The Business of Aesop 


Episode 4

The Donkey and the Mule.
Support the Team.

I admit it.  There have been times when I begrudged my fellow team member.  Thinking back, it might have been that my fellow team member didn't work hard enough, or fast enough, or efficiently enough.  But, of course, I am not perfect, so I am reasonably sure that there have been times when one of my team members has begrudged me.

If fact, I absolutely know one of my team members has begrudged me, for I am married!  Ouch, that hurts. 

Case in point.  When I drive somewhere new with my wife, I drive the car and my wife "navigates" with the GPS.  Somehow we get "lost" to which I chide to my wife, "How can we be lost?  We have a GPS!"  She retorts that she is never lost when she is alone.  To this I respond that, when she is alone, she is lost, but she won't admit it! 

She says it's my driving...

Teamwork is not perfect, of course, but trying to do "it" alone is often impossible--or at least statistically improbable.  No one is perfect, omniscient and omnipotent.  If business is war, the team is like the machinery of the Roman Army that worked with a group of individuals performing as one unified whole.  That is the psychological beauty of team sports for children.  Early teamwork training, and learning to handle all the bad and good that goes with it. 

Sure, it just might happen that an entrepreneur who wants to "rule the world" alone will achieve that goal, it's just improbable.  Statistically, a team of individuals who balance each other's skill set is what works more often.  Yes, it is true that the prize must be shared, but the goal-line of success is actually achieved! 

I tell entrepreneurs all the time that, each day, someone wins the lottery, it is just statistically improbable that it will happen to you.  Luck is bad strategy.  The World, such as it is, does fight back.  Planning ahead strategically, with a team, is the comparatively statistically better practice. 

In more than 25 years of working with entrepreneurs as legal counsel, I cannot say, like the many, that I have people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg as clients.  But, that circumstance is statistically improbable.  What I can say, however, is I have represented clients who have been very successful, with wonderful homes, families, vacation land, sports cars, and, in every case, they have done it with a team to share the load, and the reward. 

Therefore, a team is statistically necessary, and the failure to share the load with the team is futile: it contradicts the necessary commercial context.

Aesop taught as much; that is, about helping your team members and sharing the load of work.  For 2,500 years, he's been right there, in front of us, trying to warn us about contradicting the rules.  Aesop is not just for children, of course: it's wisdom!  It works for everyone, all the time, at all ages!  The figures of speech may be in the form of fables, but that is just a teaching method: great teachers, and great speakers, use all sorts of figures of speech: Jesus with parables, Socrates with allegories, and Confucius with similes!

So, what does The Business of Aesop have to do with sharing the load with the team?  Here goes lesson that has sustained, for 2,500 years: 

A Man had a Donkey and a Mule and loaded them for a long journey.  When the going got tough in the hills, the Donkey begged the Mule to help him by taking part of his load.

The Mule refused.

At last, the Donkey, from sheer weariness, stumbled and fell to his death.

The Man had no choice: he took the entire load from the Donkey and packed it onto the Mule.  Now, the Mule had more than double the load. 

Moral of the Story: Helping others often helps ourselves.

And, well, yes, if you saw if coming, I also call this Aesop fable the, "If you don't share the load, you'll lose your Ass."  Great advice.  Thanks, Aesop!



The Business of Aesop is a series of short articles and newsletters by Gregg Zegarelli, Esq. applying the principles of Aesop to a business context.  Copyright © Gregg Zegarelli 2015.  All rights reserved. The fable summaries are excerpts from The Essential Aesop: For Business, Managers, Writers and Professional Speakers, Print 978-0-9899299-1-2, eBook 978-0-9899299-3-6, by Arnold Zegarelli and Gregg Zegarelli, Esq., Copyright © 2013.  All rights reserved.