Finally there are schools, summer camps and weekend experiences where kids learn how to tinker! This is far from what some call “futzing around” and others label as “wasting time.” It’s serious business.
Tinkering was once a valued profession. Adept at analyzing and solving problems, tinkerers tackled anything that needed fixing. They were skilled problem solvers who figured out what was wrong with equipment and machinery and fixed it, as well as found ways to improve their performance.
Tinkering is anything but a lost art. Spotting and dissecting problems and coming up with workable solutions is an enormously valuable business skill – one that requires a lot of tinkering.
At its core, tinkering is getting things right, before we make needless costly and perhaps disastrous mistakes. It’s all about insight and creativity and here’s what it takes:
1. Nothing is ever good enough
Tinkering is the attitude that “good enough” doesn’t cut it. Whatever it is, it can be better, whether it’s writing a letter, email message, report, memo, proposal, or presentation, dealing with a problem, responding to inquiries, answering customer concerns, creating a sales plan, or understanding prospects.
There are no exceptions. Good ideas fail because they’re rushed and not thought though. Proposals are rejected because they are superficial. New initiatives are quickly abandoned because they’re full of holes. All of these have been victims of the pervasive “get-it-done and out the door” mindset.
2. Take on challenges
The one opportunity that overshadows everything else in any job is routinely ignored or passed up. And that’s taking on challenges, which is a code word in business for solving problems.
If you ask most people to spell challenge, they’ll say, “T-R-O-U-B-L-E.” They run the other way from challenges, avoiding them at all cost. As they see it, challenges conjure up images of long hours, too much work, getting blamed, and failing. Just say the word and some might run and hide behind claims of being too busy or having to walk the dog after work.
That’s all good news because it opens up enormous opportunities for those who dare to raise their hands and say, “I’ll work on that.”
3. Get to the bottom of things
Understanding how things fit together, making connections, and uncovering what’s missing goes beyond superficial and incomplete answers. And while many of us think that may be a good idea, because executing it takes too much time, we may end up saying “why bother …” instead. And that’s why “Googling” is the accepted standard for research.
How many of us are interested in knowing whether something is fact or opinion? How many know the difference or even care?