Once more we are given a template for wise decision making, over the top productivity, and a cohesive business model through the simplicity of the Wisdom of Three. To understand this lesson all one needs is to consider the ordinary wood screw.
The screw is a mechanical marvel based on the working principles of the helix. It has only three parts, the head, the shank, and the helix; each part, though separate and unique in functionality it is manufactured from one stock, contributing to the overall success of its use. This simple machine is commonly used in construction to accomplishing three goals; binding, strengthening, or stabilizing two piece of material to one another.
Somehow it also picked up a negative connotation of describing a deal gone bad as “getting screwed”. I guess this proves that we can find good and bad in every situation. In this article, we will apply the Wisdom of Three in a very positive way, as a comparison between this everyday machine and the management of a productive team. Again, three uncomplicated concepts will provide a simple-to-follow, proven game plan of success for business units.
Let’s begin at the top; the head of the screw is the driving point of the machine. Without it the machine is incapable of being driven deep enough into the target material in order to accomplish its goals. Having a multitude of diverse designs, the head can be conformed as a hexagon, Phillips, standard grove, Allen head or even star shaped. The most important aspect of selecting the design is to insure that the power tool twisting the machine is able to make a compatible connection; the two must be able to work effectively together.
It is the head of the screw which acts as the pivotal point of focus in determining the angle of the drive and intensity of the pressure being transferred through the shank. The angle and pressure established by the power tool will determine the direction the shank will take. Too much pressure will cause damage to the machine, too little will be ineffective; returning a limited yield. The direction of the angle must be in exact alignment with the shank so that the pressure can be equally distributed. If the angle is off, damage will occur at the point of contact between the head and the power tool. If the angle is true, less effort and stress will be needed to get the job done. If the tool and the machine are not compatible or if the power tool or the head of the screw are damaged it will result in poor or limited results.
Now let’s turn to our example of a productive team. It is management who is responsible for accomplishing the three goals of any successful team endeavor; meeting deadlines, staying within budget requirements, and achieving a successfully accurate delivery. The project or sales manager, the screw head as the case may be, is the one who absorbs the direct pressure from leadership, the power tool, jointly directing the team in the right directions. It is extremely critical that leadership and management be a good working “fit”. In the paragraph above you read about the diversity found in the types of screw heads. If you notice, the type is not color or appearance driven since there can be multiple colors of each screw head type; having no bearing on the screws functionality. Similarly, in team development the appropriate fit has little to do with race, religion, or gender and everything to do with talents, skills, and abilities bound together with mutual respect, common values, and trust. Inappropriate hires and promotions continue to run rampant in our politically correct world. The problems caused by our failure to understand, communicate, and implement this simple principle produce the reasons leadership and management are misaligned; spinning off the byproducts of poorly execute initiatives, fostering a culture of poor attitudes, and many times, the erroneous belief of prejudicial treatment. This is especially true when you must apply the force necessary to accomplish tough goals.
Have you ever tried to drive a hexagon screw with a hammer?
It is impossible to accomplish the job. This incompatibility does not make either the screw (management) or the driver (leadership) bad; they are just not the right tools for that specific job.
When we examine the shank of the screw it is clear that this part is the strength and integrity of the machine. Once securely in place it is the shank that bears the weight of the job. If the shank is made of weaker material than the material that it is trying to penetrate it will sheer and break from the applied forces. To add further strength, the head and the shank are constructed as one unit from the same material so to provide unified might. You could say that the head is crafted from the shank.
As with any team, business, or family, the strength or biggest asset is always the people. They are the shank that holds the unit together when times get tough. The correlation between the shank of a screw and the head offers all leaders a great case study as to why management should be promoted from within the ranks of a successful team. When possible, this creates the very best opportunity for success and continuity of the winning team culture. However, there will be times when new stock must be brought in and mingled with the existing stock but never at the expense of quality.
The last part of the screw is the helix. In the same manner as the head, the helix is also one with the shank meaning the threads are cut from the same material as the rest of the machine. It is the tip of the helix that makes the first contact with material to which it is to pierce. Led to the correct positioning by the power of the tool, guided by the head, the force flows through the entire shank allowing the threaded spiral of the helix to penetrate the material of the job so the two pieces become one. Here too the amount of force is critical; too much torque will result in damage to the pieces of material that the machine is trying to improve. Any over aggressiveness will strip the material, shredding the matter leaving more damage than before the machine was used and making the machine and the hole it created useless.
In our analogy, the helix represents the moral/ethical values of the team. Just like with the screw, the first part of the team that makes a difference to the client is the values and character traits of the team members whom they interact with. It is the character traits and values of the members that either builds trust, binding the pieces together, or it causes further damage, leaving holes where none previously existed. Because the team is one unit, all parts of the unit must share a common set of values; from the leader driving the decisions, the management who guides the actions, and the other team members doing the actual work. Regardless of your role, your ethics and morals will add to or detract from the overall performance and outcome of the team.
With all this in play, we can also apply the lesson of the screw to our three branches of government. If our elected officials are true Solutionaries, using the Wisdom of Three in all their endeavors, they could easily surmise that superior results can be predicted and achieved when the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of our Republic come together as one. Each person, regardless of branch, should possess the appropriate understanding and allegiance to and of our Constitution; having the courage to embrace and uphold its integrity. Of course, the leader is our citizens who elect the manager, the President. Then it is through the supervision of a strong team of capable associates, the Legislators, who are entrusted to create the laws for all through a unified ethical and moral value system set forth in our Constitution and upheld by our Judicial Branch, working together to successfully achieve the common goals of the Country.
Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”
If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.