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How Do You Judge Honesty?

November 7, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you see honesty in success? How much are those with stumbling blocks criticized and are we honest if we don’t share that too?

Stories are good. There was a CEO of a company who wanted to pass along the position to someone else. He called his top employees in. He gave each one a seed. “You are to take this seed – plant it, fertilize it, tend it and bring it back here one year from now. I will choose the new CEO at that time.”

Bob went home, excited at the prospect and his wife and he saw bright prospects. They got the compost, good top soil and planted the seed. They tended it but nothing happened.

His co-workers heard the stories of how their seeds were growing, turning into trees and beautiful flowers. He kept tending his but nothing happened. He felt a failure. He compared his to the stories others told about their beautiful plants.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne year came and Bob didn’t even want to go to work. He had an empty pot. Certainly not reflective of the time spent trying to get the seed to grow, but it’s all he had.

As the group gathered in the room, he marveled at the plants and hid his pot in the back of the room. The CEO came in and was impressed by the tall, beautiful plants everyone had grown. He stood over Bob’s and asked what happened.

“I don’t know – I tended it, watered it, but it didn’t grow.” He was told to come to the front, and was sure he was about to be fired. His empty pot was placed on the table, the soil still damp from the last time it was watered.

He introduced Bob as his new CEO. A chorus of voices ensued. “He couldn’t even grow a plant!” “Mine’s much bigger and prettier.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe boss motioned for silence and explained. “One year ago I gave all of you a seed. I told you to plant it, tend it, care for it. And with that test I see one rose as honest. You see, before I gave you the seeds I boiled them. All of the seeds were dead. Yet many come forth with beautiful flowers, trees and other plants that look productive, but are not from the seed I told you to grow. You substituted another seed, to look good. You took short cuts.”

All hung their heads. Bob was amazed to hear his failure was not failure – it was following directions and being honest. Even when it appears to be less productive than everyone else.

Be honest.

Don’t take short cuts.

Don’t look at everyone else to fit in – they may be wrong.

How many would take the short cuts. Do we misrepresent to fit in? Or are we honest?

We choose the latter, even when it’s not as pretty.

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