I’ve been addressed as Silence Slayer twice and Queen of Digital Eloquence once in the past few weeks since I came up with the idea and decided to tackle the world of retitling. I’ve got a feeling it was in jest all three times, but I consider it a success – it looks like creative job titles are not without merit.
And yet I’m not having my business cards printed. I am, however, changing my email signature. From now on I am an Artisan.
After a few conversations around the water cooler and not so random chats about what our work and our roles mean to us and what they represent to the outside world the result is neither the traditional nor creative job titles. We are keeping the traditional job titles given to us when we were employed and use them in formal situations when needed. They live in a version of our email signatures, contracts, and situations when a clear and obvious job title is expected.
Creative job titles were tempting (I even wrote a blog about it) but we have taken the creativity to a different level. We haven’t got anything like Microsoft’s Chief Storyteller or Google’s In-House Philosopher, but we have decided to embrace the concept of Artisans.
How did we become Artisans?
Artisans are Artis Group’s staff members who utilise their skills, experience, and mindset to help clients solve a business problem through a consultative approach. We believe we can do amazing things with technology and live and breathe collaboration and co-creation.
Linguistically, it’s fairly obvious: Artis > Artisans. The beauty of English language lies not only in its vast vocabulary (and somewhat complex grammar) but also in its potential for creativity through word formation. None of us can ever pretend to have an impact on the language as great as the Bard but the creativity in inventing, re-inventing, and forming new words or their meaning has been a thriving exercise throughout history. By adding different suffixes, a range of new words can be formed.
Suffixes commonly used to form nouns for jobs and professions are -er, -or, -ist, and -ian but there are others. By the same design, the business world sometimes takes the company name, adds a suffix and ‘invents’ a new word. This way we end up not necessarily with a profession or a job but rather a noun that conveys belonging to a specific group, not dissimilar to once new formations like a Keynesian, an Aristotelian, or a Freudian.
In the case of our Artisans, we love the idea that the word artisan is not only a new formation derived from our company name. It’s a word in its own right predating our company and yet beautifully fits what we do and who we are.
If an artisan was traditionally someone who is skilled in making things with their hands, the Artisans at Artis Group do that and more. We listen, we identify issues, come up with solutions, build them, manage them, support our clients … in short, we do everything we can to create solutions by using our various skills. The final product may not be a hand-made traditional tangible product, but it is nevertheless an artisan technology solution. It involves intelligence, work, and collaboration.
Our Head of Business Solutions is still head of business solutions but as an Artisan all bullet points of his job description that are not relevant to the client are taken away and only the skills relevant to co-creating the business solution remain. When talking to clients, consulting, helping them address their challenges, the all-encompassing job title is not as important as the skills and experience he brings to the table. He is an Artisan – a master of providing a technology solution to a business problem.
But it does not stop with the word in an email signature and a link to his Artis Profile Sheet: a CV focused on relevant skills as opposed to a detailed CV one would use when job hunting.
Once the project begins, the only thing that matters is the skillset relevant to the project and instead of names and job title, the client is introduced to Artis Personas – the functional project participants performing the roles necessary to build the solution.
The Artis Persona comes with a n Artisan Profile Sheet, which shows who the real people behind the role are but the ‘Skillset and mindset-based CV on a page’ is exactly that: a selection of relevant experience, skills, and professional courses and certifications showing why the Artisan is best equipped with and suitable for the role they perform in the project whether this is a Solutions Lead, DX Lead, Customer Success Lead, Function or Technical Consultant, Developer etc.
It’s like putting the jigsaw puzzle pieces together: We need 5 roles (Artis personas) to execute the project, we fill them with 5 Artisans (Artis profile Sheets).
Perhaps. But it works. By stripping the situation of unnecessary (albeit interesting and in other situations valid) details, we, together with the client, focus on what is important.
I may be the Silence Slayer (or Digital Content Lead in version 1.0 of the email signature) but when I meet with a client to help them find a sensible martech solution, I am an Artisan. The skills that I need to consult on marketing, sales, and possible business and technology solutions to solve a specific problem in that area are the only ones that matter. My ability to organise a sprint board, dig through our website data to produce reports for the board, or blog, is not what will help the client. Hence, I am an Artisan (albeit still in training).