Aesop & Business: One Good Turn Deserves Another


The Ant and the Dove

AN ANT went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and

being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of

drowning.  A Dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked

a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her.  The Ant

climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank.  Shortly

afterwards a birdcatcher came and stood under the tree, and laid

his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches.  The Ant,

perceiving his design, stung him in the foot.  In pain the

birdcatcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove

take wing.

“One good turn deserves another”

The best managers in the business world recognize the importance of the meaning of this fable.  While it is human nature to take what is good, but to only give when it is good for you as well, we must recognize the need to go above and beyond for those people who help you along the way.  When you are dealing with any one of your stakeholders (shareholders, customers, suppliers, employees, etc), it is very important to remember, and act on, this idea.  In this story, the ant who bit the bird catcher took on a great personal risk of being killed, but was repaying a favor that the dove would not soon forget.  Remember, had the dove been caught, he would not be there the next time the ant needed a leaf to float to safety.  Each and every interaction with your stakeholders is a part of the value equation on both sides, and you must continue to pay into your side of the bank in order to reap the rewards when it is your turn to be paid back.  Make sure to focus on the long-term effects of every short-term relationship decision that you make in the business world.  For disappointing one trade customer one time could result in years of lost sales, bad word-of-mouth advertising, and could accidentally strengthen your competitors.  Take time each day to focus on who you owe a favor to, and who you want a favor from, then devote time and effort to doing something good for those people, which will give them reasons to pay you back those favors.

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About Todd Hagopian (@ToddHagopian)

Todd Hagopian received his BA from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Political Science. After graduation, he worked as a Financial Advisor and a Bank Manager before returning to school. He attended Michigan State University, where he completed an MBA with a double-major in Finance and Marketing. Todd is now a Senior Product Development Manager for a Fortune 500 company. He frequently writes about business issues, social media strategy, and political issues that he finds important. Enjoy the blog!

Posted on December 15, 2011, in Aesop's Fables & Business, Business Strategy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. In complete agreement there!

    Best, Monce

    • Hey Monce,

      Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it! I love Aesop’s fables, and I think they can be applied in a variety of business scenarios. I am glad you liked it, keep following the blog for more posts from Aesop. I just subscribed to your blog, it looks awesome! Feel free to follow me on twitter @MrEmergingMedia. Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

      Todd Hagopian

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