Consider the following story of a meeting with interns led by a senior partner at a large accounting firm. Does it ring true for you?
“The partner concluded the meeting by recounting the parable of three bricklayers who were rebuilding a church after it had been damaged by fire:
The construction architect observed the three workers on a scaffold, and asked “What are you doing?” to which the first bricklayer replied, “I’m laying bricks.” The second responded, “I’m repairing a wall.” But the third replied, “I’m building a cathedral to The Almighty.”
“So,” our partner asked the crowd, “Do you want to be bricklayers or cathedral builders?” After her presentation, a crowd of enthusiastic interns surrounded her and more than a hundred emails followed, all with the same clarion message: “I want to be a cathedral builder.”
KPMG, a member of the Positive Organizations Consortium, is among the best companies in helping their employees connect meaning and purpose to their work. When people ask me how best to infuse purpose and meaning throughout their organization, I often point them to KPMG.
Chris White (@leadpositively, leadpositively.com) is managing director of the Center for Positive Organizations (@PositiveOrg) at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business (@MichiganRoss). The Center is the convener of the Consortium of Positive Organizations, a catalytic co-learning community of leaders actively building high-performing organizations where people thrive.