noun: craftsman; plural noun: craftsmen

  1. a person who is skilled in a particular craft.
  2. synonyms:  artisan, artist, skilled worker; expert, master;

I was visiting with my dentist as he worked on me a few weeks ago.  He is in his mid-50’s and is one of the best people I know.  His sacrificial, intentional, and good heart toward others have blessed many people and helped sustain many ministries.  He has a huge sphere of influence among fellow dentists and the community at large.  I asked him a simple question…

What are you doing with this greatest season of your influence and impact?

I didn’t get a clear answer, but it seemed like he was going in a sort of ride-off-into-the-sunset direction.  I asked him about succession and he said that he had given up on the idea after a series of false starts had left him discouraged.  He said…

  • Dentistry had changed
  • Everything was big production dental factories now (Monarch, Apple, etc.)
  • He couldn’t find anyone who shared his values
  • No one really seemed interested in doing things with a high priority on relationship, technical ability, or care

Essentially when he was done, his practice would be done.

I am not okay with that.

How he does what he does is worth fighting for.

I told him about the rise of the craftsman…the groundswell of cottage industries and things locally sourced.  I told him how there was a renaissance among consumers that are so relationally disconnected (even as they are more connected technologically) and devoid of meaning for their lives, that they are actually looking to the products and services they need to find the life they are lacking.

Getting really clear on what he believed (values & purpose)…
and translating those into a newly imagined future (vision)...
would lead to the necessary pathway (strategic plan)…
that would result in a more inspired and sustainable future.

Articulating everything that was unique and powerful about doing business the way he desired was also the path to rallying the team, hiring the right people to sustain the practice, and drawing a larger customer base that would be willing to pay more to be part of a better story and experience.

For a better experience and product, we’ll pay $4 for coffee instead of$2.

For a piece of handcrafted furniture, a hand made belt, craft made recycled paper, etc., with a powerful story, we’ll pay much more than we would pay otherwise.

Supermarkets are giving way to Trader Joe’s.  Starbucks is losing market share to local coffee houses.  Craft brews are pecking away at the big brands.  Mega churches are being replaced by house churches or much smaller varieties.  People want to be known, connected, and feel they are part of something substantial.

Here are a few great examples of companies I am familiar with…

Lamon Luther - restoring dignity to the homeless by employing them to create handcrafted furniture from discarded pallets.

OakWrites - writing redemptive stories in the Texas Hill Country as they create timber frame houses, furniture, floors, and kitchen items from previously discarded trees suffering oak wilt.

Redtail Hard Goods - locally hand made leather goods living up to a standard of quality and craftsmanship that is rarely exists anymore.

My dentist isn’t passé like he feared, he is more relevant and has a more powerful opportunity than he ever has…

This could be his greatest season of influence and contribution.

  • What is your unique contribution? (we can help you figure that out at the next Lifeplan retreat)
  • What do uniquely represent in the marketplace that could impact and change lives?
  • Are you clear on what that is and is it articulated in a way that your employees, clients, and prospective ones know what it is?
  • Are you living the season of your greatest influence and contribution?