Tools, Training & Process

Rene' Boer Process

When I was in my teens, my dad bought me a Norelco triple-head electric shaver for Christmas. It was a state-of- the-art tool ready to tackle the dozen or so hairs that were beginning to sprout on my chin. I used it for many years until I became frustrated by its inefficacy to closely shave what was emerging as a full beard. So, I switched to a new double-blade razor. Soon that was replaced by a triple-blade razor but, it seemed that no razor was up to the task.

A few years ago, I bought the latest and greatest – the Schick Hydro with five blades!  Although an improvement, even the mighty Schick was unable to produce the perfect shave. I groused about this to my wife who, tired of my complaining, made an appointment for me with a barber.

When I arrived at the barbershop, I met Jonathon who stood ready with a straight razor – a tool that’s been in use for centuries.  As Jonathon lathered me up for the shave, he asked me what razor I’d been using. “I’ve used them all”, I replied as I shared my frustration. “But now I’m using the Schick Hydro”, hoping to impress him.  “Oh”, said Jonathon, “That’s a great razor. How’s it working for you?” “Well”, I replied. “If it was really great, I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair.” “Right”, he said as he started to shave my face.

A side note here – You must be willing to be vulnerable to put your trust in your barber and hope that he’s having a good day.  I asked him, “How many shaves do you think you’ve done as a barber?” “Since graduating barber school I would guess about 12,000 or so,” he said with pride.

He soon finished and as I was about to move out of my chair, he said, “Whoa there, I’m not finished yet. That was just the first pass.” “First pass?” I thought. “You mean there’s more?” “Of course”, he chuckled. “I just shaved your beard with the grain. Now, I’m going to shave your beard against the grain.  How have you been using your razor? Only one way?”

“Duh”, I thought. I had to laugh to myself. Decades of shaving – 18,000 shaves or more – using a simple tool, the wrong way!

The business lesson here is obvious – even the best tool, applied without proper training and the wrong process won’t deliver the desired result. Trust the tool. Learn to use it correctly and master the process to use it well.

Thanks Jonathon!