We do a job well, for its own sake.
For a craftsman
The only measure that matters is how well he has done it.
For an independent craftsman
There is a tension between the work he does to meet his own standards
And the willingness of someone to pay for that work.
But invariably there are rules in place that prevent us from doing so.
Differing performance metrics,
Changes in focus,
A new organisational crisis,
A change of heart.
Often this means going independent, carving our own path.
Such as those who follow André Chaperon of Tiny Little Businesses do.
Who is, by the way, a significant influence on the way I approach my work.
But many of you cannot do that.
You work for a large organisation
Let’s say 100 – 2000+ employees
And, by and large, you enjoy your work.
Sure, there are things that could be improved
Hindrances that could be removed
Relationships that could be nurtured
But, overall, life is okay.
Craftsmanship is something that conjures up images
Of working with one’s hands
Of blacksmiths forging metal
Of goldsmiths turning out extraordinarily beautiful pieces
Of embroiderers stitching pearls onto fabric
Of cabinet makers selecting and working different timbers into a fine piece of furniture
These are skills that can be developed and improved over time
Because the product stands before our eyes
We can see the defects
We can touch the finish
We can feel its weight.
But in an office, where you are most likely working
How do we introduce this notion of craftsmanship
And why should we?
We’ll come back to that later
Right now, though, we need to look at why it is so difficult
And why so many people leave large organisations to go and work on their own