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Artisans. No Drums, No Trumpets.
The work calls the tune.
There is a hypnotic, meditative quality to Drill. The sound of footsteps in perfect unison. and when done on the gravel of a parade ground, it has a musical quality to it. There is a comfort to knowing what is happening next; a countdown to a manoeuvre, and the security of knowing what those around you are going to do. Commands are precise, from a limited menu. A sequence can be planned and executed to the inch and minute. It is a perfect metaphor for industrial thinking.
There is no improvisation in Drill. Each person knows their part, has practised it, understands what those around them will do, and relies on them doing it. A well-executed Drill has a meditative quality to it.
But it is no way to learn to dance. There is no reading another’s body language or sensing an opportunity to improvise or express individuality. Drill is precision, predictability and practised moves.
It is a perfect metaphor for the way that organisations which have driven our economic success for the last few decades have scaled. The drill of a business model, the ritual of budgets and the ceremony of shareholder meetings.
And even though we know it no longer works, all of our training efforts, recruitment and leadership approaches work on the basis it will if we only we try hard enough.
Artisans can do drills when needed but know that the real work happens off the parade ground, where there are no orders, no standing on ceremony, and no bands playing.
Artisans create real value by dancing with the work, whether or not anybody is watching, evaluating, and judging.
They do not need Drums or Trumpets.
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