Leadership Fables – Management Lessons

Posted: Sunday, April 18, 2010 in Leadership and Management

 

Some interesting, funny and witty fables (short stories with a moral message), to illustrate different Management Lessons.

 

Are you a Dog or a Leopard?

A wealthy man decided to go on a safari in Africa. He took his faithful pet dachshund (a pedigree dog) along for company. One day, the dachshund starts chasing butterflies and before long the dachshund discovers that he is lost.

So, wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having him for lunch. The dachshund thinks, “OK, I’m in deep trouble now!” Then he noticed some bones on the ground close by, and immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the dachshund exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here.” Hearing this, the leopard halts his attack in mid-stride, as a look of terror comes over him, and slinks away into the trees. “Whew,” says the leopard. “That was close. That dachshund nearly had me.” Meanwhile, a monkey, who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So, off he goes.

But the dachshund saw him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figured that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard. The leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, “Here monkey, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that conniving canine.” Now the dachshund sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back, and thinks, “What am I going to do now?” But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet … and, just when they get close enough to hear, the dachshund says………………

“Where’s that darn monkey? Sent him off half an hour ago to bring me another leopard.”

Management Lesson:

Attacking your challenges as if it is a do-or-die situation can bring splendid results. Outthink, outwit, outlast, outperform, outstand.


Last Respects

 

At a motivational seminar, 3 men are asked to come up to the stage.

They are all asked, “If you die, your friends and family are mourning during your funeral, and you are lying in your coffin, what would you like to hear them say about you?”

The first guy says, “I would like to hear them say that I was the great doctor of my time, and a great family man.”

The second guy says, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow.”

The last guy replies, “I would like to hear them say…… LOOK!!! HE’S MOVING!!!!!”

Management Lesson:

Optimism is useful even in a dreadful scenario. Never give up, even if you are not slipping down.


Cat and Bowl

 

An art connoisseur passed a little grocery in New York when he noticed a kitten on the front step lapping up some milk in a bowl. The cat was mangy with one ear half chewed off and clumps of fur missing. What really caught the collector’s eye was the bowl the kitten was drinking from. It was a rare antique worth thousands.

He walks into the store and offers $20.00 for the cat. “He’s not for sale.” Says the store owner. “That’s ridiculous!” Says the collector. “He is one of the ugliest cats I’ve seen. He must be for sale. I’ll give you $100.00 for him.”

The store owner thought for a second and said “It’s a deal.” The connoisseur hands the store owner the money, which he quickly pockets, and as he starts out the store asks “For that price I’m sure you wont mind sending that old bowl with him. He seems so happy drinking from it.”

The store owner says “No way. That’s my lucky bowl. From that bowl I’ve sold 26 cats this week!”

Management Lesson:

Manage your risks, before capitalizing on your opportunities.


 

(H)ear Fear

There was an elderly man visiting a doctor for his check-up. As he was leaving he asked the doctor if he could recommend a specialist for his wife. “What’s wrong with her?” asked the doctor. The old man explained that her hearing was getting so bad that it was almost embarrassing. The doctor said he knew of several specialists that could help but he wanted the old man to do a little test when he got home to help the doctor determine the severity of her hearing loss. The doctor said “When you get home, make sure your wife’s back is turned to you and ask her a question. If she doesn’t respond walk closer and ask her again. Keep doing this until she answers and let me know the results”.

That night when the old man opened the door of his home he could see his wife in the kitchen preparing dinner. She was at the counter with her back to the door. “What’s for dinner?” the old man asked. His wife did not respond so he walks to the doorway of the kitchen and asked the question again. Still, he was greeted with silence. This time he walks up just behind her and asks once again “What’s for dinner?” His wife spins around a bit agitated and says “For the third time, Fried Chicken!!”

Management Lesson:

Never forget to verify your assumptions – gut instinct is good, but gut instinct followed by adequate reasoning is best.


 

Sack Pack

For those keyboard jockeys (those with jobs that require sitting at a computer all day) who don’t want to spend the money at those fancy gyms or for those expensive exercise machines, here is a little secret for building arm and shoulder muscles and reducing the fat. Three days a week is best.

Begin by standing (in your cubicle works well) with a five pound potato sack in each hand. Extend your arms straight out to your sides and hold them there as long as you can.

After a few weeks, move up to ten pound potato sacks and then fifty pound potato sacks, and finally get to where you can lift a one hundred pound potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

Next, start putting a few potatoes into the sacks.

Management Lesson:

Start small, think big. Success is 1% inspiration, 89% perspiration and 10% desperation.


 

Grand S(t)and

A customs officer at the Mexican border noticed a man with red-hair, coming across one day on a bicycle with two small sacks tied to the handlebars. He naturally got suspicious and asked him to open the sacks, but when he did he found nothing but sand.

This went on every day for the nest month. Each time he’d stop the red-head and open the sacks, and he’d find only sand.

A few years later, he ran into the biker in a restaurant in Tijuana. After some small talk he said, “Come on. I know you were smuggling something all that time. I won’t tell. I’m just curious. What was it?”

The red-headed man replied, “Bicycles.”

Management Lesson:

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.


Crow Grow

 

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?”
The crow answered: “Sure, why not.” so, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested.

All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Management Learning:

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.


 

Tur(n)key Jockey

A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”
“Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.”

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree.
The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

Soon he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Management Learning:

Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.


 

Swallow Cow

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out!
He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!

Management Learning:

1.     Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

2.     Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

3.     And when you’re in deep shit, keep your mouth shut!


Please Unease

 

The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked. As they went along, they passed some people who remarked “it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding”.
The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions. Later, they passed some people that remarked, “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.”

They decided they both would walk! Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride.
So they both rode the donkey! Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying “how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey”.

The boy and man said they were probably right so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

Management Learning:

If you try to please everyone, you will eventually lose what you already have.


Stuck Luck

 

Once three government ministers Mr. ABC, Mr. PQR and Mr. XYZ were travelling in an autorickshaw. They met with an accident and all three of them died. Lord of Death (Yamaraja) was waiting for this moment at the doorstep of death. He asks ABC and PQR to go to HEAVEN. But, for XYZ, he had already decided that he should be sent to HELL.

XYZ is not at all happy with this decision. He asks the lord of death as to why this discrimination is being made. All the three of them had served the public. Similarly, all took bribes, all misused public positions, etc. Then why the differential treatment?

He felt that there should be a formal test or an objective evaluation before a decision is made; and should not be just based on opinion or pre conceived notions. Lord of Death agrees to this and asks all the three of them to appear for an English test. ABC is asked to spell “INDIA” and he does it correctly. PQR is asked to spell “ENGLAND” and he too passes. It is XYZ’s turn and he is asked to spell “CZECHOSLOVAKIA”.

XYZ protests that he doesn’t know English. He says this is not fair and that he was given a tough question and thus forced to fail with false intent. Lord of Death then agrees to conduct a written test in Hindi (to give another chance assuming that XYZ should at least feel that Hindi would provide an equal platform for all three).

ABC is asked to write in Hindi “KUTTA BOLA BHOW BHOW” (dog barks). He writes it easily and passes. PQR is asked to write “BILLI BOLI MYAUN MYAUN” (cat meows). He too passes. XYZ is asked to write “BANDAR BOLA GURRRRRR…..” (monkey chatters). Tough one to spell. He fails again. He is extremely unhappy.

Having been a student of history (which the other two weren’t), he now requested for all the 3 to be subjected to a test in history. Lord of Death says ‘OK’, but this would be the last chance and that he would not take any more tests.

ABC is asked: “When did India get Independence?”. He replied “1947” and passed. PQR is asked “How many people died during the independence struggle?”. He gets nervous. Lord of Death asked him to choose from 3 options: 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000. PQR catches it and says 200,000 and passes. It’s XYZ’s turn now. Lord of Death asks him to give the Name and Address of each of the 200,000 who died in the struggle. XYZ accepts defeat and agrees to go to HELL.

Management Lesson:

“IF YOUR MANAGEMENT HAS DECIDED TO SCREW YOU, THERE IS JUST NO ESCAPE”


Age Image

 

The secret is finally revealed. On the first day God created the cow. God said, “You must go to field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years.” The cow said, “That’s a kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. Let me have twenty years and I’ll give back the other forty.” and God agreed.

On the second day, God created the dog. God said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of twenty years.” The dog said, “That’s too long to be barking. Give me ten years and I’ll give back the other ten.” so God agreed (sigh).

On the third day God created the monkey. God said, “Entertain people, do monkey tricks, make them laugh. I’ll give you a twenty year life span.” Monkey said, “How boring, monkey tricks for twenty years? I don’t think so. Dog gave you back ten, so that’s what I’ll do too, okay?” and God agreed again.

On the fourth day God created man. God said, “Eat, sleep, play, enjoy & worship god. Do nothing, just enjoy & worship god. I’ll give you twenty years.” Man said, “What? Only twenty years? No way, man. Tell you what, I’ll take my twenty, and the forty cow gave back, and the ten dog gave back and the ten monkey gave back. That makes eighty, okay?”

“Okay,” said God. “You’ve got a deal.”

Management Lesson:

So that is why for the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play, enjoy and do nothing; for the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our
family; for the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain our grandchildren; and for the last ten years we sit in front of the house and bark at everybody.

In all these stages, we forget to worship God for his grace on us.


The Seed of Life

 

How the Emperor chose his successor

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked but the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here after one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. His mother said failure isn’t an indication of lack of effort. Honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach with fear and shame, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?

Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

Management Lesson:

  • If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
  • If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
  • If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
  • If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory.
  • If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony.
  • If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
  • If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
  • If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy.
  • If you plant patience, you will reap improvements.
  • If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.

However…

  • If you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust.
  • If you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness.
  • If you plant pride, you will reap destruction.
  • If you plant envy, you will reap trouble.
  • If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation
  • If you plant bitterness, you will reap isolation.
  • If you plant greed, you will reap loss.
  • If you plant gossip, you will reap enemies.
  • If you plant worries, you will reap wrinkles.
  • If you plant sin, you will reap guilt.

So be careful what you plant now, It will determine what you will reap tomorrow, The seeds you now scatter, Will make life worse or better, your life or the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits, or you will pay for the choices you plant today.

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