Building Cathedrals

April 27, 2021

York Minster Cathedral The York Minster Cathedral took 242 years to build Photo by MatzeTrier CC BY-SA 3.0

Building great products takes enormous hard work over a long time. When we’re deep in the execution tunnel, blocking and tackling the problems that come our way, we can lose sight of the greater goal. Whenever that happens, motivation sinks, and both the volume out of output and the quality of work suffer.

We have to remind ourselves and our teams of the greater purpose constantly. What is the big problem we’re solving? Why does it matter? Where does it go over the next decade?

One of my favorite stories:

Two bricklayers are busy at work.

You walk up to them and ask: “What is your job?” “I’m laying bricks,” they say.

Ask the second: “What is your job?” and they reply: “I’m building a cathedral.”

We are all building cathedrals. We need the occasional reminder because we have to lay down a million bricks.