By: Scott Tornio, HawkPoint President
The Three Hammer System actually started off as a joke between me and Chris Rand, President of Sunset Hill Stoneware. It plays off the slang term, “dropping the hammer” as a metaphor for getting things done. Actually, I think the metaphor refers to the hammer of a gun, and it means ending something, but I like the “getting things done” metaphor better. Sometimes you only need a little hammer, sometimes you need the sledge.
Similar to my Nacho Cheese Theory metaphor, the Three Hammer System builds on the principles covered in many self-help books: put forth the appropriate energy toward the appropriate problem. For example, don’t waste the sledgehammer on a small, inconsequential problem.
I went on to create a table of contents for the self-help book that will eventually come from all this:
- Chapter 1: The Three Hammer System
- Chapter 2: The Ball Peen Hammer and The Power of Suggestion
- Chapter 3: The Carpenter’s Hammer – Addressing The Problem Head On
- Chapter 4: The Sledge – I Am No longer Interested In Solving Problems and I Just Want To F--- Some S--- Up
- Chapter 5: Hammerschlagen – Using The Wrong Tool, Just To Mess With People
- Chapter 6: Duct Tape – What To Do When You’ve Used Too Much Hammer
- Chapter 7: What MC Hammer Can Teach Us About Managing Money
- Chapter 8: Nailing Down The Problem and Choosing The Right Hammer For Your Problem
- Chapter 9: In Conclusion
It was about a week after my meeting with Chris that I started using the Three Hammer terminology in actual situations, and there is some good wisdom to be shared here:
The Ball Peen Hammer
This is a great management tool. The ball peen is the hammer you use when you are seeking buy-in from your employees or coaching them through growth. I can tell an employee to do something and they will do it. However, if I suggest a path forward and then allow them to make it their own, they will believe in it and better understand it. The power of suggestion, when coaching, is far more valuable than simply handing out orders. Just a little tap in the right direction is all that is required.
The Carpenter’s Hammer
Hold nothing back and address the problem head on. With the carpenter’s hammer, we take ownership of all outcomes, good or bad, and we get it done. The carpenter’s hammer is the perfect metaphor for what we should expect from everyone, every day. A carpenter’s hammer conveniently has an “undo button” affixed to it. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If you’ve made too many mistakes, skip ahead to chapter 6 (Duct Tape).
As the table of contents above explains, the sledge isn’t for fixing. Sometimes things are wrong, all the way to the core. You can try to fix it, but it will take less time to start over. Enjoy the therapeutic process of destroying the problem, apply what you’ve learned and start the next project with a blank slate.
Hammerschlagen is a game where you use the wrong side of the hammer to pound a nail into a tree stump. It’s also a great metaphor for creativity. We can’t always expect the things that got us this far, to take us further. We can’t be complacent. Think outside of the tool box and find innovative ways to use what you already have. The laws of attrition demand that we push forward, or we risk falling backward. New ideas, new processes, new tools, new tech. Hammerschlagen keeps us creative.
Let’s face it, we’ve all made mistakes. When I was a kid, I thought my parents had it all figured out. Perhaps they did but as a father myself, I am pretty sure that we’re all just making it up as we go. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. Similarly, when I was just starting my career, I assumed that executives were business geniuses. Same deal, we get some right, we get some wrong. It’s the experience and humility to overcome that makes all the difference. That’s duct tape.
I got nothing for MC Hammer and I’m still figuring out Chapter 8. Thankfully, I have plenty of duct tape and a toolbox of hammers to help me along. The Three Hammer System may be satire but there are lessons to be learned. I’ll look forward to continuous learning and the eventual follow-up: The Fourth Hammer – Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer).
Meet the Author
I started my adult life as a graphic designer and I’ve tried to maintain that creativity throughout my career in Information Technology.
Over my twenty-plus-year career, I have worked a range of technical positions. I understand the limitations and the potential of technology. It is through the use of creativity and experience that I have been able to help companies integrate and optimize technology in their manufacturing and business environments, creating stable business processes and moving them forward.