Here is a short tale dating back to the early 1800’s with a simple yet powerful conclusion. Many variations of this tale exist, however the moral is where to direct your focus. Stone Soup was shared with me under the context, “every business owner should read this!” Intrigued by their forceful approach, I stumbled across Stone Soup and decided to share it with you:
Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.
All too often in business, the moral of this tale is lost. If a team is lacking optimal performance, this tale is one to be share. Stone Soup serves as a good reminder: by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved. Negative actions breed negative results. The power lies within numbers but only if those numbers are operating on the same plane. Those tasked with what is felt to be an unnecessary role often times need reminded of the value they provide and that their contribution to the team is vital.
Next time you find yourself not performing at your best, or that your team is falling behind, revisit this tale and have some stone soup, and then share it with whoever is hungry.