There was a short entry yesterday on Seth Godin’s Blog called Tools vs. Craftsmen. It underscored the wonderful opportunities we have as businesses and as individuals.
Technology continues to lower the barriers to entry for people who want to conduct commerce or express a point of view. There are Web sites, blogs, podcasts (now video and audio), RSS feeds, and incredibly powerful and useful software programs to convey a message be it written, spoken, visual, rich media or all combined. In fact, Thomas Friedman’s best-selling book, The World is Flat, does an excellent job of illuminating ten big forces that are “flattening” the world and making it easier for people to communicate and do business. The Internet is at the top of this list for removing the barriers to entry.
Although the Internet and other new technological tools provide access to opportunities for a growing share of the world’s population, tools alone will not make it happen. As Godin puts it, the tools are available, but there will always be a crying need for craftsmen who can do great things with these tools. I can go to Sears and buy a pickup truck full of tools, but it won’t make me a carpenter. I will not be a “craftsman” even though the folks at Sears are branding their tools as CRAFTSMAN®. By the way, their slogan is “Makes Anything Possible.” Well maybe for some, but that doesn’t include a large portion of public that has a significant problem mastering the “tools of the trade” (author included).
According to the dictionary, the term “craftsman” means a person who practices a craft with great skill; an artist. It implies a talent and the application of creativity. The world has a lot of great tools, but we will always need craftsman to utilize and build with these tools. It doesn’t matter whether your tools are involved with communication, software, manufacturing, healthcare, accounting, construction, hospitality, financial services, restaurants…whatever.
To grow and prosper, businesses big and small need craftsmen. They need men and women who can apply their talent, skill and creativity and make a difference. The job of management, as always, is to make sure there is a good blueprint for what is being built and removing impediments, so craftsmen can do their jobs and create something useful, attractive and functional.