A friend had to replace a mini-fridge that was part of his cabinet layout in the downstairs bar. The new one was ever-so-slightly too big, so he asked a contractor friend to assess the situation and see if the cabinet opening could be expanded. The next thing you know, the contractor has power tools out and is sawing off a piece of the attached cabinetry.

For him to do this was just another task — all in a day’s work. There was little risk that something disastrous would occur. For the homeowner to have done it, the chances that something could go wrong with the operation were much higher. There was definitely a risk that the cabinets would be irreparably harmed. If I would have done it, the risk would involve a loss of fingers, not just scarring the wood!

The risk level associated with a project is determined by the skill set of the person performing it. A pilot can smoothly land a jetliner, a sommelier can confidently uncork a $500 bottle of wine and a surgeon can effectively operate on a brain — all with a reasonable and even routine level of risk. For others to take on those tasks would be foolhardy.

Before you answer “yes or no” as to whether something can be done, consider the skill level of the person who will be doing it. You risk having the wrong answer if you reply without competency in mind.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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