Since I don't have much of an aptitude (or the necessary level of patience) for building things, I haven't spent much (any) time reading Popular Woodworking magazine--until a colleague showed me an insightful article in the October 2006 issue that talked about Avoiding Mistakes when woodworking. As I reviewed this article by master chairmaker Michael Dunbar, I grew intrigued with the similarity between what he teaches people building chairs and what we teach people building organizations.
A discussion one day with our president, Mark Smith prompted me to email Mike at the Windsor Institute and ask him for an interview. He kindly consented and the result of our engaging conversation is now available on our website. If you're interested in becoming more effective in critical thinking--especially if you want to avoid problems whenever possible, check out how Mike helps people avoid costly and demoralizing mistakes in his woodworking classes.
Mike and his colleagues have developed over 40 principles to guide people and prevent unnecessary problems. I find them good reminders in my corporate environment as well. Here are a few--
- The answer to most questions is, "It depends."
- You cannot fight grain.
- The first rule of math is, "The answer must be believable."
- You can't get out of a hole by digging.
Mike Dunbar knows that "you avoid a lot of problems by thinking about what might happen." A few minutes invested now in reading his insights could save you a costly mistake later.