Leadership Tips: Appreciate a Golden Egg

Golden Egg

Yesterday was Easter in the United States, and often the day includes Easter egg hunts. Kids, young and old, search high and low to collect as many eggs as possible. It’s an exhilarating experience when it is happening, and when it is over, an egg count determines the winner.

There are so many analogies to this egg hunt in corporate life. We run after the most leads, the most deals, the most talent, and then we find ourselves continually measuring where we stand to others. Did we beat so and so? Did we hit our target?

The actual chase and constant “measuring up” isn’t even the biggest issue – it is the lack of appreciation for what we have. It often makes me think about a story from Aesop’s sixth century B.C. fables. You may have heard this:

ONE day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find,—nothing.

I’ve seen this situation happen time and time again. A leader relies on a star performer to continue to build the best product, or sell the most high margin deals, or create the best go-to-market plan. At first the star is flattered and wants to continue to produce. But when the pressure continues to get greater and greater, and the leader expects more and more, POOF – the star performer leaves the building. She goes off to another company, where she feels appreciated…and the leader is left with nothing.

To avoid an unneeded loss, this week’s tip is to appreciate a golden egg situation in your life. Maybe it is the employee at your company who continually goes above and beyond. Perhaps your partner who is always willing to do one more thing for you after a long day. Or maybe a barista in your life who always gives you that smile to brighten your day.

While we do live in a constant egg hunt at times, it is important for us to realize what we have. And there is no better time than now.

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