Craft vs. DIY

Over the last hundred years we have got used to their being “Expert Answers”, “Best Practice” and consultants of all stripes have made very good livings from them.

The trouble is, they no longer work. The challenges we face are so complex, so multi faceted and so connected, solving problems by analogy no longer does it. The fact that it worked for someone else, somewhere else, sometime else does not mean it will work for you.

That leaves a dilemma. With so much call on our attention, how do we proceed. Consultants offer “band aid” relief but rarely long term solutions. There are thousands of good books and videos out there by reputable authors, but who has time to read enough of them to get a good balanced view? The battle for talent – recruitment and retention – is brutal.

We can adopt a DIY approach – doing the best we can with who and what we know across a range of disciplines from accountancy to the impact of machine learning, and end up with flat pack answers. Functional, cheap, and fast but no different to other people’s answers. Probably fine for the functional areas of operations, but not for those areas of relationships, purpose, connection and design, which are the stuff of original thinking.

Or we can adopt a craft approach to the areas where the difference really gets made – leadership, connection, compelling purpose. The things we are remembered for. Making a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.

Flat pack is fine for the kitchen table, but people will notice the difference between the artistry of the chef, and the convenience of a ready meal in the food you serve on it.

We can’t be craftswomen or men at everything we do, but that’s no reason for not dedicating yourself to the craft of something people will remember you for.

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