Consider the last five meetings you attended. Was there a fair amount of whining about what’s missing in the company? We need stronger sales people, our head of marketing has lost her touch, our VP of operations is much too soft! Many executives instinctively look outside their company for new talent, and sometimes you do need to shake up the gene pool, but not always. Take a hard look inside your company first.
You shouldn’t need to look far, as illustrated in a story told by the nineteenth century Baptist minister Russell Conwell titled “Acres of Diamonds.” He dreamt of establishing Temple University although he didn’t have any money. He didn’t let his financial reality dictate his situation, encouraging himself and others with a motivational speech about a man who desired wealth so badly that he sold all his property, left his family, and set out on a lifelong, futile journey to find diamonds. He spent the rest of his years searching for something he never found because, as Conwell tells us, he didn’t know where to look.
Just after the man sold his farm, the new owner led his camel to water in the small river at the edge of the property. As the camel drank from the stream, the new owner noticed a flash of light coming from the bottom of the river. He knelt down and picked up what turned out to be a large diamond. After digging further, he discovered a whole mine. The man who left his family, home, and everything behind to look elsewhere for diamonds would have found them in his backyard if only he had stopped to look.
You can find the diamonds in your company too.08