Sharpening the saw


To illuminate the point of these posts, let’s take the classic Steven Covey tale.

We have a woodchopper who is from the southern part of Lithuania. (This made-up tidbit is totally irrelevant). In the story, the lumberjack is sawing away and noticing that he is accomplishing less than he used to. So, like the good Lithuanian Lumberjack that he is, he saws harder. However, the harder he saws, the more he dulls the blade. But he is blind to what is happening. This well-intentioned, but rather dull lumberjack just keeps sawing harder and accomplishing less. It was a truly dullicious situation. (That was a pun.) Does this situation sound familiar?

For business people, working harder and producing less is a common pitfall. What’s missing for the lumberjack is the realization that his saw needs to be sharpened in order to keep up his level of productivity. Yet, given how he thinks, there would be no time for sharpening because he is so driven to produce. So he continues to saw, even though he might find himself getting board in the process. (Sorry, another pun.)

I find that when my own saw gets dull, getting away — really getting away — has been a way to sharpen and refocus. New ideas and vistas open up in the process of truly leaving my routine behind. New perspectives appear that bless me with fresh creativity and vigor.

This sounds spiritual and metaphysical, and while I would love to go there because it would make me look like a guru or Gandhi or something (and I love the turban and loincloth look, especially when bare chests are involved), this getting-away mandate is not complicated. In fact, it is simple: get yourself stimulated.

Go to Antarctica – CEO Noah did this.

Climb Kilimanjaro – That is what CEO Suzie did.

Help Puerto Rico recover – Executive Judy did that.

Just make sure that you are awake to the miracle of this planet. It’s good for your business, and it is good for you.

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