Dating back to Roman and biblical times, it is a statement of fact that iron does indeed sharpen iron, depending on its level of surface carbonization, which results in varying roughness and toughness. Taking this a step further in the good book, it states, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” But what exactly does this mean and how is this useful?
In life as well as the world of IT, it takes on a meaning of accountability and growth for the benefit of all. It also allows you to get beyond the surface. I know more about many IT items because of those I have in wheelhouse. Tom teaches me web and SQL stuff, while Chris teaches me about routes, hops, subnets and more layers than Shrek. Nguyen teaches me about school device management and the world of https content filtering for student devices. Carl teaches me about newer telephony deployments and Nvidia GPUs. Juan teaches me about raspberry PI’s and Ubuntu. Folks, it’s not just professional here, it’s personal. And hopefully I have contributed a thing or two about troubleshooting, getting past larger obstacles, and how to turn relationships into greater things. In the end, we are all sharper in our skill sets and abilities as a result of the synergy of working together. Iron sharpening iron.
It also truly means allowing others into your inner thinking. We like to think that we can do it all, but simply put we cannot. Time after time, people try to fix things on their own, like someone not wanting to ask for directions. In this example, sure you’ll still get there eventually, though one has to wonder a) how much longer will it take?, and more importantly b) what frame of mind will folks be in when the destination is reached? So here’s my take in the scenario of a mother, father and two kids on their ‘vacation’.
- Dad is frustrated because he couldn’t figure it out on his own (pre-GPS days), though no one put him in that position but himself. He’s supposed to know everything, right?
- Mom is frustrated because Dad wouldn’t listen to her and she knows the kids are tired of being in the car and is managing that component. If he truly cares about me, why won’t he at least consider my advice of ‘an ask’ for directions?
- Kids are simply tired of being in the car, might get more car sick as Dad decides more acceleration and faster turns might save his directional man card. Plus, kids are hungry and want to play. It’s a vacation, right?
Now before you think I am talking about y’all, consider for a moment this is more likely about me. As I often tell folks “You should have known me when I was 16 as I knew EVERYTHING then!”
As such, it’s appropriate that I also share our business mantra, which is “asking for help is a sign of strength”. We believe in this strongly. and it’s at the very core of why enjoy a level of success that fills the need of the ‘feel good’ in the end. Add to that a good dose of humility and it’s complete! So here’s a short list of this philosophy in action.
- Show genuine care for people
- Provide clear expectations
- Engage in regular honest conversations
- Praise in public and correct in private
- Discover and develop people’s strength and passions
- Build genuine relationships
- Share the credit….and the pain.
- Speak vision and possibility into people.
- Know we are capable of greater things.
- Humility is key.
Accountability and transparency are key to successful relationships. As such, I’ve also learned that saying “I’m sorry” with no and, if or buts, is a powerful and greatly underutilized life tool.
And that GPS thing, that has saved countless marriages…