by Wim Remes
Once upon a time in the land of milk and honey, Jack and Charles, 2 hard-working dwarves, were strolling through the magic forest. They had been walking for a while now and they were getting tired, but Mike, their boss, had instructed them to bring home 10 stones and they had only found six.Â Jack, being the senior dwarf, carried the backpack with the stones and regularly sent Charles between the trees to retrieve a stone.Â Charles would diligently comply, and when he actually found a stone, he would put it in the backpack, quickly going back to searching for more stones.
What looked like an easy task turned out to be quite difficult: There’s more wood in a forest than there are stones, you know.
Jack was sweating heavily, his legs hurt, and he was slowing down. Charles, however, looked like he hadn’t done anything yet. He was dancing through the forest, quickly running left and right to look for stones.Â “Hey Jack, should I carry the backpack now?” he asked. “No, keep searching, it’s about time you found some stones” Jack replied. He was not amused with the situation, feeling the skin on his shoulders being ripped to tiny pieces.
As the sun was falling toward the horizon, Jack and Charles reached a river. Charles quickly picked up four stones and put them in the backpack.Â Jack was happy, and so was Charles. “Hey Charles,” Jack said “do you see that apple tree across the river?” Charles saw the shiny, juicy apples and he suddenly felt how hungry he actually was.
As Jack and Charles crossed the river together, Jack sank to the bottom and drowned.Â Charles didn’t look back and moved on to stuff himself with tasty apples.Â On his way back across the river, he slid the backpack off of Jacks already chilly shoulders. He walked home and delivered the stones to Mike who, of course, was very happy. He awarded Charles with an extra portion of porridge and Jack, well, nobody ever remembered who Jack really was.
Jack is a dead man! Why? Because he refused to share his knowledge (the stones) with Charles. He thought it was alright to boss Charles around, instructing him in exactly what to do.Â He also got angry at Charles because he thought Charles was better off. After all, it’s not as though Jack had to carry that backpack. Charles wanted to because he felt it was his responsibility, which it wasn’t. As the senior dwarf, it was his responsibility to get the both of them home safely, with 10 stones.
Do you ever behave like Jack ? What gets you, your team and your company forward is the fact that you are open to share experience, ideas and knowledge. Refusing to do that might have you end up on the bottom of a cold river. Rest assured that your seat will not be empty for long.