Sunday, July 27, 2008

I want to build a house; What hammer should I buy?

My favorite marketing writer, Seth Godin wrote this brief bit of wisdom last week. I quote here the essence:

I want to write a novel. What word processor do you recommend?

Yesterday on the radio, Jimmy Wales was talking about the Wikipedia movement. A caller who identified himself as a strategist at Amnesty International asked: We're going to build a website to promote freedom and democracy and human rights. What software should we use?


If you want to do something worth doing, you'll need two things: passion and architecture. The tools will take care of themselves. (Knowledge of tools matters, of course, but it pales in comparison to the other two.)

Sure, picking the wrong tools will really cripple your launch. Picking the wrong software (or the wrong hammer) is a hassle. But nothing great gets built just because you have the right tools.

This hit me at several levels.

How often have I failed in explaining Lean because I focus on kanban cards or kaizen events rather on a passion for operational excellence?

How often have I failed by talking about seven wastes rather than the enjoyment of every work day for all workers?

Do I provide an example of a passionate operational leader or a bureaucratic box-checker-offer?

Lean offers tools which the passionate individual and company can use. The passion needs to be for the result, though, not the tools; even we need to know the tools every bit as well as the finish carpenter knows her miter saw and laser level.

This hits me deeply…I hope it does you as well. Let your passion show.

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