Management Lessons 1:1 from the Art of Crocheting

Who would have thought right? Crocheting? Of all the things - how is pulling knots together from colourful yarns with 1 needle, teaching everyday ‘Corporate Management Lessons’. But it’s the best comparison I have come across in my career spanning 17 years in various corporate roles. So about 6 months back and as part of my personal goals of learning a new skill every year, I chose to pick ‘Crocheting’. I was actually motivated having seen videos of ‘men’ perfecting this art form and even making it a lucrative business. It’s so overwhelmingly good to witness this change in gender roles today, that were otherwise moulded by a different social conditioning rule for males and females. So understand that Crocheting though it looks beautiful - is a very tedious, frustrating, tiresome, massive, time-consuming project. Yet oddly, it’s very satisfying that it motivates you to want to keep going. Further, the hands-on lessons one learns whilst on the job e.g. ‘resilience’ when you want to just give up – is unmatched to any classroom management course. Other lessons one learns are in Leadership, Goal setting, Planning, Budgeting, Time management, Smart working, Market research, Team building and team management – to name a few.

Vision & Roadmap: Always ‘start by putting together a blueprint’ to whatever you are doing, after you have foreseen the big picture and it then serves as a guide to get from the beginning to the end. ‘Preparedness’ will go a long way in converting strategy to reality.

Strong Foundation: How far you go will depend on how well you started. The grounding of anything has to be of the ‘right dependable material’ that then aids the rest of the structure to be well buoyed on it, and not come crashing down at any time under any pressures.

Time Management: ‘Allocating’ sufficient time, how much of it, to which tasks in a day, when it can be done is one of the most important lessons in ‘getting anything done’. Mis-management in time can either delay or prolong reaching the goal.

Timelines: Always keep a ‘realistic’ deadline for anything and then add a buffer period to it. Importantly never make a deadline as the main objective to reach a goal - rather it should be the ‘Quality’ of the finished task. If it’s a rushed job, chances are it will be erroneous and flawed, making you eventually undoing and restarting the job.

Self-Motivation: This is a cultivated skill that comes from within yourself. When you have it – nothing can come in the way of your success in life and at work. With it comes positive attributes like zeal, dedication, focus, learnings etc. When confronted with a problem, you will always find a ‘solution’ instead of an excuse.

Smart Budgeting: ‘Market research’ comes very handy here when sourcing has to be done for a service or a product. Post that it’s ‘Smart Decision Making’ that will aid you get the best ‘quality and the most effective ‘longevity’ from it.

Dream Team: Probably the most important lesson of crocheting. Matching the wrong needle with the wrong thread will ruin a project. They have to be compatible as yarns come in different densities and needles comes in different materials. Similarly, wrong people for a job whether individually or as a team – will just result in a lot of unwanted problem solving.

Smart Working: “Do work hard – work smart”. Nip a mistake at the right time than cover it. ‘Improvise’ something if there is a scope for doing it better. When you ‘Take Risk’ you will learn new and better ways of doing things. If not, you will learn what not to do.

Help: Ask for assistance/support/advice but most importantly at ‘the right time’. If you wait when you are stuck, 2 things happen; you waste time delaying the job. And if you do it with the wrong knowledge you have on it, you will eventually have a faulty outcome.

Voices: The first one is your own internal voice. Listen to your gut feeling and experience when making decisions or if you have an idea and want to voice it out. It may be a great one that changes the dynamics, resulting in you becoming a ‘Star’. The second voice is external chatter from the world. Block out the voices of ‘Fake experts’ who may have never done what you are doing but will tell you, you are doing it wrong.

Time Out: Move away from work/life in intervals. Over exhausted mental and physical health will become damaging and unrepairable overtime. Don’t wait to reach a breakdown or a meltdown. Put into play a regime that ‘forces’ you to take a break or even a vacation.

Keep it simple: Not everything needs frills attached. Especially if you are communicating something like an idea, a thought, an outcome, an aim etc – convey it in simple understandable language that the audience can grasp easily.

These were some of the learnings that I got from Crocheting. I’m currently on a ‘Sunburst Throw Rug’ Project’ which is essentially made up of 105 Sunburst granny ‘squares’ joined together. So for 1 square the math goes

  • 1 Square = 5 rows (each row is a different stitch)
  • 1 Row = 16 cluster sets (1 CS is between 5-8 stitches)
  • 8 Chain stitches to form the foundation row and 2 each after each cluster set.

And in the end if you still are motivated you can put a border stitch all around it and a cloth at the back to keep it steady and strong. So in all, its about 8000+ stitches knotted together that magically in theory is actually just 1 long thread from start to end. Imagine the matrix of complicities and the strategy and discipline needed to execute here. Hence, the newfound respect for this art form.

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