Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leadership Fable - The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg

Do you remember Aesop's fable about the goose that laid the golden eggs? It goes like this...

A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose that laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining that the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it. Then, they thought, they could obtain the whole store of precious metal at once. However, upon cutting the goose open, they found its innards to be like that of any other goose. Moral: Greed destroys the source of good.

Every time I remember this fable, I think of how it applies to business and how managers should treat people so they perform at their best. But I always feel the desire to retell it in my own words. So I decided to create a modern, updated "remake"...

A man and his wife had a farm. They had a flock of geese and made a business bringing the eggs to town each day and selling them. The couple was known locally as "Mom and Pop."
Two of the geese were unusually well-tempered and the couple gave them extra affection and food. One day, the two favored geese surprised the couple by laying golden eggs.

Mom and Pop were so delighted that they praised the two geese lavishly and rewarded them with even more affection and food. All this attention resulted in two more golden eggs the next day.

The couple began to dream of riches. What if they could get all the geese to lay golden eggs? So they admonished and cajoled the whole flock to follow the example of the two prized geese.

The next day, no golden eggs were produced. Alarmed, the couple lectured the geese about their duty to perform and warned of reduced rations if they didn't produce the gold.

The following day, fewer eggs were produced than ever, and none of them were made of gold. Worried that their future fortune was in jeopardy, the couple stormed through the flock with a broom, shouting at them and threatening them.

When Mom and Pop went to check for produce the next morning, they saw that all the geese were gone.

Moral: A mistreated goose will not lay a golden egg. Know the true source of your profit, and nourish it rather than exploiting it. 

Another take on it: You, too, can lay golden eggs. Nurture yourself, because the ultimate source of your success is within you.

This is why we named our weekly ezine Golden Eggs. It perfectly symbolizes our desire to help you nourish and strengthen yourself. After over 40 issues, we have quite a loyal readership! If you'd like to try it, you can sign up at the top of this page.

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Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .


Steve DeVane said...

This was a good post until the part about considering that we are the source of success. That made it a great post! Excellent point. We have met the goose and it is us!

Kent Julian said...

I absolutely love your modern remake of the Goose That Laid The Golden Egg fable! The lesson here can definitely be applied to business and how leaders should treat their teams. Very wise words!