Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do you want to inspire your people?

I walked into a quarry one day to interview people about their jobs. Side by side two middle-aged men were sitting on stools cutting stone and I asked the first one: “How’s your job?”

He looked at me and said: “You know, Frode, I quite possibly have the most mind-bogglingly boring job in the world. I have been sitting on this stool for about 25 year cutting two-by-two-by-fours and the supervisor is so picky about my measurements that he checks every single stone. There are no other jobs in this village and I am bored almost out of my mind!”

“Hm”, I said and asked the other man: “How’s your job?”

He looked at me and said: “You know, Frode, I quite possibly have the most inspiring job in the world. I have been sitting here on this stool for almost 25 years cutting two-by-two-by-fours and I take such pride I making them accurate. Every Sunday afternoon for the last 25 years I have taken my son down to the village square and I can point to every single stone that I have cut that are used to build the cathedral. My son has been so inspired that he decided to become a carpenter so that he will be the one putting the roof on the tower of the cathedral.”

“Hm”, I said.

What is your job?

Is it producing reports and filling in spreadsheets, making presentation or following up on projects, is it writing e-mails and cutting stone?

OR is it being part of an organization that’s creates something that makes lives easier for people, or the world a safer place? Are you working for an organization that makes a positive contribution to the world?

You choose. It doesn’t matter what the company or organization you work for really DO, as long as you know WHAT the contribution is. If you think your job is to cut stone it’s going to be REALLY difficult to inspire your own people. If you know what part of the cathedral you are delivering, it’s going to be a lot easier.

So what is it? What is the cathedral that your organization is building?

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