• Planning ahead of time what it will take to achieve a desired outcome
  • Thinking through the priorities, resources, and methods necessary to achieve a specific result
  • Working smarter, not just harder, by leveraging knowledge, experience, team skills and available tools

One of Funds For Learning’s core Guide Marks is to “Work by Design”, which relies on several critical components, such as planning ahead, resources and tools, leveraging knowledge, experience, etc. Of course, these are all necessary for the successful application of this principal. Now, I tend to pride myself in planning ahead and always having the right tool (duct tape, multi-tool, first aid, Kevlar rope, etc.), but that’s a story for another time. This being said, maybe the most invaluable component is leveraging knowledge and experience of others. Tools and resources can be purchased and organized and jobs/projects planned to perfection, but unfortunately, we have yet to develop Matrix-like technology to download knowledge through a jack in the back of our brain. 

Several years back, a part of the steering linkage wore out on my truck causing a rapid, repetitive jerking in the steering. It was easy enough to diagnose and I, of course, have a decent set of tools on hand for most automotive repairs. This being my first pitman arm replacement, I turned to trusty YouTube videos to assess the difficulty of the job and see if I was going to need any other tools or supplies. As it turns out, there is a special tool needed to pull the part, but the job itself looked simple enough. So, I purchased the puller (official too name) and gathered all the needed sockets, ratchets, hammer, shop towels, etc. needed to complete the job, and followed the instructions from the guy on YouTube. Which assured me, that I would have the part replaced in a quick, easy 30 minutes… (Insert “Nailed It” meme here). 
In reality, I spent what seemed like an hour pulling, pushing and hammering, with very little progress. So, finally I got frustrated enough to call my father, who was a mechanic of over 15 years and now teaches automotive repair. (I know… I know). When he arrived, he asked if I had loosened all the bolts and if I had the puller positioned correctly. I answered, “Well of course. The part is just on too tight and won’t come off…” He slid under the truck with his hammer, and in less than 30 seconds and two swings later, he had the part off and in hand. Turns out, I was not using the proper leverage (pun intended) and had spent an hour hammering the incorrect spot, driving the part back into itself.
It is important to not only focus on being adequately prepared and equipped with the proper tools, but also to recognize and utilize the strengths and talents of others. Remember, each person has their own set of talents and knowledge. Let’s work to recognize those talents, and use them to work smarter, not just harder. 

Key Words and Phrases
Skillful use of time and energy; Good use of resources with little waste; Produce desired result effectively; Work smarter, not just harder; Potent; Fruitful; Efficient; Productive

Opposite Terms
Wasteful; Ineffective; Unproductive; Ill-planned


GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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