Have Tool . . . Then What?

Your tools are commodities. Everyone can get access to them today. In fact, everyone does access the tools. The case, more often than not, is that they are underused, misused or irrelevant in most people’s business. The tools are a lot like sports equipment. There is a lot of hype to get someone to buy a workout machine, tennis racquet or bike. Visit the typical person in 6 months, and you find them as artifacts in de facto storage.

We live in an age of abundance. Tools are cheap and ubiquitous. If tools were the answer, then everyone would be wildly successful in their business. Such is not the case. There is typically a giant blind spot which makes success elusive. It has to do with strategy. Strategy is the enabler for making tools part of a system which makes money. Strategy comes from thinkers that can see the opportunities and deliver specific, relevant and timely systems to exploit those opportunities. Strategy comes from talent, not tools.

Putting the pieces together is much more of a challenge in an age of abundance. As tools continue to commoditize and approach in many cases, a zero price point, the real challenge lies in creating the processes which drive business results.

Social media does not make money for most businesses. Strategic lead nurturing does. Adwords is often expensive and wasteful. Relevant campaigns to connect and entice a clicker is what makes the return on investment.

From the outside, successful businesses and people look like they can be mimicked if we acquire the same accessories and tools they use. It is a grave misconception. Under the hood, they have refined an art form into a system. An actress makes her lines look easy. To be like her would mean to start the journey of countless iterations and working on the minutiae which separates mediocre from great performers. So it goes in today’s economy.

The truth is, talented people can take multiple tools to achieve the same result. A tennis pro can use any racquet and still outplay the vast majority of people. A world-class cook can use Wal-Mart cooking utensils and deliver a much more elegant meal than a housewife who has Williams Sonoma class cookware. It’s the player, not the racquet. It’s the cook, not the cookware. So it goes, it’s the talent, not the tools. Perhaps your success is only elusive because you see the gadgets and not the goal. Get the right talent and let them leverage the tools to help you. Focus only on the talent you truly have, which is likely one or two specialties. Strategy always trumps good tools.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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