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Misdirection by Specialization

“I am building a cathedral.”

An old story tells of three stonecutters who were asked what they were doing. The first replied, “I am making a living.” The second kept on hammering while he said, “I am doing the best job of stonecutting in the entire country.” The third one looked up with a visionary gleam in his eyes and said, “I am building a cathedral.” The third man is, of course, the true manager. The first man knows what he wants to get out of the work and manages to do so. he is likely to give a “fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.” But he is not a manager and will never be one. It is the second man who is a problem. Workmanship is essential: in fact, an organization demoralizes if it does not demand of its members the highest workmanship they are capable of. But there is always a danger that the true workman, the true professional, will believe that he is accomplishing something when in effect he is just polishing stones, or collecting footnotes. Workmanship must be encouraged in the business enterprise. But it must always be related to the needs of the whole.

ACTION POINT: Develop a process whereby each person in the organization understands his or her contribution to producing the products and services of the enterprise.

Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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