Aesop & Business: Revenge Will Hurt The Avenger
The Bald Man and the Fly
A FLY bit the bare head of a Bald Man who, endeavoring to destroy
it, gave himself a heavy slap. Escaping, the Fly said mockingly,
“You who have wished to revenge, even with death, the Prick of a
tiny insect, see what you have done to yourself to add insult to
injury?’ The Bald Man replied, “I can easily make peace with
myself, because I know there was no intention to hurt. But you,
an ill-favored and contemptible insect who delights in sucking
human blood, I wish that I could have killed you even if I had
incurred a heavier penalty.”
“Revenge will hurt the avenger”
This is a great fable that gets very little attention in the business world, but it should be relied on more heavily. How many times have you seen an employee, a division, or an entire company drastically overreact to a move made by a competitor without thinking it all the way through? Whether it is matching them dollar for dollar on an advertising buy without knowing exactly who they are targeting, or whether it is penalizing a trade customer for siding with a competitor which may make them even more likely to do it again, we consistently and drastically overreact to competitive actions. It is human nature to want to “get people back”, but it is a dangerous weapon in the business world. Had the bald man in this story simply sat there and let the fly bite him a few more times, the next time the fly might have grown complacent and lazy, sitting there for just long enough for the man to quickly kill the fly with a light swat of the hand. However, by reacting instantly without thinking, he inflicted more pain on himself, while his “competitor” lived to fight another day unscathed. The best revenge is victory in the end. Plan accordingly.
Posted on December 13, 2011, in Aesop's Fables & Business, Business Strategy and tagged advice, Aesop, business, Business Strategy, competition, fables, Revenge, strategy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.