Issue #25 Get This Right to Avoid Collapse

Next time you are worried about motivating your people, consider this: Building St. Paul’s Cathedral took 40 years.

This meant teams of people would work for decades cutting stones and fitting them all by hand (without power tools or laser levels) in just the right way.

Getting it wrong meant not just a strongly worded letter from the king, full of exclamation points and what-fors, but also the total collapse of the structure.

And, since architects traditionally spent the first dangerous nights in the building after removing the scaffolding… death.

So, it was worth getting right.

This all fell on Christopher Wren’s shoulders. Not only did he design the building, but he also supervised construction and had to motivate all of those workers. And not in an air-conditioned office… but outside. In London.  

Yeah, and we think we have it tough.

The story of discovery (maybe true, maybe apocryphal) begins with Wren strolling through the construction site incognito.

He walked up to three workers and asked them what they were doing.

  • The first one said: “I am cutting a piece of stone.”
  • The second one said: “ I am earning five shillings twopence a day.”
  • The third one said: “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a beautiful Cathedral.”.

The first worker focused on his work, and the second on earning a living. The third saw the bigger picture.

All three are correct, but when people see themselves as part of something bigger when they get the why, they are motivated. The bigger picture gets you through slumps, bad days, and screaming clients with unreasonable demands.

The secret that Wren discovered was the value of shared purpose. Without purpose, if work is only work and a living, it is too easy to walk out when the excrement hits the blower – as it always will.

So, how do you create a place where people want to work? Make sure they understand what they are working for and have a shared purpose.

Start with values.


Solving the Problem of 80% Turnover

According to the Morning Brew, the source of all truth in the universe*, the most common phrase in business these days is “I quit.”

That makes running a business hard.  

The key to fixing this is to be sure you hire for Core Values.  This matters because you are hiring human beings. If you were to hire goats, for example, they wouldn’t matter much.  But humans work best in an environment with shared values.  

Get a jump on next week’s webinar; read more here.

*yes, we know that the Morning Brew is not the source of all truth in the universe.

What Is A Core Value?

Check out this video by Patrick Lencioni, even if you have seen it, it is worth a re-watch.  The video quality is lousy.  The duration is short.  The content is pure gold.  

From Around the Web

  • 🤖 Mind-boggling New Tech: Remember back when we were blown away by “Big Dog?” that is sooo last decade.  Check out the parkour moves on Boston Dynamics’ new robot.  Asimov would be so proud.
  • 🎥 Speaking of Parkour and Tech: This is what happens when an AI video composition program blends multiple traceurs into one continuous run.  The tech is interesting in the video? I don’t think Asimov would be impressed, but it makes for interesting viewing.
  • 🎮 Burn the Runway: Here is a complete waste of digital space that will probably end up soaking up the next half an hour of your life: a game where you get to waste your startup’s money on useless stuff.  We don’t need no stinkin’ values, just buy a hot tub.

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