Leadership Lesson: Don’t lay bricks. Build a cathedral

Bold compelling visions bring everyone together on a real purpose

I was going through the SmartBrief on leadership newsletter this morning and found a interesting read on a great , CEO of Ford.

Mr. Mulally was interviewed by the NYTimes, and was asked about what leadership lessons he had learned over his career. The gem that caught my attention was as story of the importance of having a vision:

One of my favorite stories is an analogy where this reporter stops by a construction site and he interviews three bricklayers. He asks the first bricklayer, “What are you doing?” And he says, “Well, I’m making a living laying these bricks.” The reporter says: “Oh, that’s great. That’s very noble.”

He asks the next bricklayer, “What are you doing?” And he says, “Well, I am practicing the profession of bricklaying. I’m going to be the best bricklayer ever.”

And the reporter asks the third bricklayer, “What are you doing?” And he says, “I’m developing a cathedral.”

There is technical excellence and professionalism, but we all want to contribute to making a cathedral. And the more we feel that and we know what our part in it is, the more I think you can take the team performance to a whole other level of excellence.

Sure enough I’ve shared this one with peers!