The Road More Traveled
A traveler notices an aged man tending to the fields along the road, he stops there and asks him, “I am traveling from the village in the mountains to the village in the valley. And I was wondering if you know what it is like there?” “Tell me,” said the aged man, “What was your experience of the village in the mountains?”
“Dreadful!” replied the traveler, “To be honest I am glad to be away from there. I found the people very unwelcoming. When I first arrived, they greeted me coldly. I never was made to feel part of the village no matter how hard I tried. The villagers keep very much to themselves, and they don’t talk to strangers kindly.”
“I am sorry to tell you,” said the aged man, “But I think your experience will be similar there”. The traveler hung his head despondently and walked on.
A while later another traveler was journeying down the same road and he too came upon the aged man. “I’m going to the village in the valley,” said the second traveler, “Do you know what it is like?” “I do,” replied the aged man “But first tell me – what was it like where you come from?”
“I’ve come from the village in the mountains” the second traveler replied “It was a wonderful experience. I would have stayed if I could, but I am committed to traveling on. I felt as though I was a member of the family in the village. The elders gave me much advice, the children laughed with me, and people were kind.”
“I think you will find it quite similar,” replied the aged man. The traveler smiled in glee and walked on.
An old rural story, yet relevant to modern-day corporate world. The villages represent IT organizations and the travelers represent the workforce.
Time and again, much credit/discredit for the org culture is attributed to the management vision. In reality, the role of the executive team on the cultural front is merely that of a messenger like the aged man in the above story.
Sure, honesty in management dealings and maturity in processes creates a fair playing field for the organization’s constituents. But how the game is played eventually comes down to each individual’s outlook summed up together. You see, more often than not, the team that is flushing with positive ingredients wins the game…