Use tools to help you, not hinder you

A friend and I are building a house. Some days more than 50% of our time is spent fixing the tools before starting actual construction. I find myself asking questions when this happens.

Similarly, I read a strategy plan for a national team in our organization once that contained the following:

  • SWOT / BEEM analysis
  • Capacity audit
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Resource audit
  • Forcefield analysis
  • Balanced scorecard
  • Portfolio analysis

All very well. I concluded that a member of that team was taking an MBA.

Three years later I visited the country that wrote that strategic plan. We could hardly do any work at all because the internet didn’t work and people either didn’t have computers, or the computers they did have did not work in any reasonable timeframe.

I found myself asking questions in my head about their strategic plan.

Does it take 7 types of analysis to determine that the internet should be fixed and working computers supplied to staff?

Do you find yourself trying to fit the tool to your application, or does the tool IMMEDIATELY help you?

If the tool doesn’t help you immediately, then do something else. A tool is something that is supposed to make your work more effective, not less effective. If you spend more time playing with, or arguing about, a tool then do something different as you lead strategically.

Any tools hindered rather than helped you in strategic leadership? Leave a comment with things that helped and things that slowed you down.

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