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The Fisherman Story : Fallacy of Change
Human Resources » Change Management

Chrm Message From: kaushik Total Posts: 61 Join Date: 17/08/2006
Rank: Manager Post Date: 05/02/2007 02:09:46 Points: 305 Location: India

When I train for change management, I sometimes employ the following story to illustrate the fallacy of having change for change sake and differences in perception to change. I have found it to facilitate an enjoyable learning experience among the participants.... Here's the story:

A management consultant, on holiday in a African fishing village, watched a little fishing boat dock at the quayside. Noting the quality of the fish, the consultant asked the fisherman how long it had taken to catch them.

"Not very long." answered the fisherman.

"Then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the consultant.

The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The consultant asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, have an afternoon's rest under a coconut tree. In the evenings, I go into the community hall to see my friends, have a few beers, play the drums, and sing a few songs..... I have a full and happy life." replied the fisherman.

The consultant ventured, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you...... You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have a large fleet. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to a city here or maybe even in the United Kingdom, from where you can direct your huge enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the fisherman.

"Oh, ten, maybe twenty years." replied the consultant.

"And after that?" asked the fisherman.

"After that? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the consultant, laughing, "When your business gets really big, you can start selling shares in your company and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?" pressed the fisherman.

"After that you'll be able to retire, move out to a small village by the sea, sleep in late every day, spend time with your family, go fishing, take afternoon naps under a coconut tree, and spend relaxing evenings havings drinks with friends..."

" That's what i,m doing right now", said the fisherman and went his way.

Chrm Message From: rehaan Total Posts: 69 Join Date: 17/08/2006  
Rank: Manager Post Date: 05/02/2007 02:13:13 Points: 345 Location: India

That was really an interesting one on the perception of change. However, I have been trying to find the real difference between Organization Development & Change Management. Is there any difference between the two, if yes; what is it ?



Chrm Message From: tara Total Posts: 49 Join Date: 17/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 05/02/2007 02:25:23 Points: 245 Location: India

Dear Rehaan,

Organization Development is part of change management. OD helps to modify or maintain the organisation culture. The well known OCTAPACE culture is associated with OD. OCTAPACE stands for:


OD creates changes through what are known as OD interventions. These interventions are systematic application of behavioural processes with a specific purpose. The OD interventions act on the following 'focal points ' within the organisation:


I had been brief, but I hope I have clarified to your query.

Warm Regards


Chrm Message From: kusuma66 Total Posts: 3 Join Date: 17/08/2006  
Rank: Beginner Post Date: 14/09/2010 06:32:15 Points: 15 Location: India

Inspirational Story.

Keep posting such stories.

Chrm Message From: bharatiattal Total Posts: 2 Join Date: 17/08/2006  
Rank: Beginner Post Date: 04/07/2011 01:31:45 Points: 10 Location: India


Thanks for the story real help for people like me who are into the area of trining MBA students. This type of material help us make our teaching sessions more interesting for the students.

Keep posting such stories.

Mrs Bharati Kumar

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