The Seed That Never Grew
Adapted by Azeezah Jameelah Mohamed Mohideen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The CEO of a company was growing old and wanted
to choose a successor. Instead of choosing one of his
directors or children, he decided to do something
different. He called all the young executives in his company
into the boardroom and told them: “It is time for me to
appoint the next CEO and step down. I have decided to
choose one of you.”
He continued: “I will give each of you a seed today. It is a
very special seed. I want you to plant it and come back here
one year from today with what you have grown. I will then
choose one plant. The person whose plant I choose will be
the next CEO.”
Jim was one of the executives who received a seed that day.
He took it home and excitedly told his wife about it. She
helped him get a pot, soil and compost. He planted the seed
and watered it every day. After about three weeks, some of
his colleagues began to talk about their plants which were
beginning to grow. But Jim’s seed was not growing. Several
weeks went by with no sign of progress. Jim began to feel
like a failure.
Six months went by with nothing growing in Jim’s pot. He
just knew he had killed the seed. Everyone else had trees
and tall plants. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues.
Instead, he continued to water and fertilise the soil - he
really wanted the seed to grow.
When a year finally went by, all the executives took their
plants to the offi ce for the CEO to inspect. Jim told his wife
that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him
to be honest about what had happened. Jim felt sick in his
stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment
of his life but he knew his wife was right. So, he took his
empty pot to work.
When Jim entered the boardroom, he was amazed. The other
executives were holding a variety of plants which were
lovely to look at. When they saw Jim’s empty pot, some
laughed while some felt sorry for him.
When the CEO arrived, Jim tried to hide in the back of the
room with his pot. The CEO greeted the executives and
exclaimed: “My, what great plants, trees, and fl owers you
have grown!” When he looked further, he spotted Jim and
his empty pot. He asked him to come to the front.
Jim was terrifi ed. He thought: “The CEO will see that I’m a
failure. Maybe he will fi re me!” When Jim got to the front,
the CEO asked what had happened to his seed. Jim replied
that he had tried everything he could but the seed would not
grow. The CEO asked everyone to sit except Jim. He then
announced: “Here is your next CEO!”
Jim was flabbergasted. His seed didn’t grow at all, so how
could he be chosen? The CEO spoke again: “The seeds I
gave you were actually boiled seeds. They were dead so they
could not have grown. When your seed did not grow, you
replaced it with another seed. So today, all of you, except
Jim, have brought me trees, plants and fl owers. Jim was the
only one honest enough to bring back the seed I had given.
Therefore, he will be the new CEO!”
Adapted From: Anonymous. (2009). The seed that never grew.
HelpOthers.org. Retrieved April 14, 2010, from www.helpothers.