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LEADER RESOURCE 1: Stonecutters Story

Excerpted and adapted from The Practice of Management by Peter Drucker (Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, 2007).

I. Stonecutters Story

An old story tells of a man walking along in medieval times, coming upon three stonecutters each hard at work in the hot sun. He asked each what they were doing. The first replied, "I am making a living." The second kept on hammering while he said "I am doing the best job of stone cutting in the entire country." Finally, the third one looked up with a visionary gleam in his eyes and said, "I am building a cathedral."

II. Peter Drucker's Commentary

The third man is of course the true manager. The first man knows what he wants to get out of the work and manages to do so. He is likely to give a "fair day's work for a fair day's pay." But he is not a manger and will never be one. It is the second man who is the problem. Workmanship is essential... But there is always a danger that the true workman, the true professional, will believe that he is accomplishing something when in effect he is just polishing stones or collecting footnotes... .

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Last updated on Friday, November 22, 2013.

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