Insights

Becoming a Craftsman – 4 Ways to Get There

“Every man is the craftsman of his future, whether he hone it himself or allow fate do it.”  ~ Ogwo David Emenike

My grandfather was a true Craftsman. He was also a great man.

My grandfather as a young man

He worked in the auto industry. As a young lad, I remember him coming home from work at the end of a day, talking about the quality of the cars he and his team built that day. He was absolutely obsessed with quality and was enormously proud of the work that he did. He took great pride in his accomplishments and in the productivity of the work that was done.

Not one to squander any type of resource, he spent his free time building houses. And I mean he built them… he didn’t remodel houses, flip houses or hire someone else to build them. I’m talking about building houses from the ground up for his family members – not something you hear about much (or ever!) today.

So when I say he was a Craftsman and a great man, I think most everyone will agree with my assessment of grandfather. He was an amazing role model for me as I grew up.

Now, let’s fast-forward a few decades to an image of me in the year 2015 or so. I’m sitting at my desk, completing my workday, getting ready to deem today productive because I finished up the day (drum roll please) without anything in my email inbox. As I look deeper about where I was at that point in my career – my contribution to people around me and my community was …. I’m not sure.

This was when I woke up that I realized I had to face the music. Like much of the rest of the world, I had become an email shuffler.
I am happy to say that approximately three years ago, shortly before I joined ECS, I decided that this mentality needed to end and I had to get back to being a Craftsman.

I now measure my days on (1) the impact I am able to make on the companies I work with, (2) the lives I improve, and (3) the knowledge I both gain and share with others.

What are my tips for becoming a Craftsman? Here are 4 “Must Dos”:

My grandmother and grandfather

1. Bring the Passion with You
We at ECS all truly blessed to work with so many different types of companies. Some of the industries and business we serve are not glamorous, but they fill a need in their world. And the one common trait that the successful people have is that they bring the passion with them.

Even if your industry or company isn’t super interesting or sexy, you can most definitely bring excitement and drive to the job each day to see what you can do to move to the next level of excellence.

2. Abandon “That’s the Way We’ve Always Done It”
That simple phrase is a company killer. When someone utters that phrase, I know they’ve lost their drive to innovate or to think deeply about their industry, company and future.

Instead, challenge yourself in the day-to-day. Look to learn and change things up. Attend webinars and conferences (there are a ton of them out there!). Don’t take the status quo as an answer – go find a better way!

3. Do quality work
Somewhere along the way we as a whole lost pride in the work we do. You don’t hear pride as an attribute that drives companies anymore. So instead, strive to do everything you can to produce the best quality work – and do work that you feel good about. Do work that you want to share with and show to others. And yes, you absolutely should have pride in your accomplishments.

My grandfather later in life

4. Say “No”
There is no rule in business that says you have to attend every meeting, work 12 hours a day and answer every email to be successful. In fact, if you’re trying to go 12 hours non-stop, my guess is you’re probably only productive for a third of that time (if that).

Instead, work deeper and be more productive in the time you set aside to complete a task, and stop worrying about saying yes to every task that comes your way.

“But still he keeps working with a will; that’s the craftsman in him.”  ~ Richard Sennett

It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you work – push to be the best Craftsman you can be. You’ll find deeper fulfillment in life and growth in your personal career when you work to be a master of your craft.

Would you like to chat about your personal growth? Is there a Craftsman who you admire – I want to hear about him or her! Feel free to contact me at any time – bmorrow@thinkempirical.com or 610-310-6707