Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Parable of the Leadership at Time of Crisis

When the old man lost his horse, how could one have known that it would not be fortuitous?

We’ve been living such an uncertain time, the radical digitization and overwhelming globalization, the hyper-competitive business environment, and human-induced climate change, as many of us know crisis is the combination word of “danger” and “opportunities” in Asian character, here we may explore an ancient parable to envision the leadership at the time of crisis.

1.   Be Optimistic at the Time of Crisis

There was a wise old man in a small town, one day, his horse ran away, in ancient time, horse is the valuable asset, so his neighbors came over to comfort him, the wise man just shrugged, ask: “How do you know it won’t be a good thing?” A few weeks later, his horse came back, also brought back another strong horse. (to be continued at 2.)
The Story Insight: the horse came back, because the wise man treated him and trained him very well, so he missed the owner, and smart enough to recognize the direction to come back. Leadership Takeaway: keep positive thinking at the time of crisis, treat your employee well, delight your customer, so even they left for some reasons, for long run, they may still become the champion of your business reputation.

2.   Be Paranoid at  the Time of Prosperity

The man’s neighbors came again to congratulated him for getting two horses, the wise man rolled over the eyes and asked: How do you know it’s good luck? A man’s only son enjoyed riding the horse, one day, the new horse lost the temper, and young man fell down from the horse and broke the legs.(To be continued at 3.)

Leadership Takeaway: keep cautious at the good time, “Only Paranoid Survive”, every opportunity is accompanied with risk, also, many times the risk taking can lead to opportunities.

3.   Be Insightful at the Time of Uncertainty

The neighbors came again to show their sympathy, the wise man looked out of window, uttered the word: How could you tell it will not fortuitous? Months later, because of the conflict between the two countries, all young men in the town have been sent out to the war, and many lost their lifes; the wise man’s son could survive and stay with his father because of his broken legs , he could also learn from his father and grow as another wise man, they also worked together to help rebuild their communities.

Leadership Takeaway: Not only understand your current situation, but also be insightful for the macro-environment, and perceive the future circumstance, so the short-time frustration may not become the barrier for the long term vision.

From this parable, we can learn: the leadership at the time of crisis is transformational, open-minded, with paradoxical thinking, keep optimistic at the bad time and keep paranoid at good time, be insightful for the long term, and be wise via both historical lessons and life experience.


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