Different Drums, Different Drummers
If I don’t want what you want, please don’t tell me I am wrong.
If I believe differently than you, at least pause before you correct my view. If my emotion is less or more than yours, given the same circumstances, don’t ask me to feel more or less than you.
If I act, or fail to act, in a manner of your design for action, let me be.
I’m not asking you to understand me—that will only come when you stop trying to change me into a copy of you.
I may be your spouse, your parent, your child, or your colleague. If you allow me my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, you must open yourself so that someday, my ways won’t seem so wrong, and might finally appear to you as right —for me.
To put up with me is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. By understanding me, you might come to prize my differences from you, and instead of trying to change me, you’ll preserve and nurture those differences.
Humanity is Indivisible
When former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek found out he’d be awarded the Peace Prize of the Association of German Publishers in 1985 for his efforts in reconciling Arabs and Jews, he chose Manfred Rommel, mayor of Stuttgart, Germany and son of General Erwin Rommel, to present him the prize.
Upon accepting the prize, Kollek said, “Who would have imagined that the Field Marshal’s son and I would meet in the peaceful profession of being mayors? Isn’t that a symbol of peace—our theme here tonight?”
In the face of fanaticism and intolerance, there is a need for a deep belief in humanistic Jewishness: treat all people with the same respect and in the same manner.
This isn’t always recognized, especially among groups who only think of themselves and overlook the interests of others. According to Jewish belief, however, humanity is indivisible.
Who Our Hearts Beat For
The older you get, the more you realize that it isn’t about the material things, or pride or ego. It’s about our hearts and who they beat for.
Once upon a time, there were three bricklayers.
When asked, “What are you doing?” the first bricklayer replied:
“I’m laying bricks.”
The second bricklayer was asked the same question. He answered:
“I’m putting up a wall.”
The third bricklayer, when asked the question “What are you doing?” responded, with pride in his voice: “I’m building a cathedral.”
If you search for this story online you’ll find different interpretations of the stories meaning, most including some sort of explanation about how the tale speaks to a person’s attitude and ability to see the big picture.
While these things are true and insightful, this story makes me wonder: Why do some companies have an overwhelming amount of cathedral builders? Then on the other hand, why do other businesses seem to only contain hordes of bricklayers?
There’s no question that a person’s individual perspective—attitude, ability to see the big picture, etc.–is crucial. But, the importance of the culture that individual is “IN” is often highly underestimated—even though a cultural explanation explains this conundrum much better.
Let me explain.
If there is a “we” component to our work—if there’s something about the collective group that makes us either better or worse as individuals—then this story isn’t just about a person’s mindset. It’s also very much about the culture surrounding the person.
As leaders we have very little control over how other people think. But if there’s something about the environment a person is in, which creates either more or less meaning in their work, then leaders are on the hook for something different.
A work environment—unlike a person’s mentality — is something a leader has a HUGE amount of control over.
So then the next question is: As a leader, how do I create more cathedral builders in this hospital? By building a better work environment.
Once we start asking that question, we’re headed in the right direction.