Cathedral Thinking in the Corporate World

Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers

The builders who laid the foundation and began to place stone upon stone never saw the beautiful stained-glass windows that would inspire personal prayer and religious awakenings. They never saw the spires that would stretch toward the heavens. They never heard a baby’s cry at the baptismal font. They never heard the bell in the tower greet the throngs of people who would attend Sunday services, wedding celebrations and somber funerals over the centuries. Yet, these creators knew what they were about. Their vision was as clear as the future ringing of that bell on a cold winter morning. Their vision was of something bigger than themselves

– Jim Rogers

New Horizons

New Horizons was a corporate planning retreat for The Armstrong Group of companies and they wanted to begin with a novel way of looking at things, something that encouraged a long term perspective while also jostling conventional ways of thinking. They chose a tailored presentation about Cathedral Thinking.


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In her acceptance speech, Mahoney urged everyone to use “cathedral thinking,” a term acknowledging the vision and dedication of people who designed and started construction of the great cathedrals, knowing they wouldn’t live long enough to see their projects completed many years later.

“We are cathedral builders, laying foundations for our children,” Mahoney said. “I challenge all of us to keep thinking these big visions… even if we know we won’t be around to see the long-term gain.”

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