Measure Twice, Cut Once

My Opa and my uncle used to own a construction company together. The majority of their work was in finishing carpentry (at least from my recollection) and my uncle took me on for one summer just as I was going into high school.

So let me paint this picture for you; I was a tall, skinny, awkward, teen that would have trouble lifting the generator first thing in the morning. Every morning we’d get to the job site, unload the truck and set up everything we’d need. Of course, because I was the youngest, least experienced, and had no clue what I was doing, I would do a lot of the “B-word” work.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

This is something that my opa used to say to me, “Measure twice, cut once.” And as I’ve grown older, it’s advice that has stuck with me. It is advice that goes beyond carpentry work and really pours over into my line of work as well (and other fields too).

1. Look twice for the problem before moving into a resolution

2. Look twice for the underlying issues before you think you understand them

3. Stay silent twice as long to make sure they are finished speaking before you speak up

4. Listen twice to ensure you’re asking the right question

5. Look from each perspective (2 or more) to ensure you’re seeing the whole picture

6. Edit twice your email before you send

7. Check in with people to make sure you understand them and they know you’ve heard them before presenting your view

How will you make sure that you are measuring twice before you make the cut?


Jason Dykstra

Jason is a Conflict Management Specialist who is helping organizations and congregations move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He specializes in relational and communication issues and uses his experience and training in mediation, group facilitation, conflict management coaching, speaking and teaching to aid you and your surroundings to better… MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


How Avoidance Can Help You with Workplace Conflict

Conflict Remedy Blog by Lorraine SegalIt sounds counter intuitive, but Inaction or avoidance can be a viable way of dealing with workplace conflict. When I teach introductory classes about managing...

By Lorraine Segal

SEC Approves FINRA Proposal to Further Revise Definition of Public and Non-Public Arbitrator

Indisputably The SEC approved FINRA’s proposal to ” refine and reorganize the definitions of ‘non-public’ arbitrator and ‘public’ arbitrator.” Customers who file an arbitration claim against a broker dealer or...

By Jill Gross

Evaluative Or Effective?

I have been thinking about my colleague Victoria Pynchon's recent post on evaluative mediators. There is a saying that "less is more."  Or as we are somtimes told:  don't overdo...

By Michael P. Carbone

Find a Mediator