(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. They recently announced that they had once again been named a Top Place to Work by The Boston Globe in the newspaper’s ninth-annual employee-based survey project. Congrats to Kronos and enjoy the post!)
There’s a popular phrase attributed to Abraham Maslow that says, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It’s also known as the law of the instrument, a reference to over-reliance on a single tool.
There are some tools that we should rely upon often because they’re flexible to many situations and produce results. I’d like to think the SMART acronym falls into this category. We can use it in project management, goal setting, and even meeting minutes. But even then, we have to be careful. New tools could work better, faster, or both.
Then, there are other tools that we should use only for their intended purpose. The first one that comes to mind are assessments. They are designed and validated for a specific purpose. Even if we love the results, it would be inappropriate to use the assessment for activities it’s not properly aligned with.
I know it’s very tempting to reach for our familiar instrument or favorite tools. Work is crazy busy. Our plates are full. There’s no time to just explore and learn. But somehow we have to find time to test drive new ways of doing things. Even if it’s for 10 minutes a day.
The good news is we can ask others for help. We can read blogs to learn about new tools. We can crowdsource solutions using social media and community. Every time we want to explore a new tool, we don’t need to start at the beginning. Our network can help us.1