A couple of weeks ago I was geeking out, digging through a 1906 copy of “System” magazine — yeah, I do stuff like that. Anyway, I came across the following, which starts with a metaphor from an obscure Kipling short story, “The Ship That Found Herself.” The story is about a new ship’s shakedown cruise. It’s really one of the best descriptions of the value of business management I’ve ever read.
The organization of business is like Kipling’s “Ship that Found Herself.” In the discord of the trial trip every bolt and joint, each separate stick of timber and piece of machinery, moaned and groaned shrieked and pounded. But gradually all parts became attuned, and the thousands of conflicting noises blended into one harmonious sound – the voice of the steamer. The Ship had found Herself.
In the newly or poorly organized business there is clashing between the independent and working parts, lack of concerted action, jangling, jar, and costly waste of effort. The harmonizing influence is intelligent organization. Through system, the disturbing discord gives place to the smooth hum of accomplished industry – the machinery works with single purpose to the one best result.
Like the story ship, the Business Craft will find herself.
The Business Craft will only find itself, of course, with attentive, patient leadership that moves in baby steps toward a consistent destination.