I need to clarify this morning's post. In my glib attempt to make a point, I wasn't as clear as I wanted to be.
When Miles Davis made records with John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock, they weren't easily replaceable, invisible sidemen. No one who went to hear them would have been satisfied if they had been subbed out. By my definition, then, they did in fact have a relationship with the customer… they did work that was unique, that was hard to replace.
Yes, we need teams, no doubt about. The MGs without Steve Cropper could never have been such an amazing house band, and we're all lucky that some people will take their craft that far. Marshall Grant didn't merely perform Johnny Cash's bass sound… he invented it.
Does the world need anonymous, replaceable cogs, people who work for the front man and put in a day's work but that's all? Sure, but it doesn't have to be you. The goal, I think, is to find out how to do your work in a way that makes the team and the product in a way that matters.
PS a fun video from Todd makes my point…