A while back my wife Sharon asked me to fix a kink in one of her favorite necklaces. As I tried to get the necklace fixed I quickly realized this wasn’t your average knot. It was some kind of super knot. The necklace was small and it was tangled in such a way that I couldn’t even decipher where to try and unwind it. Add to that my eyesight isn’t the greatest anymore and this was proving to be a much more difficult task than anticipated.
Usually you would start with some needle nose pliers and try and find a place where the necklace has some give to it and then unravel it from there. On this occasion with the necklace as thin as it was and the lack of any give in any direction, we needed to try a different approach. Also, since I couldn’t really see how the knot was formed, I had to try something a bit outside of the box. So I called on a couple of unique “tools” to help me with the task at hand.
First, I took a photo of the know with my cell phone (unique tool number one). Then I enlarged the photo so I could actually see how the necklace was tangled. Once I could see from the picture how it may be possible to undo the knot, I then called on the second unique tool. Nail clippers.
I retrieved two small nail clippers and used their sharp corner edges to start pulling the knot apart, like mini pliers. Slowly but surely the game plan started to work and the necklace straightened itself out. It took a while, but eventually the knot was gone, all with the help of two tools that were never built for a task like this.
So the question for all of us is this…..
What tools do you have at your disposal that could be used for an entirely different task?
We can tell you firsthand that PEOPLE have many different skills (or tools) beyond those that they are deploying today. Over my career, we have seen several examples of this. Our marketing guy turned out to be a great events person. Our operations leader had some insane graphic skills we didn’t know about when we hired her. One team member built an algorithm to help crunch some data (we didn’t even know he could write code).
Talk to your people. Figure out if they have a unique tool in their toolkit that you can use to advance your organization. If they don’t have one now, find a way to help them develop a new skill.
You don’t need a tangled necklace to uncover a new way to do things.