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The Hammer and the Screw
2019-06-07
By J. Ruehl

If you hit a screw with a hammer, you would expect to achieve a rather suboptimal result. Hardly anyone would debate that point. If, for some reason, you still keep hammering and this screw stubbornly refuses to cooperate, it might be time to think of some alternatives. A screwdriver might be a better tool or a nail might be a better replacement. But that is just obvious, right?

It would be reasonably safe to assume that everyone has tried to hit a symbolic screw with the equivalent hammer. I know that I most certainly have. It might have been because of simplicity or ease of access. But we know that just reaching out for the hammer would ignore our ambitions of looking for something that fits the purpose.

All of us have this urge to open new doors and look at what’s behind. Deep inside, we know that the attributes of the hammer, be it the strength, the durability, or the price, are all irrelevant when facing the spiral ridges of the screw. It might be a metaphor for the task at hand. But it could also relate to something larger. Especially, when it comes to matching employees to their job functions.

Some employees have an innate ability to optimise, while some thrive in a defined structure. It would be equally suboptimal to surround the optimiser by procedures as it would be to throw the structured one into a pool full of vagueness of scope.

Everyone possesses unique qualities. Having a mismatch between the hammer and the screw helps no one. If you ask a basketball player to ride a racehorse or a jockey to shoot some hoops, you might just end up hammering a bigger hole or, even worse, breaking the screw!
 
 
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