Monday, November 28, 2011

The Seed

A successful businessman decided it was time to retire.  He  needed to pick a successor, someone to take over the business he had built.  Since he built the company, owned the company and controlled the company, he alone was going to choose the person who would replace him as the President and CEO of his company.

He called all the promising executives, old and young, male and female into the board room and said, "I have decided its time to step down and retire."  The executives were all in shock. The President continued.  "Today I am going to give each of you a SEED – a special SEED, a SEED my wife handpicked from our home garden."

"I want each of you to plant the seed, water the seed and care for the seed.  One year from today, we will meet again in this board room to see what you have grown from the seed I have given.  One year from today, I will judge what you bring back and then I will choose the person who will be this company’s next President and CEO."

The executives went home excited to share the news with their spouses and significant others.  The couples went out that night and bought fancy pots, expensive potting soil and special fertilizers.  They eagerly planted their seed and every day, they would water their seed and watch to see if it had grown.  After about two weeks, some of the executives began to talk about the shoots that were sprouting up from their seed.  

One man, Jim, thought he and his wife did everything right but every time he checked his seed, nothing had grown.  Four weeks, five weeks, six weeks went by and still nothing grew.  By now, others at the office were bragging about the amazing growth of their flowers, shrubs and plants.

Six months went by and Jim still didn’t have a plant.  He continued to water and fertilize his seed every day but still no results.  Feeling like a failure, he thought he must have killed the seed.  Embarrassed, he never said a word to his colleagues at work.

Finally, the year passed and all the executives were told to bring their plants to the board room for inspection by the President.  Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take his empty pot to work but she insisted he be honest and just tell everyone what happened.  Sick to his stomach, Jim knew this was going to be the most embarrassing day in his life, but he also knew it was the right thing to do.
He left the house with his empty pot and walked into the board room.  When he opened the door he was amazed at the variety of plants the other executives brought in. They were so beautiful - different shapes, different sizes and different colors.  Jim briskly walked to the back of the room and quickly put his empty pot on the floor in the corner.
When the President arrived, he greeted everyone as he surveyed the room.  All the while Jim tried to hide in the back of the room. "My, what great plants, shrubs and flowers you all have," said the CEO.  Way in the back of the room he spotted Jim and asked, "Jim where is your plant?" Jim bent down and lifted his small lifeless terra cotta pot. 

The President said, "Jim, bring what you've got to the front and place it here with the rest of the plants."  Jim was terrified.  As he walked to the front of the room, many of his colleagues snickered. 
Jim thought, "Everyone will see I am a failure and maybe the President will fire me." 
When Jim arrived at the front of the room, the CEO asked, "Jim, what happened to your seed?" 
Jim told the President and everyone else in the room the entire story - that he planted the seed, watered the seed, fertilized the seed but nothing happened.  The seed just didn't grow."
"Thank you, Jim," said the President.

The CEO then asked everyone to take a seat.  He then announced,
"As I stated last year, I will appoint one of you the next President and CEO of this company today!"  With that he said, "Behold your new President and Chief Executive Officer," as he pointed to Jim.  Jim could not believe it; the others, all stunned, thought, "How the hell can Jim be the new President of this company?  He couldn't even get one seed to grow."  
"As you recall," said the President, "one year ago today, I gave each of you a seed, a seed I asked you to plant, water and tend.  The seeds I gave you last year were boiled seeds. Seeds I personally boiled in scalding hot water to ensure they were dead – it was impossible for any of them to germinate." 
"All of you, except Jim, brought back beautiful flowers, plants or shrubs.  It’s obvious when you found the seed I gave you would not grow, you substituted mine with another seed.  Jim was the only person with the courage, honesty and character to bring back a pot with the seed I gave him."  
"This company employs hundreds of people and provides products to countless consumers.  This company needs a CEO who will have courage, character and honesty to always do the right things.  Therefore, Jim will be our new President and CEO starting today."