A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. He called all the young executives in his company together. He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next C.E.O. I have decided to choose one of you." The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued.
"I am going to give each one of you some seeds and I want you to plant these seeds, water them, and come back here after three months from today with what you have grown from the seeds. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next C.E.O."
One man, named Bruce, was there that day and he, like the others, received the seeds. He went home and told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seeds. Everyday he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Bruce kept checking his seeds but nothing ever grew. Three months went by...still nothing in Bruce's pot. He just knew he had killed his seeds. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.
A three months went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the C.E.O. for inspection. Bruce told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. He took his empty pot to the boardroom.
When the C.E.O. arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. "My, what great plants, trees , and flowers you have grown, " said the C.E.O. "Today one of you will be appointed the next C.E.O.!"
All of a sudden, the C.E.O. spotted Bruce at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Bruce was terrified. He thought, "The C.E.O. knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
When bruce got to the front, the C.E.O. asked him what had happened to his seeds...Bruce told him the story.
The C.E.O. asked everyone to sit down except Bruce. He looked at Bruce, and announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Bruce!"
Bruce couldn't believe it. Bruce couldn't even grow his seeds.
"How could he be the new C.E.O.?" the others said.
Then the C.E.O. said, "Three months ago today, I gave everyone in this room seeds. I told you to take these seeds, plant them, water them, and bring them back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead..it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Bruce, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. All of you have cheated, except Bruce, that is why he is going to be new C.E.O. of this company.