Do you remember the children’s story “STONE SOUP…?”
It is a children’s fable, about a hungry traveler that comes to a small village and begins knocking on doors asking if someone will feed him. Unfortunately it is a very poor village that is concerned they will not have the resources they need to feed their own families through the winter and he is turned away at each home.
So the traveler goes to the river, fills a pot with water and carries it back to the center of the village. Then he builds a big fire under the pot, and as curious villagers peek out their windows to see what he is doing, he tosses a stone into the center of the pot. …One by one, the people in the village begin to come out of their homes to inquire about what he is doing. He explains to each one that he is making stone soup and describes what a wonderful meal it is and then emphasizes how much better it would be if only they had____. Each time he hints about the increased flavor of the soup that just one more vegetable or herb would add. And each time he hints, a villager is quick to respond with an offer to provide just one thing. Soon the entire village has contributed: a carrot, a bit a celery, a potato, some herbs, some tomatoes, etc… And a short time later the entire village and the hungry traveler sit down to enjoy a meal together.
This story means more to me today as an adult than it did as a child, because I know more businesses and organizations that are living in the same fear that the villagers were, than those that are not.
Part of what those groups see is truth, however the thing that is stopping them is not the truth, it is fear. And fear limits creativity and problem solving.
The reality is that there are not enough resources to do the things we’ve always done, the way we’ve always done them and just look out for ourselves…
SOLUTIONS DO EXIST by making the choice to do something different, and when that vision begins to catch on, people feel hope and joy instead of fear. And those positive emotions allow them to access their creative problem-solving skills and be a part of the solution. Below are a few examples:
- A friend of mine recently reminded several people in a meeting that it is easier to access grants IF you have pre-existing partnerships and are working with others to solve a problem instead of trying to access all of the funding for yourself.
- Muhtar Kent the CEO of Coca-Cola shares two thoughts that he continually focuses on: (1.) The belief that we need better collaboration between business, government and civil society. (2.) The question he continually asks himself, “How can we be a revenue generator for our partners?”
- Intel has been telling their suppliers for years, “Take the lead, take the initiative; get involved in our operations, suggest things you can provide that will help both our strategic objectives, show us that you understand our business and can help us improve it.
So here’s one great example of that thinking in action: When I moved to Tulsa, I repeatedly heard organizations talking about volunteering at and contributing to local schools. The 5th time I heard that kind of announcement from a different organization, I was beyond curious and HAD to know who was behind the effort. After making some calls to learn more, the discovery was profound…. The Chamber of Commerce was employing a full time staff person to coordinate the needs of the local public school and match them with thousands of businesses, faith-based organizations and volunteers that in turn help to meet their needs with supplies, donations and volunteers. WOW!!!!
So I have two questions for you… (Please share your stories of collaboration and hope in the comment section so others can benefit!)
- Who do you want to recognize that is making Stone Soup?
- What can you do to LEAD CHANGE and create Stone Soup in your community?