“Tools were made and born were hands. Every farmer understands.”— William Blake

“Ahhhhh,” I happily sighed.

New running shoes are such a delight for me and these fit just right. They are light and felt fast in my test run in the store.

Their bold and bright colors are just right for my running.
The hard trick is getting out there and using them, and using them well.

Purchasing new tools for your business is a similar but even more risky challenge. The risks are two-fold.

Will your purchase be used? I have seen shoes and tool purchased with high hopes but quickly shelved because they were not quite the right fit.

Will they become a fancy distraction? I have seen runners not running in their new shoes because they didn’t want their shoes dirtied.  I have seen teams focus on making the usage of their tool look “beautiful” while losing track of the real purpose of the purchase.

When seeking new tools, keep the following in mind.

  • Decide whether it is time for something new.  Is what you are using no longer working well?  Is the new tool promising more speed to the value you seek?
  • Try out the tool for the purpose you intend.  The first pair of shoes I tried on felt great –– until I ran on the treadmill.   Work to find the right fit to your primary purpose.
  • Have an escape plan. It is too easy to be stubborn and try to make a purchase work even when it is clearly NOT working.  Before you make the purchase, be clear what criteria will cause you to STOP and rethink. Blisters should NOT happen even in new running shoes.
  • Fear not the mud. Once a tool is in use, things will start to get a bit dirty. A database expert once told me “there is always dirty data.”  Tools are made to be used.  Use them.

It has been raining here. It is time for my shiny new shoes to get a bit muddy.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.