Balancing act: To complete projects, lift together
"As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, 'Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.'
"It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood."
I love this story for many reasons, but primarily because I believe it contains a basic truth that can apply equally at home, at the office or anywhere else: Meaningful work is accomplished when all of those involved know their individual tasks, focus on them and "lift together" to get a project done.
Note the three steps required in this process. First, every person needs to know what he is supposed to do. This means he needs to actively seek out information and instructions, ask questions when necessary and be clear about expectations. It also means his manager needs to provide good leadership and guidance from the start of the project.
Second, the worker needs to focus on the task at hand. She must buckle down and direct all of her knowledge, skills and energy toward completing her particular part of the project.
Finally, everyone involved needs to "lift together." To me, this means people on a team need to worry more about their own part of a project and less about others' shortcomings. Again, a good manager has to be part of this equation, making sure that everyone on the team really is completing his or her tasks. If the manager is doing her task, she can better coordinate the lifting.
Because we're human, we're always going to be tempted to judge the efforts of others, whether they're in the next cubicle at work or the next bedroom at home. But if we follow this basic formula and overcome our natural tendencies, we may not only rid ourselves of moments of bitterness, but also find that we are enjoying the success that comes from standing close together and lifting where we stand.
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