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Aesop’s Fables – Amazing Tools for Strong Business Results

aesop's fables are great for business www.jaenanesworld.com

aesop's fables are great for business www.jaenanesworld.com

Aesop’s fables are more than just stories for school children, they are tools to teach important business lessons. Take a  new look at these classic stories and see how they can benefit your business. You may be surprised that you and your children get two different lessons from the same fable.

Most people read one or more of Aesop’s fables during their childhood without realizing they are great business tools.

A fable is commonly defined as a short story, usually with animals as characters that is used to convey a lesson to the reader. Fables are special because using animals to convey the message to readers is a less threatening method of delivery.  As in life, in business, there are many lessons to be learned. It is quite useful to have a few fables in your arsenal to share with your employees when you want to teach a lesson in the workplace. Using a fable and animal characters to show consistency and reliability is much less threatening to an employee than saying, “Rhoneesha, you must learn to do a complete job every time for every customer.”

Let’s take a look at a few well-known fables and show how they can be translated into lessons that are useful in the business world.

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

Once upon a time, there was a farmer who had a goose that laid golden eggs. Each day the farmer would collect the eggs and sell them to get money to take care of her needs. One day her greedy friend stole the goose. When the thief stole the goose she cut it open because she was sure the inside of the goose was filled with gold and something that she could use to grow gold for herself. It was not. When the goose was cut open, it was an ordinary goose on the inside. The farmer lost her precious source of income. The greedy friend lost a friend and had nothing to show for her deceit.

Many business lessons may be taken from this story.

1.  Do not take a thing apart if you don’t know how to put it back together again
2. Just because someone makes something look easy, doesn’t mean it is, carry out due diligence before acting
3.  Never let greed guide your actions,  things that look profitable from the outside may not be profitable once you understand the inner workings of an organization

When it comes to how things work at your place of employment, be sure to pay attention so that you truly understand how things fit together. It is important to understand the process so that when you make adjustments, they improve things rather than making them worse.   It is important to pay attention to how your co-workers and supervisors do things. Often they make things look easy because of skill and hard work, not because of luck. When you pay close attention to what is going on around you, you will understand this and be able to adapt your behavior and actions appropriately. Finally, while you are in business to make a profit, do not let greed determine the course of action you will take. Always keep in mind that there is a difference between acting as a result of greed and acting due to a desire to increase profits.

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Once upon a time, there was a wolf who wanted to eat some sheep. To catch the sheep unaware, the wolf dressed up like a sheep and went off to play and walk with the sheep. The wolf laughed and played with the sheep and learned all about the sheep. It learned which sheep were fast and which sheep were slow. It learned which sheep were weak and which sheep were strong. The entire time the wolf in sheep’s clothing never let the sheep know she was a wolf. The entire time she acted just like the sheep. Finally, after learning all she wanted to know about the sheep, the wolf attacked and ate all the sheep she wanted.

Many business lessons can be learned from this story.

1. Be wary of those who come to learn all you have to teach without providing anything in return
2. Do not show all of your strengths and weaknesses to everyone you meet
3. Share your secrets, carefully, all your information is not for everyone

In the business world, you will see competitors and co-workers who come to you to learn how you do things. It is great to teach others how to do things better, more efficiently, and more profitably in business. It is a good practice to share your knowledge and help others to grow and thrive. As you share information and help others to bloom and blossom both personally and professionally, it is important not to do so at your own expense. When helping others do not lose sight of your business goals and objectives. Finally, when you let people into your business circle and they begin to show themselves to be untrustworthy, act immediately to sever ties so that further damage cannot be done.

The  Hare and the Tortoise

Once upon a time, there was a tortoise and a hare who decided to race one another. The hare was quite the braggart and thought she could beat the tortoise without any effort at all. The tortoise was more modest and thought she could win if she used her best efforts. The tortoise did not predict what she would or would not be able to do. When it came time to race, the tortoise, started off and began to push forward slowly and steadily. The hare was very confident in her ability and thought she could be the tortoise with no effort at all. When the race started, the hare did not start, but talked with her friends at the starting line. She thought that she was fast enough that she could start almost at any time and still beat the tortoise. The tortoise continued to move forward and slowly and steadily moved from the start of the race to the end. By the time the hare realized that the tortoise was close to the finish line and began the race, it was too late, the tortoise was crossing the finish line.

Many business lessons can be learned from this story.

1.  Never underestimate the competition, always work to the best of your ability
2.  Begin at the beginning and work diligently until the end
3.   Do not brag before an event begins, instead let your work speak for you

If you are good at your job, it is easy to attempt to rest on your laurels and think you can do better than all those around you. Some people are so good at their jobs they can actually do a partial job when half asleep and have the job be good enough to be acceptable. This is a dangerous pattern of behavior. When you believe you are better than all those around you and that you can outperform them with your hands tied behind your back, you may be tempted to do things that way all the time. If you do, you risk being outdone by an employee who shows up and simply puts forth good work steadily and dependably. In all you do at work, start putting forth your best efforts and work without excessive bragging and the insulting of others.

All these fables are stories that children learn early in elementary school.  Children are often excited when they learn the fables and enjoy sharing them with their family members. The fables are taught in a relaxed manner and lessons applicable to school children are taught. Because the lessons that are emphasized are for children, people do not think about the fables as they grow up. If you as an entrepreneur show your employees how these lessons from their childhood apply to their business careers you will help the lessons stick.

No matter what you read, look between the lines for the bigger lesson.

So often when we read, especially when we read for pleasure we look only at the story on the surface. Instead, take time to read between the lines and see if there is some other lesson to be learned. When you find those deeper lessons, it makes the reading experience even better and more beneficial.

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If you are considering sharing Aesop’s fables with your employees do it with a plan. Pull out a book of Aesop’s fables and go through looking for the lesson you would like to share with your employees. During staff meetings either read the fable aloud or hand a printout of the fable out to employees to read as they enter the meeting. Once everyone has heard or read the fable, talk about it. First, ask people to talk about what the fable means on the surface. Then talk about how that lesson can be applied to situations happening in the workplace. Encourage employees to read between the lines and look for ways to stretch the lesson learned to a big picture instead of simply scratching the surface

Once everyone has read the fable and found ways to relate it to things going on in the workplace, ask for ways the lessons can be expanded. What future actions can be taken based on the fables you talked about? For example, based on the story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing, does your company need to create a confidentiality policy? Is there a need for sensitivity training? Do your employees need to learn empathy? It is great to learn from the fables you study, but it is better to use the fables to make the future better and brighter for your organization.

If you want to read more about creating the confidence you need to succeed, check out:

Confidence Tip – Keep Track of Your Wins

Creating Confidence – You Can Do It

Confidence Tip – Start Your Day with Affirmations

Take Action Now and Create the Confidence You Want

Also, check out our Confidence Tip of the Day YouTube channel for hundreds of videos on creating the confidence you need to succeed.

Sharing fables is an excellent way to teach lessons at work. Once your organization is used to fables being used to teach lessons and to having deep conversations about work and how business should be done. Expand the opportunities for brainstorming and discussions. It is through discussion, brainstorming, and working together that incredible ideas can be found that will be good for your business. When employees know they are free to discuss ways to make business better, they will do so regularly and even look forward to it. This may lead to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and innovation at your organization.

Aesop’s fables can be a great learning tool for your employees. So, the question for you this sensational day is, what is the most important thing you have learned from a fable?

16 thoughts on “Aesop’s Fables – Amazing Tools for Strong Business Results”
  1. I love Aesop Fable’s and I think the stories are timeless for children and adults. What a wonderful application to the business world.
    Good job!

  2. I never thought about using fables and finding all the amazing things you’ve shared! Wow! Love how you connected each fable with a lesson to be learned and related it to business!

  3. Fables are great tool for teaching life lessons for children and adults. The Hare and the Tortoise fable applied to business aspects really speaks to me.

  4. I loved using Aesop’s fables in my classroom to teach lessons. I like how you connected them with business applications too

  5. What an unique look at fales. I find this very interesting and helpful. I like when someone shows me a different way to look at things.

  6. I’ve never before thought about applying these fables to my business life, but it makes total sense. I’ve always considered these lessons as important ones to teach my child – turns out, we all need to remember these lessons!

  7. That’s so clever! I used to read Aesop’s Fables as a young girl. Back then I could apply them to my school and home life. About being patient and not greedy.
    I can totally see how they relate to businesses.

  8. Looking for the big picture is always hard to teach, and remember to do, even as an adult. Great connections in your post.

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