One day a Merchant was driving his Donkey towards home from the seashore with a heavy and burdensome load of salt.
They came upon a river they had crossed many times without any incident. However, this time the Donkey accidentally slipped half way across the river and fell. By the time the Merchant had gotten his Donkey to his feet much of the salt had dissolved away. Having his burden much lighter, the Donkey was very happy for the rest of the journey.
The next day the Merchant went for another load of salt. And Donkey repeated same. This angered the Merchant. He immediately turned and drove the Donkey back to the seashore and loaded him with 10 big baskets of sponges for the journey home.
Similarly some people just don’t like their job. They see their employment as something they have to do, as opposed to something they want to do. They often find ways to cut corners, regardless of how it affects the team or company they work for.
Leaders have an obligation to instil a mission and drive a team purpose with those they lead.
To the donkey the purpose was simply to do as he was told so he didn’t get scolded or beaten. He didn’t understand that to the merchant the purpose was to provide his family enough income to live for a year, which in turn provided the donkey food and shelter. He also didn’t foresee the consequences of his actions.
The team purpose should be defined and communicated. If it isn’t, team members will define it themselves to the possible detriment of the team or organization. Every employee of every team or organization needs to know they are part of something magnificent and grand. They need something big to aspire to.