Two Stonecutters

There is a story of two stonecutters. The first, when asked what he was doing, responded, “I am shaping this stone to fit in that wall.” The second, however, said, “I am helping to build a cathedral.”

The jobs of the two stonecutters might be the same, but their perspectives are dramatically different. The personal outcomes of satisfaction and organizational commitment will likely be much higher for the visionary stonecutter than for the “just doing my job” stonecutter. Finally, the differences in satisfaction and commitment may well lead to different organizational results. After all, if you are building a cathedral, you might be more motivated to stay late, to take extra care, to find ways to improve things, and to help others when help is needed.

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In other words, the organizational member who has a broader perspective on the value of his or her contributions and on the task at hand is likely to be a more committed and capable contributor. As a result, we take a perspective that encourages change leaders to take a holistic perspective on the change and to be widely inclusive in letting employees know what changes are needed and are happening.

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