Many times we use this idiom..and many believe in it too, to judge people, or to measure performances. In general, it is assumed that, this excuse is given by a person, when he don't wants to admit that he is a 'bad workman.' But my view is somewhat different. I think, this idiom does not hold a strong stand. What, if Virat plays with broken bat? Will he able to score hundreds? Of course not!
Here, we must be able to understand the difference between "Talent and Tool". A talented person can utilise his talent, only if he is equipped with correct and good 'tool.' A bad tool always limits the opportunity., and good manager fails to achieve the given task. As a HR, we must try to differentiate between Talent and tool. This differentiation will help us to segregate between Good manager and Bad Manager.

From India, Amravati

Of course, a talented person could be inhibited by the poor tools but talent shows up. The blame on defective tools as an excuse for poor performance has to be decried, that is the message of this idiom.
From India, Mumbai
Yes.. As a HR, while mapping performance, such bad tools/ constraints should be considered. And benefit of doubt to be given to "talent''.
From India, Amravati
There's also a saying by Alexander the Great, "An army of sheep led by a lion, is better than an army of lions led by a sheep".
In your context, a manager can always blame his 'tools' (read: team) for a poor performance. But a Great People Manager has the potential to create a team of lions out of a flock of sheep :)
You cannot always have lions working for you!
P.S. If you wish to know what a "Great People Manager" is, check this Great People Manager Study | Great Manager Instituteâ„¢

From India, Mumbai

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