Jason Lauritsen - Crushing talent dogma to free human potential

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Time to Replace our Broken Tools

Last night, we decided to give my two year old son, Colton, a haircut.  Fortunately, he’s a kid that looks good with a buzz cut because that’s the only haircut we know how to make happen.  So, in preparation, I went to the closet and pulled out the old hair clippers that had been given to us by my parents.

As we started the haircut, it became pretty clear that these clippers had outlived their effectiveness.  They weren’t cutting the hair very well.  They seemed to be pulling my son’s hair.  And, they were incredibly inefficient.  It was going to take us a long time to finish this haircut and it became pretty clear that the end result wasn’t probably going to be pretty.  So, I jumped in my car and went off to the store to get a new hair clipper.  Once home with the new clipper, we started the process again.  This time, the hair came right off–no hair pulling.  It took no time at all to finish and my son’s new buzz cut looks great.

I had the right tool the whole time, but the first clippers were ineffective and had outlived it’s usefulness.  The consequence was inefficiency, poor quality results, and pain for my son who was on the other end of the tool.  Once I got the right tool in my hand, the entire process completely changed for the better.  Great results, quickly and without any pain for my son.

How many of our people tools at work could be described the same way?  Right tool, but outdated or broken approach.

  • Performance appraisal?
  • Classroom training?
  • Interviews?
  • Employee surveys? 
These are just four examples of tools that are unquestionably important, but where outdated and ineffective approaches are still being clung onto within our organizations.  And, while it may be difficult to recognize the flaws by looking only at the tool itself, if you ask those who the tools are being used on, they will tell you that they are feeling the pain. 
Perhaps it’s time to head to the store (or the drawing board) to find a new tool that is more efficient, effective and less painful for our people.  
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  1. Philip C Borker

    to state the unspoken…People, or better the roles people have, can be tools; broken and in need of replacement…

  2. Jason Lauritsen

    Great point, Philip. Add job descriptions to the list. In fact, many of the "tools" we use to define how work happens are in need of replacement.

Jason Lauritsen