Friday Fable: Lubans’ The Raindrop and the Snowflake.

Posted by jlubans on October 18, 2013

Zeus, the weather-maker, was listening with a growing impatience to an extended oration by the Snowflake. The Snowflake wanted a divine status in the weather pantheon; after all it was he, the Snowflake, who, in winter, transformed the brown earth and the naked trees into wondrous shapes and undulating landscapes. Why, he even capped Mount Olympus’ awesome majesty with a white diamond crown! And, lest there be any doubt as to his superiority the Snowflake sniffed: “I cannot be compared to the Raindrop; that shapeless blob that falls to the earth and makes mud. Worse, the raindrop pelts down on my glistening snow and turns it into slush.”
“Besides”, the Snowflake unabashedly concluded, “I am unique; there’s not another like me!”
Zeus rolled his eyes and turned to the Raindrop. “What do you have to say?” he growled. The Raindrop replied, “I am the rain, I beseech no special rank. I ‘falleth alike upon the just and the unjust.’ I ask only to be left in peace.”
Zeus pondered. Then, he turned back to the Snowflake, “Yes, you are indeed unique. Unique as a grain of sand! While you blanket the naked earth, the Raindrop brings warm moisture and turns the earth green and fills the rivers and lakes. You, however, do mischief by covering the icy ground so Mankind slips and falls.” After letting that sink in, Zeus roared, “That’s my job, not yours, damn you!” With a couple blue lightning bolts he turned the Snowflake into what would become known as a “wintry mix” that was cursed by all. Neither snow nor rain but mostly an annoyance in its persistence to be something it was not.

And so it can be in the workplace when we employ prideful Specialists who sometimes lord it over the lowly “Generalist” and even our clients. Too often, when we require extra qualifications we exclude the outgoing and resourceful Generalist who will get the job done and win over clients. When credentials trump people skills – unstated, of course - we may be recruiting a wintry mix. If a new position involves collaborating with others - inside and outside the agency - then attitude (enthusiasm, energy, warmth, and natural intelligence) far outweighs a Specialist’s unique expertise. Like someone – not Zeus - said, “Hire attitude, Train for skills.”

Leading from the Middle Library of the Week: University of Michigan, Hatcher Graduate Library

Your library - if for some peculiar reason it does not already have the book, - can get a copy here.

Copyright John Lubans 2013

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