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  • Writer's pictureDeane Lam

Tips - What Assembling a Chair Taught Me About Teamwork, Tools, and Coach


I just moved home last month, and like many other people, I started buying new furniture. One afternoon, I decided to assemble a chair for my study room. It seemed like an easy task to me - I have the skill, time, space, motivation, determination, and I totally have the capability to assemble a simple chair, no doubt! My dad asked me, 'Do you need a hand?' Of course, I said no.

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And what did I learn? Being confident was important, and I had assessed the task's complexity. I had everything ready. What else? Oh... the tools, instructions, and all the parts—they came with the package, all checked. Perfect!

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So what did I miss? After spending half an hour putting the first two legs together using this little tool, my hands were all red and tired. Does it look like the right tool to you? Now I get it—the tool, the RIGHT tool! Yes, it was the right tool for this particular part of the chair, but it was not right for me. My dad asked me, 'How's everything?' Of course, I said, 'Good!'

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Finally, I spent about 2 hours assembling the whole chair because I needed to take breaks from time to time. My hands were tired and painful. Once I started, I had to finish it well. I was really tired. At this very moment, my daughter gave me a cup of hot tea and said, 'Grandpa sent me to give you this.

What did I really learn from this process? The significance of having the right tool and a team with the right coach.

Having the skill is important, but not enough. You also need a team and a coach to support you through the process. They may not necessarily be holding your hand and guiding you step by step, but their support will help you learn more about yourself, your needs and wants, and how to improve your work in the future.


As a manager or leader, when you delegate a responsibility to a team member, it's essential to assess their skills and capacity. What do they need to do their job well and succeed? Do you have the resources to support them? Are they ready, and how can you support them? Do you and your team member understand each other's expectations about the job? If you're not sure, communicate openly with your team member. Ultimately, it's not just a one-person task; it's always a team responsibility.

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I love this chair. I love my team - FAMILY.

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