No. 804



A while back I read a story about a very creative CEO, who was ready to retire and wanted to choose his successor. He came up with a very unique plan. He assembled all of his young executives and made the following announcement. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO of our company. I am going to give each one of you a seed today, one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”
One man named Jim was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed, and very excitedly told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and planted the seed. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim did not say anything to his colleagues. However, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil — he so wanted his seed to grow. A year finally went by and the young executives of the company brought their plants for the CEO’s inspection.
Jim told his wife that he was not going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what had happened. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew she was right. He took an empty pot into the board room. When he arrived he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. He put his empty pot on the floor -- many of his colleagues laughed and a few felt sorry for him.
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back of the room. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows that I am a failure. Maybe he will have me fired.” When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed — Jim told him the story. He tried, but just could not get this seed to grow. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next chief executive officer. His name is Jim!” “He couldn’t grow his seed, how could he be the new CEO?” the others asked.
Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all BOILED seeds. They were dead and not possible for them to grow. All of you except Jim have brought me trees, plants and flowers. You substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore he will be the one who will be the new CEO."
The moral here is simple. Be careful what kind of seeds you plant, they may come up.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)