Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi is best known for the art of his construction. It is unlike any others you will see. As is true for many with vision ahead of their time, his initial buildings were subject to ridicule, though not by his benefactors. Several of his edifices are now UNESCO heritage sites.
His most famous, Sagrada Familia, is not yet complete. Gaudi died in 1926, over 40 years after taking over this huge religious project in 1883. When asked repeatedly why construction was taking so long, Gaudi famously replied “my client is not in a hurry.” At his death, it was less than 25% complete.
Numerous world-famous architects and stone masons have become involved in the project, some investing the vast majority of their careers. Now, still about a decade from completion, millions of visitors come to see the outside and the inside as construction continues. No one leaves disappointed.
Gaudi’s vision has been respected but slightly altered by subsequent chief architects. That is to be expected. Antoni Gaudi did everything in his power to make this religious building fulfill his vision for it. But models were destroyed by war and burnt by fire, and funding inadequate at times. Others have taken the mantle, literally, and intertwined their insights. That makes the building no less valid, but in fact more representative of evolving thinking.
Now consider your business’s journey of excellence. Are you frustrated that it’s taking so long? Are you concerned that someone may alter the plans when you leave? Is every change to your vision a negative?
I hope not. Your vision and your understanding of what is possible evolve. Momentum can ebb and flow. What you once thought sacrosanct you may now realize can have many flavors. I have certainly gained that understanding over time. My own journey is accelerating. My critical and analytical thinking skills, vision, and application creativity all continue to develop, so my journey too is not a straight line. Nor should it be.
Let’s all learn from Gaudi that patience in creating our vision, and trusting the good intentions of others, may be never ending. But a journey well worth the time and energy required. The important aspect is a beautiful vision worth realizing.