The Seeds of leadership

Once upon a time, a successful business man was growing old and knew that the time to choose its successor to take over the business is coming near. But, instead of choosing one of his children or relatives, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company to meet him together. The day came and he started by saying, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.”

 The young executives were totally shocked, yet the old man continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today and that are very special SEEDS. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here exactly one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given to you. After that, I will then judge the plants and decide which one of you will be the next CEO.” One man, named John, was there that day and he, like the others, received one of the special seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and calmly planted the seed.

Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. John kept checking his seed, but there was no sign of any growth. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but John didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by and still nothing in John’s pot. At last, he believed that he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. John didn’t say anything to his colleagues. However, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil because he badly wanted the seed to grow. A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

John told his wife that he won’t be going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. John was afraid as it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When John arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful and in all shapes and sizes. When John put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

Finally, when the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. John just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!” All of a sudden, the CEO spotted John at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. John was terrified. He thought in his mind, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!” When John reached the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – John told him the story.

The old CEO asked everyone to sit down except John. He looked at John, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is John!” John couldn’t believe it as he couldn’t even grow his seed. “How could he be the new CEO?” the others said with astonishment in their eyes.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except John, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. John was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed of honesty in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”


Lessons from this story:

  • Authority comes with great responsibility. And not everyone that wants authority is able of taking responsibility for their actions or results. A true leader is the one who seeks help for things they don’t know, give their best and when that is not enough face the “world” and say this are my results. I stand by them and I will get better with every experience.

Are there any lessons I missed from this story? Please let me know in the comment section.

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I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know what you think. Talk to you in the comment section.


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