The maxim “singing out of the same hymnal” reflects a foundational reality for a choir whose goal is to perform at their very best – every member needs to focused on the same music and be willing to perform their part so that the whole choir is successful
So when a member of the choir decides to sing from a different hymnal, the music not only sounds bad but the whole choir (and audience) suffers.
In other kinds of organizations, people who sing from a different hymnal – have their own agenda and do their own thing – are as disruptive as any out of step choir member can be. And because of this disruption, at least in healthy organizations, people who sing from a different hymnal eventually lose their jobs. The reason is, in the long run, no leader can tolerate having employees not align with the organization.
So what is the “hymnal” of a healthy organization? It’s their mission, values, vision, strategy, goals and priorities. In addition a good organizational hymnal also defines the roles and responsibilities for each person in the choir. So when a person is singing from the right hymnal they’re agreeing with and working towards these ends and within these parameters. When they’re singing from a different hymnal it means they’re working from and towards a different vision, strategy, values and goals then the rest of the organization, all of which can be extremely painful.
So the real question is why in the world would any person want to work in an organization but not sing from the organization’s hymnal? It can be just as frustrating to the individual as it is to the rest of the choir.
So if you’re currently singing from the wrong hymnal in your organization, you have a choice to make – either pick up the right one and start singing or find a new choir. But please, make a choice. If you don’t, sooner later someone will make it for you.