Do you know how to do anything?

I keep going back to a moment in my life, 1993 I think it was; the year is not that important. I was the Operations Training Manager at Huffy and we just bought our “new” digital video editing station. It was cool and cost about $40,000, all Mac-based, 4 gigs of RAM, 1 gig HD, Adobe Premiere. Ok, ok, laugh, but that was some pretty wicked cool stuff at the time!

Anyway, it got to be about 7:00pm and I was editing some last-minute video for my media specialist who had to leave early. The video was for a Huffy Corporate kick off the next day for the annual Red Cross fund-raising carnival, showing a bunch of Huffy people waving to the sound track of REM’s shiny, happy people (I wish I had a copy.) John Sliter, the operations support manager walked in, (we were at the same level organizationally) he looks at me and says,

“Well, if this economy tanks, at least you have some skills you can lean back on. I’ve only got management experience.”

That one line and that look of simultaneous envy and fear in his eyes is one of the vivid memories burned in my brain.

Do you know how to make anything? Do you have skills besides blogging and twittering? Can you fashion an electric starter from a piece of string, a gum wrapper and a paper clip?

This economy already has far too many people standing around, telling everyone “you know what you oughta do?” Seth Godin, to have a tribe, you must also have people who follow and do. A tribe is not a collection of one-person groups. Not everyone is a leader.

We don’t need more knowledge workers or consultants or bloggers. What we need are people who can actually do things like write code, design stuff, make pottery, edit video. And we need people who can do more than just one step in the process.

We need craftsmen. And lots of them who can also lead.

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