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Questions I thought about when I held a 2 by 4 against a wall for 3 hours

Next weekend, the Greek community at my school will host the annual ThurtenE carnival for charity. My fraternity, Theta Xi, and my sorority partner take part by performing a musical inside a self-built façade complete with stage and seating. Last night, we raised our façade walls, a feat requiring fifty people. This post recounts the experience of wall raising and the questions it generated.

Except for the leaders responsible for the safety of the wall raisers, the event is mundane. With my two by four pressed firmly against a facade wall, I stand in place with twelve other people–about six on either side–for several hours while our construction leaders transform four walls into one façade. Although the job requires at least fifty people, there are enough people on my fraternity sorority team where one can say, “someone else will do it.” The façade looks beautiful when finished, but construction leaders struggle to persuade people to participate in this tedium.

While I stood at my wall I was thinking, how do leaders (in general) persuade their team to perform the mundane to accomplish something awesome? Why does one person help while another quits? My experience tells me the emotional connection between the leader and team member determines in large part the decision of the team member, but it is a topic I want to explore in greater depth.

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