Blunt axes are lacking grinding

There are still people, who do not know the story of the blunt axe.

On a sunny morning a woman walks with her husband through the near-by forest. After a few minutes the two meet a group of lumberjacks, who are having breakfast. The lumberjacks work already for two hours and have felled ten trees. They should be finished until noon. After an hour they encounter another group of lumberjacks, who are intensively swinging their axes. But there are only two trees lying on the grounds. With expert’s eyes they notice that the lumberjacks probably just began. One of the lumberjacks however answers grumpily that they already working for hours. When the couple asks surprised 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 simply have no time, in order to sharpen the axes.“

Blunt axes are actually only lacking the grinding.


It is useful to think times briefly about which alternatives you have.

  • Ignoring
    If consider the story for a moment, the approach of the lumberjacks simply appears to be stupid. Sharpening the axes would only take a fraction of the time that has to be spent additionally, in order to continue to chop with the blunt axe.
  • Sharpening
    The solution to sharpen the axes is nevertheless comprehensible for everybody, even if it is an interruption of work for sharpening and/or preparing the axes in the morning.
  • Sharpen internally
    Actually the lumberjacks should not grind by themselves. The attentive boss should know the difference between a sharp and a blunt axe. Supplying a specialist for sharpening would quickly become economical for him.
  • Sharpen externally
    Since nowadays many people consider only working personnel as productive, they develop a 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 axe
    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 additionally security through inferior tools. Or does someone believe that a cheap axe remains sharp longer than one day?
  • Chain saws
    Technology-savvy people probably shake their heads. Who is still felling trees with an axe today? Chain saws in all sizes and modern vehicles that saw trees and lop of the branches in one step, offer productive alternatives – until they become as well blunt.
  • Outsourcing
    And anyway. Who chops at all? We more likely concentrate today on the core process and leave the work to others. Increase of 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 down.

Bottom line: As long as the paper, furniture, building, and transport industry need trees as raw material, woods are felled. And as long as the increase of productivity does not happen at the expense of the weakest in the value chain, nothing else remains as GNC – grinding not chatting.