Digging Holes


“A farmer, while sitting on his porch, noticed a highway department truck pulling over to the shoulder of the road. A man got out, dug a sizable hole in the ditch, and got back into the vehicle. A few minutes later, the other occupant of the truck got out, filled up the hole, tamped the dirt, and returned to the truck.

Then the men drove forward on the shoulder about 50 yards and repeated the process – digging, waiting, refilling. After a half-dozen repetitions, the farmer sauntered over to them. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“We’re on a highway beautification project,” the driver said. “And the guy who plants the trees is home sick today.””

-James E. Lukaszewski, management and communication consultant

If you can’t articulate how your work helps people then you are probably miserable.  It is just a job.  Without a higher purpose, you might as well be digging holes or attaching the same screw to the same part all day long.  Your work means more than just the tasks you accomplish.  The people that you impact are the real reason for your work. 

And you can not do it alone.  You need a team of people that “get it” to help you accomplish the mission.

When only part of the team feels a real sense of purpose, you can feel it.  The people that are excited about the mission can tell when someone on your team is just digging holes.  Your high performers are silently begging you to deal with it.  Success happens if you have motivated people that dig holes, plant trees and fill holes together.


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