• Sam Decker

The Story of Rock and Sponge

Here’s what happened...

Rock was a hard, seasoned pro. He threw weight into a problem and bulldozed through people to ‘make IT so’. “It” was what he thought to be right. He rarely asked questions…he believed he had the solid answers. While others tried to help him, their suggestions bounced right off him like a brick. It was as if his ears were filled with cement. It became clear to others that Rock was strong enough to do things himself. Others stopped weighing in their opinion or help, and went about their own business.

Sponge, on the other hand, put herself in the hands of others to learn from them. She was available to help others with all sorts of jobs, which started to build trust with them and helped her learn something about how things worked around there. She listened as if she had 10,000 little ears all over. She retained and used a lot of what she learned, but she wasn’t a pushover. She also squeezed away facts she did not need to use. What she learned helped her clean others’ problems, as well as her her own. Rock thought she was wasting time. But Sponge thought differently.

After a while, people realized they could throw Sponge into a bucket of problems and she’d clean them up. She soaked up knowledge, shared it and applied it appropriately. She was generous, almost porous, with her ideas and connections. Others wanted to be around someone who was wise, caring, flexible, attentive, well-networked, and made things squeaky clean! Soon, sponge was surrounded by people who were willing to help her get the job done. Yet ironically, she saw herself as someone who worked for them.

Within a couple years Sponge became an executive at the company because she could build a team and get things done. She is often squeezed for time, but is happy to be soaking up the benefits of her approach.

Rock eventually was lifted from management duties, thrown back into the pile, and today is weighed down with heavy work. How porous are you?