Case studies – stories that illustrate a principle – are not
the invention of modern management theorists. Indeed, we are celebrating the
2009th official birthday of their greatest exponent, so we hope it
will not be thought irreverent if, in honour of the holiday, we present a
parable of our own: -
“A man was travelling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho...
...No, actually it was on the Valley Line between Cardiff
Central and Lisvane, at Queen Street Station to be precise ... And he was not
so much a man as a teenaged boy ...Anyway...
Calamity struck: the poor chap dropped a five pence piece –
a coin that looks a bit like an American dime and is worth about the same these
Happily, a passing Samaritan – who also happened to be an
entrepreneur and contributor to a leading business blog – saw this and pointed
out the coin to him.
Yet the boy could not be bothered to pick it up. Perhaps paying
any attention to such a small amount of money was beneath his teenaged dignity
or he thought it would look “uncool” to bend down for it.
So the kindly entrepreneur himself bent down to pick up the
coin – and promptly put it in his own pocket.
Now it is true that these are tough times for entrepreneurs.
It is also true that children these days are given lots of money for doing nothing.
However, it is still a safe bet that the entrepreneur in question has a lot
more money than the teenaged boy – not least because he is not too proud to
stoop to pick up a dime.
If the boy reflected on this, he would see that the good
entrepreneur gave him a gift far more valuable than the coin: the knowledge
that there is no place for standing on what you imagine is your dignity when cash
is on the line.
Obsession with money is counter-productive but one should still
always treat it with respect, no matter how small the sum. It is in fact a real
Gospel parable in which a woman does not hesitate to clean out her whole house
to find a single lost coin, despite having a pile of other coins.
Go thou and do likewise.”