The blunt ax – the ideal metaphor for a deficiency

Deficiencies arise from errors, wear and tear, accidents, or environmental changes. As a result, things and processes only function inadequately. A practical example is an ax that becomes blunt over time or was not sharpened from the beginning. There are still people who do not know the story of the ax.

On a sunny morning, a woman walks with her husband through the nearby forest. After a few minutes, the two meet a group of lumberjacks, who are having breakfast. The woodcutters work already for two hours and have felled ten trees. They should be finished until noon. After an hour, they encounter another group of loggers, who are intensively swinging their axes. But only two trees are lying on the grounds. With the expert’s eyes, they notice that the lumberjacks probably just began. One of the loggers, however, grumpily answers that they are working for hours. When the couple surprisingly asks why they only cut a few trees, another woodworker stops his hacking and grumbles that their axes are too blunt. To the question, why they did not sharpen the axes, he shrugs with his shoulders:
“Since we anyway need more time, we have no time to sharpen the axes. “

Axes should only be sharpened now and then to serve their purpose reliably.

It is worth considering how to get the most out of the functionality you want.

  • Ignoring
    If you consider the story for a moment, the lumberjacks’ approach appears to be ignorant. Sharpening the axes would only take a fraction of the time that has to be spent to continue to chop with the blunt ax.
  • Sharpening
    The solution to sharpen the axes is understandable for everybody, even if it is an interruption of work for sharpening and/or preparing the axes in the morning.
  • Sharpen internally
    The lumberjacks should not grind by themselves. The attentive boss should know the difference between a sharp and a blunt ax. Supplying a specialist for sharpening would quickly become economical for him.
  • Sharpen externally
    Since many people consider only working for personnel as productive, they develop resistance against internal specialists, who, from their point of view, are only participating indirectly in the success. This style of leader optimizes the grinding by letting doing it by external people only from time to time, as late as possible.
  • Buying a new ax
    Than there are the decision-makers, who are already saving money in the beginning. They buy cheap equipment, and as soon as it is no longer usable, they buy a new one. In the end, this approach reduces the performance from the beginning and endangers security additionally through inferior tools. Or does someone believe that a cheap ax remains sharp longer than one day?
  • Chain saws
    Technology-savvy people shake their heads. Who is still felling trees with an ax today? Chain saws in all sizes and modern vehicles that saw trees and lops of the branches in one step offer productive alternatives – until they become blunt.
  • Outsourcing
    And anyway. Who chops at all? We more likely concentrate today on the core process and leave the work to others. An increase in production is made by purchasing, who pressure on prices. In the end, unqualified people with blunt axes in front of trees and drum against them until a tree is so kind to fall.

Bottom line: As long as the paper, furniture, construction, and transport industries need trees as raw material, sharp axes are required. And as long as businesses need tools, designs, procedures, and services to work, all kinds of impairments should be ameliorated as well as the blunt edge of the ax. That makes it the ideal metaphor for a deficiency.