Tool Inertia

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a caveperson named Pog.  Pog had a stone attached to a stick with a length of tendon.  Pog was very proud of his invention that made getting firewood easier & getting food easier.  Sure, the type of stone he used tended to flake and break often, but he was able to find replacement stones of the same kind easily.  Other cavepeople even copied his tool and made their own.

One day, Pog saw another caveperson, Grog, with a tool that had a shiny black head instead of dull grey like his.  Grog had discovered a deposit of obsidian and improved on Pog’s invention!  Pog found himself gathering wood in the same area as Grog and was amazed to see how much faster Grog was able to cut pieces of wood using his sharper and more durable tool.  Grog was happy to show any other cavepeople where the obsidian was, and many went with him to get their own pieces of obsidian.

Pog, however, had been using his dull grey stone tool for a long time and was comfortable with it.  He knew it took much longer to do everything, but the fear of trying to learn and use an new tool kept him from changing to the better obsidian blade.  Besides, Pog had invented the dull grey stone cutting tool, how could he abandon it!  In time, the obsidian users outperformed the dull grey stone users by such a margin that all the dull grey stone users died out and ended up merely as fossils buried in the soil.

How sad…if only Pog had not been afraid to adopt the newer, better tool!


OK, you got me.  That was a rather long winded way of pointing out that we humans often stick with what we know and are comfortable with rather than trying new things–even if there is a strong probability that the new thing will make our work easier and/or better in some way.

We saw this happen twentyish years ago with the migration from manual drafting to CAD (computer aided design).  Thinking back in your career, you can probably remember situations where you saw people and/or organizations resist change that would have benefited them.


So should we go ahead and adopt every new tool that looks like it might benefit us in some way?  Of course not–you don’t want to be a member of the flavor of the month club, endlessly hopping from one half baked innovation to the next.


You still need to perform due diligence to ensure that a tool is truly going to benefit you.  Once you have performed due diligence, however, don’t let tool inertia bind you forever to the devil that you know!

Dean Whitford, B.Comm.
Chief Operating Officer

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