The Body Parts

Ah-ha Moment

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One day several vital organs within a human body got together to discuss the contributions of the belly under the suspicion that the belly was not properly contributing to the work as a whole. The brain, arms, legs, eyes, feet, hands, lungs and kidneys had different reasons for being resentful of the amount of work being done by the belly. To them the belly seemed lazy and did little more than consume food while the other parts did the work.

"We have decided that we will no longer do what we need to do in order to feed you," they said to the belly, "Because you do nothing to help us, and you are lazy and unproductive."

The mouth and throat stopped sending food and the lungs stop sending oxygen to the belly. Soon the belly starved - and so to, did the rest of the body.

There is obvious application of this Aesop fable when discussing teamwork. Clearly every member of the team will resent any team member that does not pull their weight. More discreetly, this table also has a tremendous impact on diversity. The diversity aspect of Aesop’s “the quarrel between the body parts” becomes evident once we realize that each one of the body parts has its own specialties based on its life experience within the body.

Many times, we perceive the value of the team members based on what we know without giving thought to their individual life experiences. Had the body parts paid more attention to the belly as an important contributor they may have realized and appreciated precisely what the belly did. Instead they made assumptions, rallied others around this false impression and then worked to sabotage what they perceived as an unworthy member of the team.

Teams enjoy success when they have a diversity of talent and ability within their ranks. This is not simply a matter of education or training. It is a matter of the life experiences of the individual members.

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