Sunday, July 3, 2011

We are Building a Temple

The story of three stonecutters is a fine example of the power of vision. As the story goes, a traveler comes upon three stone cutters working in a quarry. He asks the first one what he is doing and the stone cutter replies “breaking rocks.” He asks the second one the same question and gets the response “doing my job, cutting stones.” Finally when asked, the third replies “I am building a temple.” Who do you think works with more passion, drive, dedication and achieves excellence?

The same variety of attitudes are present in our workplaces. Breaking rocks occurs in a demoralized workplace where apathetic workers do the minimum to get by. I know it is a cliche, but think of the Department of Motor Vehicles and you get the picture. Unfortunately, too many workplaces have a culture reflected by the second stone cutter, where workers are just doing their jobs. These workers perform well but there is no underlying passion or purpose. I believe that we all fundamentally desire work similar to that of the third stone cutter. Building a temple creates true fulfillment and purpose. Building a temple leads to greatness.

As leaders, we need to find ways to shape our organizations into ones that build temples. The primary elements in making this happen are vision and culture. A compelling vision is necessary to inspire people. A vision, like a temple, is something greater than ourselves that gives us purpose. It can be a great cause, but it can also be a great company, product, or service. Being part of a great organization is inspiring and creates a culture of passion and excellence.

Most of us have seen and some of us have worked within companies that have the passion of temple building. Often these companies are driven to be the best in the world at what they do. A vision of greatness is a temple. When we are focused on being great, that vision drives our efforts, creativity, enthusiasm and provides fantastic results. With the right vision and culture, we surely will build a remarkable and enduring temple.

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