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When You Are a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail

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I didn’t always understand that expression. But I do now. Because I’ve come to realize that in life and in work, we commonly make less than optimal decisions based on the hammer/nail paradigm. It’s a matter of perspective, a perspective formed by numerous factors such as our upbringing, environment, education, religion…and the list goes on. We tend to put forward solutions that our backgrounds suggest to us. It’s not programmed in our DNA. It’s learned. And as such, it can be unlearned.

In both interpersonal and business relationships, it pays to pause and think about what hammers the other people might be carrying. Because this will help you understand what they might be seeing as nails. And by the way, it’s also helpful to understand what hammers you’re carrying around with you.

You’ve probably seen this image, and if so, you may also be aware of the story behind it:

The image was shown to a group of MBA students at the University of Chicago. Half of the group saw a stylish young woman and the other half saw a sad, old crone. It turns out that the half who saw a young woman had been told that they were going to see a young woman and they were going to be asked to think about where this woman might be going tonight. The other half were told that they were going to see an image of old woman and they would be asked to tell a story about her based on the image.  Both sides fiercely held on to their views and found it difficult to see the image differently.

How does all this relate to the world of technology?

One example would be that if you’re a programmer, coding is your hammer. So if there’s an issue with your company’s software, the solution you put forward will often require writing new code. But if your company’s CIO is charged with moving the company’s software to the cloud as part of its digital transformation, the CIO might see the same issue as an opportunity to make that transition. The CIO’s hammer is completely different than the programmer’s. Again, it’s all a matter of perspective and having the ability to see different paths for resolving business issues.

Being open to different solutions can be hard, but it’s what we make a point of doing here at C5 Insight. We try to leave our hammers at home and approach each client with a clean slate. Will an intranet solution be the right choice or does this client also need to integrate CRM into the mix? We know the statistics, which indicate that 3 out of 5 Intranet, CRM & Digital Workplace Projects fail. But we also know that success or failure generally has little to do with technology choices and everything to do with people and adoption.

C5 Insight has earned local, regional, and national recognition for outstanding customer service, industry expertise, and employee satisfaction and growth. Contact us today for more information. Give us a ring at 704-895-2500 or use our contact form to reach out.

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