I don’t do much reading that’s not business-centric and when I do, I’m typically looking for something that has a lesson that can be used for business, leadership, or management. I’ve been re-reading and pondering one such book, Stone Soup. I find it teeming with great advice.
Here are a few business lessons we can all take away from this centuries-old tale:
Identify an opportunity and don’t give up at the first “no”. In the book, the hungry young man asks the old woman for food, and is emphatically told that there is no food in the house and no food in the garden. Instead of giving up and looking elsewhere, he gets creative, which is our next lesson.
Find your unique approach to overcoming challenges. As the book states, the old woman had never heard of making soup from a stone, which is the only reason that she continues to engage with the hungry young man. Call it old school FOMO, call it the timeless charm of experiencing something new for the first time; however you think of it, keep people interested by being yourself, using your distinct style and skills, and leveraging your problem solving ingenuity.
Seize every little opportunity with confidence. Each time the old woman mentions something about the soup, the young man knows exactly how to capitalize on it. There’s an element here of making sure you have a plan as well–the young man never misses a beat. As you see your plan start to take shape, take advantage of every little opportunity that presents itself; doing so with confidence will only bolster the likelihood that others will join in to help, knowing that you have it under control.
When the time has come, enjoy victories together. As the soup is finally fully prepped and cooked, the young man and the old lady take the time to set a very nice table and enjoy the meal together. A good leader never takes solo credit for her victories. Support each other internally, even (especially) if your company is at war externally.
Know that the experience you’ve had will pay dividends in the future. There’s a reason why experience matters. In a business sense, leveraging experience at your current job is, essentially, executing in a role based on skills earned on someone else’s dime (your previous employer’s). This is very valuable for everyone involved, including the previous employer who paid your salary while you toiled and tried to learn a new skill. This is the reason the young man confidently takes the stone as he heads out, knowing he’ll have a wonderful supper the following night.
I’m a big fan of taking business ideas from media that speaks to a deeper sense of truth and timeless life lessons. If you have any, please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear what speaks to you!