tools August 16, 2018

Filling an Empty Toolbox


The convention in many video games is for the players to begin with only a few rudimentary tools or weapons and then increase their arsenal as they complete more complex challenges. Administrative positions are amazingly similar. Most of us start out with few, if any, tools in our leadership toolboxes and add resources only as we mature, gain more experience, receive appropriate training, and learn from our mistakes. In fact, we make a lot of those mistakes initially, largely because our repertoire of administrative strategies is so small. In the familiar adage that’s been attributed to practically everyone from Mark Twain to Abraham Maslow, “To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” So if something has worked once to solve a problem—creating a task force, working with opinion leaders behind the scenes, or simply forging ahead by making a decision ourselves—we keep doing that until the time comes when that approach fails—perhaps spectacularly and destructively.