The Parable of the Fisherman and the Consultant


An old favourite, dug up for Gina to help explain to a steady stream of would-be sponsors her feelings on sponsorship for Business Rocks. This seems like a good problem to have!

A management consultant was on holiday in a small fishing village, he watched one afternoon as a small fishing boat docked at the quayside. Seeing the high quality of the fish, the consultant asked the fisherman how long he had spent out at sea that day.

“A few hours.” answered the fisherman.

“Then, why didn’t you stay out all day and catch more?” asked the consultant.

The fisherman told him that his small catch was enough to feed him and his family.

The business guru asked, “So what do you do the rest of the time?”

“I sleep late, make love to my wife, play with my kids and have an afternoon’s rest in my garden hammock. In the evenings, I go into the social club to see my friends, have a couple of beers, shoot some pool, and sing a few songs….. I have a full and happy life.” replied the fisherman.

The consultant ventured, “I have an MBA and work for a top management consultancy – I think, in fact I know I can help you…… You should start by fishing much longer every day and recruit some help. You can then sell the additional fish you catch and with the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. A larger boat will allow you to catch more and expand your business to two or three boats until you have the largest fleet on the island. Instead of selling your fish at harbour, you can negotiate directly with the major fish distributors and perhaps open your own plant. You can then leave this village and move your entire operation to the mainland and build a huge company.

“How long would that take?” asked the fisherman.

“Done right, no more than ten years.” replied the consultant.

“And then what?” asked the fisherman.

“After that? You could acquire other companies, grow a massive organisation and finally float or sell your company and make millions!”

“Millions? Wow? And after that?” queried the fisherman.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, move to the islands, sleep late, make love to your wife, play with your grandkids and have an afternoon’s rest. In the evenings, you could shoot the breeze with friends and have a full and happy life”

The consultant looked at the fisherman, the fisherman stared back.

The consultant now works as a fisherman.



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