Careful preparation and planning is a key step to any endeavor. When we were schooling, our teachers prepared for us a “study plan”. The college football tournament was not won by kicking the ball around, but by adhering to a “game plan”. When we had enough funds to build a house, we prepared through our architects a “building plan”. For our business to tick, we put in place “business plan”, “sales plan”, “marketing plan” and so on.
There is nothing like being prepared for every possible situation and the earlier we do it, the more assured we are of our success.
Story: The Ant and the Grasshopper
In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.
It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.
This is an edited version of the rather hilarious parody written by Jim Quinn:-
When winter comes, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC, and ABC show up and provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a film of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can it be that, in a country of such wealth, this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the Grasshopper, and everybody cries when he sings It is Not Easy Being Green. Bill and Hillary Clinton make a special guest appearance on
the CBS Evening News and tell a concerned Dan Rather that they will do everything they can for the Grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly. Richard Gephardt exclaims in an interview with Peter Jennings that the Ant has gotten rich off the "back of the Grasshopper," and calls for an immediate tax hike on the Ant to make him pay his "fair share."
Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the Grasshopper in a defamation suit against the Ant. The Ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the Grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while he lives in a government house. The Ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV, which the Grasshopper bought by selling most of the Ant's food, they are showing Bill Clinton standing before a wildly applauding audience announcing a new era of "Fairness" has
dawned in America.
Lessons in life:
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. This is one of the fundamental principles of good management.
Any company should always have short and long-term growth plans. At a strategic level, a business plan will enable the company to identify business objectives and opportunities.
At the operational level, planning leads to smooth and successful daily operational activities. For family businesses, succession planning is vital as we have seen examples of businesses folding up after the loss of their key leader. Plans should also not be cast in stone. They should be reviewed constantly, in line with the changing market conditions of the particular industry.
On a separate note, the fable does allude to the social dichotomy between the rich and the poor. There are the people who make a fortune through sheer hard work, and there are the loafers who blame everyone except themselves for the poverty they face. The strange thing, however, is that these loafers survive.
In certain welfare states, they are so well provided for by the government (with social insurance for old age, illness, and unemployment needs) that they are better off not working. Tax the rich to give to the poor. While this will bridge the income gap between the two classes, if overdone, it may force the country's wealthy citizens to migrate to countries with lower tax regime.
Not only that, it gives the poor no incentive to work hard, or to upgrade their skills. While the fable did not reveal much of the fate of the Grasshopper, we know that in real life, Grasshoppers will continue to hop about merrily and enjoy the fruits of labor of the Ants. They do it either via the legitimate social framework, or the thugs' method portrayed in the animated film “A Bug's Life.” Life is never fair.