In a small town not far from here lived three businessmen: MyWay, YourWay, and BestWay.
All three were aware of each other – it was a smallish town, after all, and all three owned companies that used much of the local workforce for their employment needs – yet none of them had ever met.
This wasn’t because of conflicting schedules, or location, or any other normal business conflict – it just seemed that all three were living with a different mindset as to how you did things.
Because of this, all three did their own thing and were quite happy at that. At least, they were until one day when they were forced to meet in person.
The Big Event
One day, a minor catastrophe hit the town where MyWay, YourWay, and BestWay lived. A fire broke out at one of the main factories, and the town’s fire brigade set off in the sole fire engine to deal with it.
Unfortunately, the truck’s engine blew and it left the firefighters stranded miles from the factory.
Knowing that MyWay, YourWay, and BestWay had a lot of workers and access to water pumps – and, fortuitously, were all close to the burning factory – the Fire Chief called each of the businessmen and asked if they could help until the truck was repaired.
Each one of the businessmen agreed immediately, and made provisions for their workers to get to the fire as soon as possible and begin fighting it.
The Coming Together
First there was MyWay, who immediately got his men to begin spraying water all willy-nilly, safe in the belief that water drowns fire – you just need enough of it in as many places as possible.
Next to arrive was YourWay, who looked at what MyWay was doing and immediately did the opposite. He concentrated all his water on a window where the biggest flame was leaping out, and left MyWay to his mindless spraying.
Last to arrive was BestWay, who looked at how both MyWay and YourWay were doing things, and then looked at the fire itself. He could see that the source of the fire was an out-building to the right of the factory, and this was feeding the bigger flames on the factory itself. He immediately knew that was the area to start with.
However, he could also see that if the flames all around the building weren’t kept in check, they’d spread fast and make it difficult to reach the outbuilding.
So he introduced himself to MyWay and asked if he could make sure that the spray covered a wide area around the outbuilding, as well as the larger parts of the main building (including the window YourWay was concentrating on). Since that was pretty much what MyWay’s men were doing anyway, MyWay nodded in agreement.
Next, BestWay ran over to YourWay, and asked if he could point all his water at the outbuilding, which would allow BestWay’s team to get inside and fight the fire from within. Since YourWay already thought his concentrated approach was better, he too nodded in agreement and switched his focus onto the outbuilding.
Now that both MyWay and YourWay were concentrating on containing the fire from spreading at its most viral points, BestWay directed his team toward the outbuilding.
Under the cover of the bigger spray from MyWay and the concentrated spray from YourWay, BestWay’s team managed to get inside the building and see that a gas tap had been left on and that had caused the fire.
They managed to turn off the tap, which immediately stopped feeding the flames. They then rushed out and helped the other teams overcome the rest of the fire, and the factory was saved.
Of Realization and Respect
As the embers of the fire smouldered, the three businessmen sat down on the grass opposite the factory and watched as their teams congratulated each other on a job well done.
The now-repaired fire truck drove into the site, parked, and the Fire Chief got out and approached the sitting businessmen. He was smiling warmly and shook each of their hands, thanking them for their bravery and teamwork, and how it was a sign of how three obvious friends could work together because of their understanding of what was needed.
“But we don’t really know each other,” MyWay said. “It was only today that brought the three of us into the same location.”
“He’s right,” said YourWay. “Although we know of each other, we’ve never met. To be honest, I’ve never really been inclined to meet with any of them – I’ve always been happy doing what I do.”
“But how did you manage to coordinate your efforts so well?” asked the Fire Chief. “It was as if each of you knew exactly what to do.”
BestWay smiled. “I think we all just realized that, while we can all have different thoughts and opinions on what works best – my way or your way – at the end of the day it’s the combination of both, and taking the best parts from the differing opinions, that allows you to work out the best way to move forward. So it was today.”
MyWay and YourWay looked at BestWay, and nodded together.
“So you’re saying it was you that saved the factory?” the Fire Chief asked BestWay.
“Not at all,” was the reply from BestWay. “I just saw that MyWay could really help by keeping the spray generic but in a different area, and that YourWay could help my team get inside the outbuilding that seemed to be the cause. I couldn’t have done anything without their input – all I did was take what they were both offering and make it the best for everyone involved.”
“Well, whatever it was, it worked,” said the Fire Chief, “and I’m sure the Mayor will be letting you all know how grateful he is to you three soon enough.” And with that, he walked back to the fire crew.
The three men stood up, ready to make their way back to their respective businesses. But each of them smiled at each other, and agreed that a new understanding had happened here today.
Sometimes YourWay is right; sometimes MyWay is right. But if you can take the best of MyWay and YourWay, and combine those into how you want to do something, that pretty much results in the BestWay every time.
And you don’t always need a fire to see the sense behind that…
image: jamie Mellor