Reading to my 3 year old daughter last night, it struck me that the story of the Gingerbread Man has a big lesson to teach business people.
Remember the story? He jumps out of the oven and runs off with everyone chasing him. He's really proud of himself, singing
Run, run as fast as you can,
You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!
He is ahead of all those chasing him, until the fox outwits him and gobbles him up.
Isn't the Gingerbread Man like the clever businessperson who launches an idea and has a roaring success on their hands? Life is great, all the competitors are trying to catch up and it feels like nobody else is as clever or talented as they are.
The Gingerbread Man doesn't foresee that anyone could be cleverer than he is. All he can see is the gap between him and the chasing pack. When the fox flatters him and offers to help him, he cannot even imagine that the fox could be his undoing.
Like a business that has led the market, the Gingerbread Man forgets that if he is clever, so can somebody else can be too. The fox is the new kid on the block - or maybe even an old hand who has bided their time and now is ready to move in. And because the Gingerbread Man is intoxicated with his success, he is entirely blind to the threat. It's as if he can't even imagine the possibility that he won't always be the leader.
The Gingerbread Man is gone. Don't let your business be swallowed by the clever fox. Be proud of your success - but don't let it blind you to the threats that may be around you!
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