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“Making Pianos” or “Being an Artist”

by Mike Rollings  |  November 26, 2012  |  1 Comment

I saw a story on CBS about Wally Boot who has worked at the Steinway factory for 50 years. He was born on Steinway Street and has learned how to make every part in a Steinway, but what he makes is so much more.

At the end of the story, Charlie Rose says “there is a word for people like him – artists…” and the other host innocently says “born on Steinway Street and 50 years later making pianos”. It illustrates an important distinction for your work. Are you an artist or just a worker? It also begs the question — Do you see art in the work of others?

You can always get something cheaper, but can you get something that embodies the passion of the people who create it? Do you value the passion within you that makes what you do in life special, and do you strive to develop it?

I frequently see examples of both perspectives, people who believe that value is solely monetary, and others who increasingly care more about the experience – what goes into it and where they get it. But as work increasingly becomes cerebral, social, and creative the latter perspective is one we must embrace. We must value the artist, especially in ourselves.

Watch the video and think about the attention given to the felt hammers.

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Category: human-behavior  management  

Tags: behavior  empathy  non-technical-skills  value  

Mike Rollings
Research VP
5 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Mike Rollings is VP of Gartner Research within the Professional Effectiveness team. His research discusses what IT professionals need to know about transformation, innovation, human behavior, contextual strategy, collaborative organizational change, communication and influence, and cross-discipline effectiveness . His research can be read by IT professionals with access to Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) research. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on “Making Pianos” or “Being an Artist”

  1. Metzler says:

    Times have changed – once the name ‘artisan’ was reserved for people who excelled at their craft.
    And they were payed good – for their daily work.
    Compare this to those who are called nearly the same – artists.
    Got a one hit wonder? Get payed for the rest of your life.
    Not even that… someone else, a faceless corporation gets payed for the rest of that artists life and then some, and some more since those corporations payed the lawmakers to amend the IP laws… and then some more, rinse, repeat…

    In German there is a saying regarding ‘art’ – Kunst kommt von können, käme es von Wollen hiesse es Wunst.
    Translated it loses his touch of course – Art derives from being competent not from being wishful – else it would be called wart.

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