Recently we faced a critical situation onboard for which an immediate answer was required. A meeting was called looking for all possible answers and we did find the required answer. However, on reflection I noticed that every time, when I am looking for answers the inputs given are only from the vital few. Doesn’t matter how much time and efforts are given from my end to motivate all the crew on board, it was these limited few who always have the best answers. Amazed, I shared my reflection with our chief engineer who on carefully listening shared with me an old parable:
There once lived a scorpion and a frog. The scorpion wanted to cross the pond, but, being a scorpion, he couldn’t swim.
So he scuttled up to the frog and asked, “Please Mr. Frog, can you carry me across the pond on your back?”
“I would,” replied the frog. “but under the circumstances, I must refuse. You might sting me as I swim across.”
“But why would I do that?” asked the scorpion. “It’s not in my interests to sting you, because you will die and then I will drown.”
Although the frog knew how lethal scorpions were, the logic proved quite persuasive. Perhaps, felt the frog, in this one instance the scorpion would keep his tail in check. So the frog agreed. The scorpion climbed onto his back, and together they set off across the pond. Just as they reached the middle of the pond, the scorpion twitched his tail and stung the frog.
Mortally wounded, the frog cried out, “Why did you sting me?”It is not in your interest to sting me, because now I will die and you will drown.”
“I know,” replied the scorpion as he sank into the pond. “But I am a scorpion. I have to sting you. It’s in my nature.”
We all have goats and horses in every team but when the ball is dropped we need horses who willfully will dive in to lift the ball up and can bail us out. In my chase to convert goats to horses, I was counting what can be counted, forgetting that not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts. The scientist who developed the Saturn 5 rocket that launched the first Apollo Mission to the moon said, “You want a valve that doesn’t leak and you try everything possible to develop one. But the real world provides you with a leaky valve. You have to determine how much leaking you can tolerate.” It’s the horses who are the fuel of our future and we have to ensure that this fuel shouldn’t leak and for the goats we have to see how much leakage can we tolerate. Listening to the goats too much i had wasted my time enough. But not any more. Now it’s time for me to listen to the horses and listen to the horses I will…