Monday, March 1, 2010

Swiss Army Knife - Management Lessons Intro.

What is old yet hasn't aged, has hardly changed since it's conception, is an essential item for Boy Scouts and was made popular in a TV program?

After posting a photo of a Swiss Army Knife it got me thinking. Could I use the army knife with it's many tools, facets and quirks as an analogy and an illustration for managers.

The answer? Yes. Yes I can. (LOL)

In order to appreciate the knife we must first understand it's history and where it has come from. Here are some facts about the knife -

  • The knife is 125 years old. Great designs, functionality and usefulness make the knife an essential item.

  • The knife was originally designed to provide soldiers with - a knife, a can opener, a reamer and a corkscrew. These tools enabled to the soldiers to complete a wide variety of tasks including the assembly of their weapons.

  • There are five main variations on the original model.

  • MacGyver made the knife glamorous by showing off it's usefulness while trying to get out of many a sticky situation.

So what can we learn/apply so far?

  • Usefulness and adaptability lasts. If you are useful and can adapt to different situations - you will always be in hot demand. The ability to apply yourself in arrange of ways is the best trait to have!

  • Train and gain competence and expertise in about four or five different areas. Those areas can be overlapping or poles apart. The main thing is to make sure you have a range of skills and not just one skill.

  • There are basic skills and competencies that can be carried over across all managers and managerial positions. Find out what those are and work on them.

  • Situations that allow you to apply your skills practically is a good thing. MacGyver was always getting himself into sticky situations. What did he do? Every time he went back to basics and used the tools he had to change his situation.

Keep reading the blog as I work my through the basic elements of design and functionality of the knife. Learn with me lessons on management and managing that you can apply now!

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