What’s in Your Toolbox?

Building your repertoire of metal and skill | By: Kristen Haldeman | March 2, 2019

A father carries the laundry to the washer to find that the washer makes that funny noise that only washers make. Reaching for the tool box, he grabs the manual and an old pair of gloves. The wrench tightens the bolt in the back. The hammer bends a piece of metal back into shape. He refers to the manual to ensure proper technique. Two screwdrivers act as a pair of long pliers to remove a colony of dust bunnies. And, according to the tape measure, the amount of already piled up laundry says that he needs to find a bigger space before baby number five arrives. He places the gloves on the shelf beside the manual and the toolbox. The dirty work is completed, well, except for the laundry.

“Think of the tools in a tool-box: there is a hammer, pliers, a saw, a screwdriver, a rule, a glue-pot, nails and screws. -- The function of words are as diverse as the functions of these objects.” - Ludwig Wittgenstein

The metaphor of a toolbox illustrates the importance of continual preparation for the unknown and the unexpected. Simple tools carry the potential to solve significant problems if properly used. While each tool has a unique function, the tool can be used in a variety of situations. Circumstances can be complex but determination and dedication result in a smoother functioning system.

Tools are not always physical ones manufactured from metal. In business, and in relationships, the tools in the toolbox are interpersonal skills that allow us to navigate specific situations. For example, conflict management should be a tool readily available. Be mindful, however, that the specific approach of conflict management is practiced in the appropriate situation. A Phillips screwdriver is not helpful when the screw fits a slotted one, even though they are both screwdrivers.

Other examples include a positive attitude, empathy, leadership, negotiation, and teamwork. At McCarley, we believe that incorporating the values of patience, dedication and prioritizing optimize potential for success.

Google has 91,300,000 results on how to effectively build a toolbox of both metal and skill kinds. What’s in yours and how can we help to improve it?

Michelle Martinez