Tools Can Make the Difference

October 14, 2011 — Leave a comment

The longer I live the more I appreciate the value of having the right tool for the job at hand.

This morning Omar is tiling our master bathroom. In less than 90 minutes he removed our old toilet, stripped off two ancient layers of linoleum, pulled up all the baseboards and cleared away all the old glue.

When we tackled the first two bathrooms in DIY projects it took us the better part of a day on each one to accomplish the same results.

Omar has been doing this for 17 years. He has just a few tools, but they are the right ones. It’s amazing how quickly a job can get done when one has the right tools.

I’ve experienced this in my hobbies of cycling and music. Pulling the bottom bracket on my Cannondale road bike or smoothing out the worn frets on my Taylor guitar would take forever without the right wrench or luthier’s fret file. Trying to do the job with the wrong tool would probably result in stripped threads or a scratched fretboard. I’ve discovered it’s worth the money to invest in the right tools. Avoiding those kinds of problems also makes it a lot easier to walk in the Spirit.

The same is true at work. When I continually get stopped by not having the right tool or knowledge of how to use that tool, I have one of two good options. The first is to schedule some time in the calendar to become proficient in the tool (such as Excel or Twitter or a new phone’s OS). Eventually I can ignore the tool and focus on what I want to do. The second option is to support and follow a team member’s lead in letting them do what I cannot do or choose not to learn (such as our complicated financial reporting software) so we can get on with the mission.

I guess a third option would be to continue being inefficient, frustrated, unproductive or irrelevant.

Thanks, Omar, for the great life lesson today.



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