Measure twice, cut once. - Carpentry 101

I spent 2009 as an apprentice on an organic vegetable farm outside of Washington DC. I stepped away from my career at the height of an economic downturn despite my surviving the layoffs that shook through Williams Sonoma, where I was employed at the time. I had a vision of where the experience would lead me - towards owning and running a farm operation full time. That is not where I am today. The only evidence of that goal in my life today shows up in how I shop for my produce and the simple methods I use to prepare meals.

Four years later, I was extended a job offer (that I later declined) making 3x the salary I’d left behind at Williams Sonoma. In the final phase of my interview, I walked the executive team through a presentation I’d created, boldly titled “Everything I’ve Learned in Business, I Learned on the Field.”

What did I learn?

  • Farmers are the hardest working people in this country
  • Time is a valuable resource
  • No decision on a farm operation comes without precise reasoning
  • Survival depends on constant, small scale innovation
  • Business can shift dramatically by innovating on only 10% of your bottom line
  • Customer service is the best differentiator
  • There is no better drive for motivation that seeing the impact of your work
  • Communication is critical and poor communication is costly
  • Planning is a mandatory component for running a business
  • Unplanned things will always happen. Have a backup plan. And another.

What else?

Measure twice, cut once.

Slow down.

Action is rewarding, but action without planning has consequences.

You will accomplish more by being certain and thorough in what you want to accomplish.

In coaching clients today, I see so much urgency to take immediate action. We are addicted to having the answer and taking the action that we forget to pause. Leadership invites the pause. Leadership is measuring twice and cutting once.

This week, I encourage you to slow down in one area. Measure again. Know why you are doing what you are doing, then align the action.