'We monks should do what monks do. Here.'
- Abbot Placid Spearritt, Sixth Abbot of New Norcia
New Norcia needed 12 million dollars to maintain its heritage buildings.
One of my jobs was to help the monks to fund it.
The businessman was offering us lots of money in return for the use of the New Norcia brand to market his product.
'I'll need to take it to the brethren of course,' the Abbot said after I'd briefed him. 'I should warn you that I'll be voting against it. The proposal doesn't fit with our European, Aboriginal or Monastic heritage. I also need to be mindful not to distract the brethren away from their prayers. There are plenty of worthy tourist icons that could do with the money. As for us, we monks should do what monks do. Here.'
The Abbot of a Benedictine Monastery, the Air Officer Commanding Western Australia, the Chief of the Defence Force; each had clarity of Purpose - their Widget - to guide them when faced with a right-versus-right decision.
Monks seek God - therefore they pray. Yet they interrupt their prayer to find Him in each visitor to their monastery.
The Air Officer Commanding WA seeks to develop positive relationships with the local civilian community to ensure its support of his jets screaming over its homes - therefore he allows families onto his Air Force Base to cool off in the taxpayer funded swimming pool built to to train military jet pilots to survive a ditching into the ocean.
The Chief of the Defence Force seeks to defend Australia and her interests - therefore he deploys forces beyond our shores.
Teachers should teach.
Doctors should heal.
Bakers should bake.
Leaders of the above - principals, medical directors, bakery owners - should create the space and hire managers to keep it free of distractions from teaching or healing or baking.
Decision makers and their advisers faced with right versus right decisions should ask themselves: What's my Widget? Which decision will build it?
Good decision making begins with Widget clarity. Knowing where we want to be helps us to focus our time and attention, and that of those who support us, on making decisions that get us there.
The Abbot did approve another proposal - the New Norcia Abbey Ale. 'Monks have always brewed beer,' he said.