No, you cannot say “yes” to everyone

Today on The Porch, we look at another of Aesop’s Fables.  This one is called “The Man and His Two Wives.”  Look for the moral of the story as you read:

                                 The Man and His Two Wives: An Aesop Fable

In the old days, when men were allowed to have many wives, a middle-aged man had one wife that was old and one that was young: each loved him very much, and desired to see him like herself.  Now, the man’s hair was turning grey, which the young wife did not like, as it made him look too old for her husband.  So, every night, she used to comb his hair and pick out the white ones.  But, the elder wife saw her husband growing grey with great pleasure, for she did not like to be mistaken for his mother.  So, every morning, she used to arrange his hair and pick out as many of the black ones as she could.  The consequence was the man soon found himself entirely bald. 

So, what is the moral of the story?  According to Aesop, the moral is, “Yield to all and you will soon have nothing left to yield.”

What does this have to do with us?  I think it applies very well to our role as guardians of excellence in our company.  Though we desire to be collaborative and cooperative and “team players”, there is a time when we simply cannot please everyone.  There is a day that we must take a stand for what is right, what is best, or what makes most sense for our company.  We cannot please everyone all the time.  We cannot always meet every desire of every person.  We cannot satisfy the competing demands that often face us.   We cannot say,  “Yes” to one group when we know that our response will create a significant issue in another.

Likewise, we should not always say, “Yes,” to management.  That’s right, you read correctly.  If we always said yes to everything our management wanted or asked, they would not need us.  We need to have enough courage to give our opinion, even in the face of opposition.  We need to tell is “straight” to our manager, even if we think she/he might want to hear something else.  Our companies need individuals with enough courage and confidence to ensure that all sides are considered.

So, if you yield to all, you’ll soon have nothing left to yield.  Good advice for us all!

Have an excellent day!  Thanks for all you do.

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