How is Lime Daley Like a Trappist Monk? – January 19, 2014
While the headline sounds like it might be the beginning of a bad joke, the Trappist Monks from Moncks Corner, SC were mentioned in a sermon this morning, and so I thought I would look up the article referenced, as it sounded pretty good: The Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks.
The article might be long for some of you, so I'll quote the highlights (though you should at least go read the seven bullet point "secrets").
I can think of no business mission more lofty, soft and abstract than serving God, and monasteries manage to successfully infuse this lofty mission into a panoply of niche products and mundane tasks with the kind of preternatural focus that leads to almost supernatural results.
The third element of service and selflessness is a commitment to excellence: At Mepkin Abbey every single egg is packed with a “prayerful attitude.”
This next one has happened to me. I do wonder if people can feel good about themselves when they know they are gouging their customers.
One day I was making deliveries with Father Stan when I heard one of his buyers offer to sell Mepkin’s eggs at a premium price. Stan thanked him for his kindness but said that an “egg is an egg,” and the brothers couldn’t in good conscience sell their eggs for more than the prevailing price.
I love this next one, and I really like being able to bill hourly, rather than per-project, which is more standard in my business. It takes so much time to quote the project, and then I have to estimate high for unexpected things, and so hourly is cheaper for the customer, and results in less boring work for me (quoting a project has to be the worst kind of work there is, though the sewer management guy at Star Island probably wins that contest).
Trust is the most powerful form of capital there is, and nothing makes a business run more smoothly than trust.
And lastly, in case this is getting too philosophical for you:
Every time I think I’m making progress I catch myself shoving some old monk out of the way so I can get that last dish of ice cream.