An American business consultant was standing on the pier of a coastal Mexican village when a small fishing boat docked. Inside the boat were several large yellow fin tuna a lone fisherman had caught. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."
The American asked, "Why don’t you stay longer and catch more fish?"
"It's enough to support my family. I’m happy."
The American asked, "What do you do with the rest of your time?"
"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children and take siesta with my wife, Maria. Every evening I stroll into the village, sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor."
The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. You could catch more fish and buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, senor, how long will this all take?"
"15 to 20 years."
"But what then, senor?"
The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would launch an IPO and sell your company's stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions."
"Millions, senor? Then what?"
The American said, "Then you could retire and move to a coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, and every evening stroll to the village where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos."
This story is from HumaNext’s Cross Cultural Skills program. Click the photo above.