The Test

In college one of my teachers “tested” us to see what our ethics standards were. At the end of the test our teacher gave us this story – and everyone immediately knew their grade. I’m going to share the story.

A successful CEO realized it was his time to retire and to pick a replacement. Great care was taken to find a replacement. After reviewing his options he called the people he felt were best suited for the job into his office. He explained he was thinking of retiring and he needed to pick someone as his replacement. He informed them that he was giving each of them a very special seed that he wanted them to plant, take care of and he would call them back in one year to see how the seed progressed. He would pick the next CEO based on the progress of the plants they brought in.

The potential CEOs took their seeds home and carefully took care of them. There was one man (John), no matter what he did, he could not get the seed to grow. The others said their plants were thriving. He’d look at their plants wondering why his would not grow. As each day passed he felt more and more like a failure.

One year later the CEO told them to bring their plants into his office. John was dreading this day for a year. He was the only one with an empty pot, all the others had beautiful plants. His co-workers mocked him, some felt sorry for him. The CEO noticed John’s empty pot and asked him what happened. Why didn’t his plant look like the others? John explained he tried everything but the seed wouldn’t grow.

The CEO said John was to be the next CEO. John couldn’t believe what he heard. The CEO explained that he gave everyone boiled seeds – impossible for those seeds to grow. John was the only one that told the truth. Telling the truth takes guts and integrity. John was the next CEO.

The moral of the story: take care with what you plant now because it will determine what you reap later.

What would you do if you were one of the potential CEO’s? Be honest with yourself.

As for my test in school – I passed it but I was shocked that most of the class didn’t.