The secret to using a hammer…


Sometimes a big hammer is the best tool for the job, but only if you’re using it the right way!

This past weekend I headed down to my parent’s house to meet up with my brothers and do some ‘clean-up’ around the house.  It was great to see everyone and other than the 95 degree heat and the 95% humidity it was a good weekend to get some stuff done.

One of the big jobs that needed to be done was taking down an old metal shed building that was out behind the house.  I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that shed was close to 40 years old – it was primarily made of aluminum with an all metal frame on a concrete base.  After that much time, it was full of all sorts of junk, old wood, lots of spiders and a couple of other critters.  It took a while, but we got everything out and then it was time to start demolition on the structure.

We quickly found out a few things: 

-  For a really old shed, it was in remarkably good shape with very few weak points. 

-  Saws that cut metal are pretty cool, but really loud and tend to burn through blades quickly.

-  A sledgehammer – used properly was the easiest way to bring the shed down in pieces!

My brother had brought along a really cool metal saw that seemed like the best tool for the job.  However we found out the saw worked but it was tricky and had a tendency to get fouled up.  What worked best was a well placed swing of a sledgehammer  – that could quickly knock out the bolts holding the panels together.  Knock out 3 of them and the panel came free.  It was hot, dirty and tiring work, but once we figured out the trick of it, things moved along pretty quickly.  (And there was something cathartic about swinging that hammer…!).

What does this have to do with anything related to business?  A few things struck me as we were working on this shed (not literally, but you know what I mean…):

Find the right tool if you really want to get the job done.

We cut our time in half once we figured out how to use the hammers vs. using the saw. 

Are there things you’re doing in your business where you’re not using the right tools?  Could you leverage a different approach for stuff that takes you a long time?

Even the right tool won’t help if it’s not focused.

Swinging the hammer wildly didn’t do anything (other than wear you out).  You could easily take a dozen swings in the wrong place and not make any progress…but if you took your time and focused in on what you were trying to do, a single well placed swing could pop a panel right off. 

Are you or your team swinging wildly at things or are you focused in on high leverage opportunities?

Anyway you go, it’s still hard work.

Even with the right tool and using it the right way, it was hard work.  But if you really want to get something done, that’s what it’s going to take. 

Do you have things on your to do list that you want done, but aren’t getting the effort needed to make it happen?

Bottom line – I’ve talked about it before, a recurring theme for success is the need to focus your efforts.  Be clear on what needs to be done and don’t try to do to many things at once and before you know it, that shed will be down and you’ll be on to the next big thing!

Have any stories about finding the right tools, or the right people to get the job done?  I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

photo by The National Guard (a guy who’s working way harder than I did…)