Which department or professional is the most critical to the business? Is it Internal audit, finance, legal, or IT?
When coronavirus happened, all professionals, but health workers could work without restrictions. Others like finance and procurement professionals continued to work in the background. When it comes to the business, which professional is more important than the other?
Is it true to say that health workers are more important than other professionals? Who is who? These kinds of debates help one to remember stories our teachers used to tell us while in primary school. One such story was the monkey and the elephant who went into a heated debate each saying is more important than the other. There are several variations of this story on many online sources. Many are modified to fit the point to be made. Whichever version you read, I find the story effective when it comes to teaching about teamwork and contributions by members with different experiences and skills.
And anyone trying to prove that they are more important than the other professional or member needs to be referred to read this story. If they are wise, they see the point and appreciate the unique contribution of each member or professional.
Here is the story:
Have you ever seen an elephant? What do you know about elephants? Have you ever seen a monkey? What makes the monkey unique? Imagine a friendship between a monkey and an elephant.
Once there lived two friends in the jungle – the monkey and the elephant. One day an unusual quarrel broke between them about who was better than the other. While the elephant said it was better to be fat and strong, the monkey was adamant and explained that being small, fast, and agile was far better.
Unable to resolve the misunderstanding, they sought the wise counsel of the Eagle. After listening to both parties, the Eagle promised to answer the question provided by these two undertook a challenge. Far away across a big river, there was a tall mango tree and with nice-looking yummy ripe mangoes.
It was next to impossible to get the fruit from that tall height and huge mango tree with a very wide base and high branches which also had a wide river with fast-flowing water before getting to it.
But the Eagle would answer the question only once either of these once good friends got some fruits from the mango tree.
So the monkey and the elephant set out on their journey to bring the fruit to the wise owl. When the monkey reached the banks of the river, he realized that the river was too deep for him and the currents too strong. The elephant saw his friend and asked the monkey to climb on his back and together they crossed the river. When they reached the tree, the elephant tried to fell the tree. But the tree was huge and wouldn’t budge. So the monkey climbed up the tree, plucked the fruit. He climbed down, sat on the elephant’s back and they reached the wise owl.
The owl then asked, “Of the two of you, who brings this fruit to me? ” The monkey said he did because he plucked the fruit from the tree and the elephant said he did because he helped the monkey get onto the other side of the river.
The wise owl at this point stopped the argument and said, “Each one of you has your abilities and strengths. While one is not superior to the other, individually they are not very effective. But collectively as a team, you have achieved the impossible. All because you used your strength at the right time to do the right thing.”
So, which professional is better?
All professionals are important. We all need each other to thrive.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.