In 2005, I bought my first house. I was a young teacher who probably had no business buying a house, but I saw it as an investment – an opportunity to invest some sweat equity to supplement my meager teacher’s salary.
Inevitably, the only house that I could really afford, even with my parents' financial support, was a fixer-upper.
It was indeed a fixer upper.
The house had been a rental for the 30 years and needed A LOT of work.
The porch was rotting out, the foundation had cracked and settled, so the whole front of the house leaned forward. There were rats in the basement, and on-and-on.
I was young, energetic, maybe a bit naive, but all in all ready for the challenge.
Thanks to books, the internet, lots of trips to the hardware store, some willing friends, hired help, and significant loans, I turned the house around in 3 years to sell for a profit.
One of the key lessons I learned was–YOU HAVE TO USE THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB.
If you don’t use the right tools for the job, you end up making a mess of things, and you have to go back and do some major repairs, or you have to start all over buying new.
Yesterday, I kicked off yet another book circle on the book Think Again by Adam Grant.
In the preface of the book, he tells the story of a group of smoke-jumpers (forest firefighters) who perished because they weren't able to think again about dropping their tools, so that they could run faster and avoid getting swallowed up in the flames.
In our first session yesterday, I invited the participants to write down 2 roles that they play in life, and then brainstorm the various tools that they use to be their best in each role.
Then, they went into break-out rooms to discuss these questions:
>> Have there been any situations where these tools have gotten you in “trouble”? What were they?
>> What are situations in which it would be best to drop your tools?
It was a group of executive coaches, and one of the ideas that they try to convey to their clients is that "What got you here, won't get you there."
Essentially, the tools you used yesterday, may not be the tools you need today, or even tomorrow.
Unfortunately, many of us (me included) sometimes chose a tool from our toolbox that is a bad fit. A tool that leads to greater discord and greater distrust.
There are other times when we reach into our toolbox and realize that something is missing. We know that this tool won’t work because we have tried it before, or that this other one won’t work either.
So then what do we do?
Well, we go shopping for new tools, AND we spend the time practicing how, when, and where to use them to have the desired effect.
What is a favorite tool in your work?
Originally posted on Linkedin with comments.
Read Deeper Not Faster
I am Theresa Destrebecq (I dare you to try to pronounce it...)