To tackle the wicked problems of our present and future, we need to embrace a strange, counter-intuitive irony: as organizations across all sectors continue to create and adopt technologies like artificial intelligence, employees need to stay relevant by increasing their subjective intelligence. My research on master craftsmen and how they gain mastery helps connect the dots on this new dilemma, and might be the place to seek initial solutions.
When it comes to open ended problem solving and learning to improvise with what we are given; master craftsmen have something to teach us. Having to work with a material where they cannot be sure what will happen is something they are used to. Combined with the more structured training and education offered to us today, improvisational thinking in the face of uncertainty is useful to leaders in any sector. Even in the face of countless books and articles about how important it is, most traditional business school programs and organizational training fail to address sophisticated thinking about ambiguous problems.
Craftsmanship refers to something made with the highest quality. It requires a distinct mindset and approach. Values like durability, integrity, and calling are often associated with craftsmanship. But it’s more than that. Craftsmanship—to live a life and perform work with craft—is the struggle for individual agency in a world telling us to fit in. More than finding a calling, it is about understanding how to fully utilize ourselves and our unique ability to solve problems of every kind. My goal is build a bridge between the principles of craftsmanship in the traditional sense and apply it to our own lives and work.
For Lesley Holm the dream was to work creatively with children in a way that would make a difference in their lives. Today she fulfills that dream in her career as an Art Therapist.
She didn’t initially know that art, creativity and working with children would look like in terms of a career. Most people don’t know what that is; she didn’t either. Art therapy is more than analyzing pictures. It is a blend of psychotherapy and art where art is incorporated as part of the regular counseling process. Art isn’t the end goal. Art is an illustration of a client’s process and what sense they make of their image.
When Lesley was young, her parents separated. She remembers that being a chaotic, confusing and scary time. Art was a comfort to her.
Now, Lesley specializes in helping children of divorce and helping them through that process. The drawings don’t have to be great, they just have to be expressive.
“There isn’t any better reward in life than a child who knows that I’m really there for them.”
Christine Haskell’s research focuses on individuals dedicated to the craft of their professions, in pursuit of excellence, sustainability and integrity. Craftsmen and women use those principles to raise standards toward a better world. Her current work is featured in Look To Craftsmen Project. featuring the Profiles in Craft Series. You’ll find a trove of profiles of intriguing artisans and innovators spanning a wide variety of professions across the globe that illustrate her research with links to the full articles. Christine’s book The Future of Work Will Require Craftsmanship is due in late 2019. To understand more about Christine’s work, check out Our Current Problem.