mobile phones, desktop computers, and computer systems. For military organizations, necessary resources include modern, reliable weaponry. For athletic organization, necessary resources include updated training facilities and gear.
Regardless of the organization you’re in, as a leader, you need to know when to provide the right resources, tools that will yield higher efficiency and productivity. You also need to know what resources to provide.
You can’t cut 1 acre of grass in 45 minutes with pruning shears. And you can’t play a guitar using baling twine. World-class leaders equip their teams and organizations for success. Do you?
As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.
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