Measure Twice, Cut Once

Most woodworkers and carpenters live by the rule of, “measure twice and cut once.” For those who haven’t cut wood before, it’s a simple principle. When cutting a piece of wood for any project, you should always measure the potential cut twice before making a single precision cut. This saves time (doing it right the first time) and valuble resources (materials) and potentially undoing a project mistake. 

This principle applies to leaders as well. How often do we assess or measure someone’s capabilities without taking into consideration all the information or really understanding the situation or need? If we fail to “measure twice” before we cut, we may damage the actions and execution of the team or disrupt the rhythm already established.  

Measure twice, cut once also applies to us as leaders. Do we take time to step back and really measure how effective we are? Or do we take that first cut at ourselves and think we don’t measure up? As we lead by example and action, we have to measure how we lead, but not be self-critical after the first measurement.

Below are several measurements (more than two) that I use and would like for you to consider:

  • Do I find time to measure my capabilities as a leader and look for ways to improve?
  • Do I lead by example and have I defined measurements that my team knows and understands about me?
  • Do I know the skills, qualifications, experiences and personal attributes of my team?
  • Do I accept first measurements from other sources before measuring the team myself?
  • Do I have measurements in place that consider both professional and personal contributions of my team?

As product management leaders we should always take time to “measure twice” (or as much as required) ourselves, and then lead in a way that is founded on better understanding the capabilities, current business situations and dynamics of our team.

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