When I first created this blog, it will be two years ago this next month, I called it Management Craft because I believe that management and leadership is a craft. I explained what I meant by craft in my first post:
I call this blog Management Craft, because I believe that the art and practice of managing people (without controlling them), processes, and projects WHILE flexibly changing as needed AND considering short term and long term needs and opportunities is a craft.
When I use the word craft in this blog, I am referring to an honorable and worthy body of work that can mature and grow with development and practice. Of course, building our management craft is not automatic. To improve our ability to manage well (making a positive difference to the organization and team, getting results) we must acknowledge our privileged and important role and continuously grow.
While that definition of craft still feels relevant, it also feels inadequate. You see, I have had a craft breakthrough.
As my regular readers know, I spent the last week back at school at an eight-day residency for an MFA program. During these eight days, I got a big lesson in craft — the craft of writing.
Although I have published five books, I consider myself an apprentice of the craft of writing and this was reinforced in a big way last week. These passionate writers — the instructors and fellow students see the written word in a special way. Each essay, poem, manuscript, sentence, word, and title is carefully chosen and placed to improve impact and meaning. Every word is questioned. The form and structure is crafted to created a desired meaning and impression. It takes a long time to carefully craft a poem or essay and years to write a proper book.
My biggest ah-ha is that craft occurs in revision. Revisions count and this is where the art comes to life. It is important to take time and energy to polish and mold our work.
This may seem apparent to you, but I must admit that my time spent in revision has been woefully inadequate.
And this insight relates to management and leadership too. Craft occurs in revision. We become our best by assessing and shaping every action, communication, practice, and process. Every action counts.
I have met and worked with several leaders who had the, "this is the way I am," point of view. They spent little or no time in personal revision. This is a same! They are selling themselves short and offering their teams less than they deserve.
A few months ago I thought about changing the title of my blog because my notions about the word MANAGEMENT are evolving. But I love and want to keep the concept of building craft as the foundation.
We live in a world of think – act – launch. Blogs are great examples of mostly unrevised work, as are instant messaging, e-mail, and bulletin-like publications. While I love the spontaneous nature of some of these tools, I also crave something deeper. Contrast the New Yorker and the USA Today. A good, functional book and a beautiful book. A meeting that stirs people to act and a dreaded routine staff meeting.