We like to tell stories! Stories, give a more coherent framework to understand a situation or a subject. A story provides, time reference, location, rhythm, coherence, heroes, villains, minions, and a thousand small details, that develop a whole world, in the mind of the listeners. That’s why it is important to say and listen to stories. Here another one, about leadership! I hope you will enjoy it!

A Leadership Fable

Once upon a time, a young apprentice asked a great General, “You have fought a thousand battles; some of them you have lost, many you have won. You are one of the most esteemed persons in all the realm, still, I never heard you yelling, arguing or debating about anything, with anyone! Yet no one seems to argue with you. Even the King himself seeks your advice on the important things.”

I wonder, my lord,” continued the apprentice “what are the things that make you so successful? What are your secrets to making all the people listen to you and overcome your enemies when there is a battle?

The General replied, “there is no secret, my young apprentice, for anything you claim I do because no recipe can lead myself or any other person to do what you have said! But in my life,” the General continues, “I learn, one thing or two, that might help you too! So, listen carefully to what I have to say to you because my words may mark the difference between victory and defeat“.

And the General continued, “bear in mind, that before I enter a situation, I contemplate about my capabilities and every contingency may arise by my involvement. When I’m certain about my capabilities and have recognized the situation as it is (not as I have imagined would be!), I set a specific goal and make 6 plans, 3 different plans on how I would proceed, 1 on how I would act if my original plan failed, 1 on how I disentangle from this situation if things get worst and 1 on what to do when everything goes OK“.

“Mind you,” the General said facing the apprentice, “that exactly in this hour is the time to implement the plan I have, a layout for reaching my goal(s)”.

Because now“, the General continues, “I have still options, and I can select the best solution for the situation I have to encounter“.

The General paused, for a moment, waiting, a question to arise, but not presented since the apprentice was still trying to contemplate on what he just hear! So the General followed to untangled his thoughts.

When I enter the situation (any situation actually), I choose the best plan suitable for the situation and act on that. I’m always ready to change it if the results are not the desired or intended ones. If I succeed, I would achieve the goal(s) I have set, and I would have learned something new or I would have verified my skills and knowledge, about how some battles are won, keeping in mind, that my path is not yet finished“.

More battles would come“, the General said, “and I should be ready to handle them with efficiency, valor, bravery, respect and consistency as I have done until now“.

Not just for me“, the General continued, “but for all the other people, who depend on me and on my decisions“.

That also means, my young apprentice“, the General said, “that this is exactly the time to focus on now and acknowledge everything and everyone brought me to the victory, reassure that everyone credited for his/her contribution, establish a solid base of reference, good relations with the friends fought with me, lay out the foundations for a peaceful co-existed with our enemies, provide respect and tribune the ones lost the battle, make sure the gains distributed to all fought for and channel the tangible and intangible goods arrived after the battle towards the general good of our community“.

Accordingly“, the General continued, “when things are getting worst, I contemplate about my errors and my responsibilities, assume the blame for the loss and I let the experience blend with my thoughts, because I know that I have gained a valuable lesson, about what is not worked and I have to change it in the future“.

I know well,” the General said, “that the path towards victory passes through many defeats and errors“!

You see my friend“, the General continued, “I have learned a long time ago that every situation is different and there are no shortcuts to lead you to the victory“.

Only the hard work and the preparation before the situation,” the General said, “and the cold reflection of what’s happened, after the end of the situation, can guarantee you any chance of success. Always to remember that“!

And with these words, the General departed!

Question: How do you like this leadership story? Do you find it inspiring or not? Do you think can help you enhance your leadership skills or not?