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You Have The Right Tools—Your People

 In Communication, Leadership, Strategic Planning
By Tyler Head

How we start does not have to determine how we finish, but it is highly important.

When I was 19, amid the early days of college and starting my first business, I had a side hustle working for a car detail shop, hoping it would provide a steady income while starting my own business. As a detailer of automobiles, I observed the day-to-day operations. I consumed much information on the importance of process from start to finish while noticing an immense value placed on preparation, specifically how you start a detail.

During my time at this job, I was a catchall. My day ranged from retrieving cars, dropping cars off, picking up peanut butter and jelly crackers from the gas station, washing tires, buffing out scratches and rims—to you name it. If you haven’t had PB&J crackers, respond with your name and address. I’ll send you some. Furthermore, I will never forget the day when I was tasked to start working on a car that had just come in. My boss was a patient man, kind and easy-going, not to be mistaken for a pushover. He was detailed, thorough, and believed sincerely in the power of preparation, and he trusted the process. Shortly after he asked me to work on this car, I went over to grab what I thought I would need to get the job done and get it done right. About 20-30 minutes into the clean, my boss walked out of the shop’s front door, pulled me aside, and started in with a couple of questions. Specifically inquiring as to why I was doing things the way I was, his questions were genuine curiosity and understanding. During that attentive and re-directing conversation, he helped me conclude that even though I had all the right tools for the job, my preparation had been off—way off. I was running back and forth from garage bay to equipment cart, from one side of the car to the other. Aside from my newness, my preparation had not set me up for success in that endeavor.

As he walked through the method and tasked me with giving it another go, a truth that still rings true today began to take shape in my head, people have a uniqueness to them, but that doesn’t negate the necessity of preparation. “Often, we as CEOs and high-level leaders have ALL the tools to get the job done, whatever that job maybe, but we negate a very integral part—preparation.” Abraham Lincoln is famously known for saying, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

The question here is not whether or not you have the right tools. If you have people in your organization, you have the right tools.

The question is—Are we leading with excellent preparation and equipping our people to do the same? Are we helping them prepare for what may come their way? Are we helping them discover the right skill-set to develop? Are we providing opportunities for your employees to develop as whole people? Are we taking the time on the forefront to ensure our organization can see what winning looks like? Our people are smart, capable, and motivated—that is standard equipment on all humans. How and where that gets directed is up to us. As leaders, this is our responsibility.

From top to bottom, bottom to top, and everything between, clarity on what winning looks like takes time, contributing voices, adequate preparation, and the courage to take others where they would not or could not go on their own. How you own that space is up to you.

As a group of people who care deeply about growing organizations as a whole, we’d love to facilitate this process with you—it all starts with preparation. And we call that creating clear direction, which typically begins with strategic planning. Our approach and engagement of your people in that process are unlike what you may be accustomed to. Because we start with the right tools, your people, and go out from there.

If any of this rings true for you and you’d like to talk more about what this could look like for your organization, click here and let’s get together for a Strategy Session.

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