How many people have read Antoine de Saint Exupery’s masterpiece “The Little Prince”? Probably a correct guess would be several million. In fact it is rather surprising how few people know its business version “The little prince puts on his tie” by Borja Vilaseca.
Based on true events of the author himself, this tale is a story of a young Spanish maverick who, after having explored Madagascar, becomes the new human resources manager at a software company ruled by conflict and persisting poor economic results. Shortly after, the main character, Pablo Prince (Borja Vilaseca) realizes that the working environment is seriously damaging the company and its outcome, since it is based on the fear of the bosses, passive acceptance of the status quo and widespread distrust among colleagues.
Prince decides to challenge this instability by organizing a human development course asking people to follow it skeptically and not to take any idea for granted but, at the same time, to try to follow his methods with a correct attitude before evaluating them. His theory develops on innovative approaches based on self-knowledge and personal growth. He is convinced that people cannot change the external environment where they have little or no control at all but they should try to change what they really can, themselves. He wants his colleagues to proactively engage in their working situations and to not just accept them passively but to remove their personal constraints that obstruct their potential. How? According to Prince, emotions such as fear and happiness are based on how somebody decides to interpret external events and everybody should be conscious that those can be molded to his advantage and his personal development.
Despite being a new hire, Prince decides to confront his bosses about allowing more free time to his colleagues for a better work-life balance, specifying individual tasks clearly for better understanding of their role and giving them greater responsibility so they feel a more relevant part of the organization. His colleagues slowly realize they could be free from stress and deadlines thus releasing their creative energy and their full potential. Employees start to feel that the company is the place where they can learn, improve and fulfill their professional goals. Therefore, the old idea of the company as a “prison” becomes outdated. Prince understands that his colleagues were using their external problems and excuses to justify their working behaviours rather than learning from their mistakes and nurturing greater self-awareness and conscience.
The process of change and transformation of the company comes true developing the potential, talent and creativity of its employees. By changing mentality, leadership and business culture, eliminating conflict and dissatisfaction and managing emotional intelligence, Prince shifts the main objective from company’s results to its employees’ personal results.
If you are interested in reading this noteworthy book you chose wisely and you should probably stop reading right here.
In case you are curious to know how it finishes, I’ll fast forward to its end. The company started to be profitable after five years of losses reaching its highest ever turnover without investing any economic resources. It did not raise salaries, guarantee promotions, relocate its offices to new exotic locations nor distribute prizes. The miracle happened thanks to a young visionary human resources manager who was able to work on people’s happiness, talent and creativity. But if you want to know precisely how he did that and if you want to know and improve yourself, then you should probably read this book.
« The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going »
ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
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