Today I would like to share with you this story that I am often telling during my workshop. This story explains the importance of proactive behavior and I encourage at the end of the story to ask yourself the question : Are you an ant or a grasshopper?
There was once a grasshopper who loved life. He spent his time lazing in the sun, eating when he wanted to, sleeping when he wanted to, generally enjoying himself all the time. He lived like he did not have a care in the world.
One day as he was sun-bathing, he saw an ant pushing a bread crumb across the ground. The grasshopper asked, “Hey brother! What are you doing?” The ant replied, “I am gathering food for the winter while the weather is still warm. Once winter sets in, I am going to stay home and just eat from my stock of food.”
The grasshopper made fun of the ant’s dull life and went on sun bathing saying, “There’s enough time for such boring work. You should take time to have fun like me.” Soon the summer passed and the winter started to set in.
As the weather became colder, it became harder for the grasshopper to get out. However, he soon started to feel hungry. He decided to brave the weather and find himself some food.
When he stepped out, everything was covered with snow and he could not find anything to eat. He continued to search for food everyday. He did not find anything. Finally, he grew weak and died of hunger.
Proactive Leadership – The Lesson: Which of the two was Proactive?
The ant of course. What are the characteristics of Proactivity present in the ant?
He knew himself, potentials and strengths: that he was tiny; that with the help of his teammates, there was nothing he could not achieve – it did not matter how big the morsel of food was.
He knew the event that was coming on him: the winter and its severity.
He knew the resources at his disposal: his teammates and time Time available to him in the summer.
Proactive Leadership – Another Lesson:
What are the characteristics of non – Proactivity present in the grasshopper?
He did not know himself, potentials or strengths. He thought he was bigger than the ant and so nothing could happen to him. He was big enough to carry his food single handedly.
He did not know the severity of the event that was going to visit him – the winter.
He did not know the ‘limitedness’ of the resources at his disposal. He had no teammates and before he could say ‘Jack Robinson’ the summer had passed.