How we chose The Hammer Academy name

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

Abraham Maslow

The Hammer Academy

The Hammer Academy is named after a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool.

Through observation and experience, we have discovered that many people tend revert to their own limited set of skills when solving a problem, instead of learning and applying new and more appropriate skills.

We recently coached a Change Manager, who only ever scheduled changes in his Outlook Calendar, and published his calendar as “The Change Schedule”. In order to reduce clutter in his calendar, he only scheduled the most significant changes. The flood of items in his calendar led to him missing a series of meetings, and also created the expectation that he would personally oversee every change . He was also at the centre of many awkward scheduling conflicts which proved to have a disruptive affect on project delivery. By helping him understand that it was his own crippled form of “organisation” that was contributing to his daily crisis, he was able to apply better scheduling and communication techniques.

Law of the Instrument

The law of the instrument, otherwise known as Maslow’s hammer is a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool. As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

During Maslow’s era, the only medicines available for psychiatric patients were the anti-psychotics stelazine and thorazine. As as result, so other mental illnesses were often treated as if they were psychoses.

A hammer is not the most appropriate tool to solve. Yet a person with only a hammer may to try and fix everything using their “hammer”, often without even considering other, more appropriate options.

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