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  • Writer's pictureScott Francis

Power Tools

I'm not very handy, but I can accomplish small to medium home improvement projects. The other day, I was using a power drill with a screw driver attachment to mount some brackets to a wall and wasn't paying enough attention. I failed to grip the drill/driver with enough force. I pulled the trigger and was rewarded with a loud BRRRRRRAPPPP!

The drill had started to twist, moving my hand to the side, the driver bit popped out of the screw, beginning to strip the head of the screw. I had to pay a lot more attention to get it out & start over with a different screw.

This little mishap reminded me of my early attempts to help others along the path of self-improvement. I happened to be working in a team environment that could be charitably described as "sub-optimal." All around me, I saw miscommunication, misalignment, and mistrust.

I had come from a different work unit, with really high performance, and had received some great training on communication, teamwork, & leadership. On top of that, I did a lot of outside reading on the subjects, and had years of experience leading teams. But my initial efforts to provide some course-correction for the sub-optimal team was met with the social equivalent of the BRRRRRRAPPPP! sound from my recent home-improvement project. In the case of the power drill, I wasn't providing enough stability for the drill to do it's job.

Likewise, in the new team, I was not stable enough in that position to have enough leverage to create change.

I had to start over, building trust. Showing that my motives were pure, that I said what I meant, and would follow through. I had to embody the changes I wanted to see before I could ask others to follow me. And I had to do it so clearly and consistently that there was no doubt about me in my teammates eyes.

I had to be stable in order to make it safe enough for others to change.

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