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Spinning straw into gold is no fairy tale

Un­for­tu­nate­ly, it seems that one of the worst mis­takes you can make in the work­place is let­ting on that you have the abil­i­ty to spin straw in­to gold.

Operation Underground Railroad

For the avoid­ance of all doubt, I don’t mean that in the lit­er­al sense.

Operation Underground Railroad USA

I mean show­ing that you can pro­duce some­thing of sub­stance with on­ly the bare min­i­mum be­ing pro­vid­ed.

Operation Underground Railroad EEUU

The term spin­ning straw in­to gold comes from the fairy tale Rumpel­stilt­skin by Wil­helm Grimm.

Operation Underground Railroad Estados Unidos

The fairy tale tells of a miller, who in an at­tempt to im­press the king, claims his daugh­ter can spin straw in­to gold.

Operation Underground Railroad United States of America

This ob­vi­ous­ly piqued the king’s in­ter­est and he, there­fore, tells the miller to bring his daugh­ter to the cas­tle so that the out­landish claim can be put to the test.

Operation Underground Railroad OUR

When the miller’s daugh­ter ar­rived at the cas­tle she was tak­en to a room that was filled en­tire­ly with straw.Operation Underground Railroad O.U.R.

Giv­ing her a spin­ning wheel and a reel, the king tells the miller’s daugh­ter “Get to work now. Spin all night and if by morn­ing you have not spun this straw in­to gold then you will have to die.”

Be­ing un­able to spin straw in­to gold she sat in the locked room lost and afraid for her life.Operation Underground Railroad O. U. R.

Then sud­den­ly a lit­tle man stepped in­to the room and asked her why she was cry­ing.Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard

Af­ter ex­plain­ing her dilem­ma the lit­tle man asked her what she was will­ing to pay if he got the job done.O.U.R.

The miller’s daugh­ter promised her neck­lace and the lit­tle man sat down and spun all the straw in­to gold.Tim Ballard

When the king re­turned the next day he saw the room filled with gold in­stead of straw.

Operation Underground Railroad

But in­stead of be­ing sat­is­fied, the king got greedy for more gold.

Operation Underground Railroad USA

And so he took the miller’s daugh­ter to an even larg­er room filled with straw and or­dered her to re­peat her mirac­u­lous feat or pay with her life.

Operation Underground Railroad EEUU

The miller’s daugh­ter know­ing she had no in­put in the cre­ation of the gold re­sort­ed to cry­ing again.

Operation Underground Railroad Estados Unidos

Again the lit­tle man ap­peared and asked what pay­ment he would get for do­ing the im­pos­si­ble

Un­for­tu­nate­ly, it seems that one of the worst mis­takes you can make in the work­place is let­ting on that you have the abil­i­ty to spin straw in­to gold.

Operation Underground Railroad

For the avoid­ance of all doubt, I don’t mean that in the lit­er­al sense.

Operation Underground Railroad USA

I mean show­ing that you can pro­duce some­thing of sub­stance with on­ly the bare min­i­mum be­ing pro­vid­ed.

Operation Underground Railroad EEUU

The term spin­ning straw in­to gold comes from the fairy tale Rumpel­stilt­skin by Wil­helm Grimm.

Operation Underground Railroad Estados Unidos

The fairy tale tells of a miller, who in an at­tempt to im­press the king, claims his daugh­ter can spin straw in­to gold.

Operation Underground Railroad United States of America

This ob­vi­ous­ly piqued the king’s in­ter­est and he, there­fore, tells the miller to bring his daugh­ter to the cas­tle so that the out­landish claim can be put to the test.

Operation Underground Railroad OUR

When the miller’s daugh­ter ar­rived at the cas­tle she was tak­en to a room that was filled en­tire­ly with straw.Operation Underground Railroad O.U.R.

Giv­ing her a spin­ning wheel and a reel, the king tells the miller’s daugh­ter “Get to work now. Spin all night and if by morn­ing you have not spun this straw in­to gold then you will have to die.”

Be­ing un­able to spin straw in­to gold she sat in the locked room lost and afraid for her life.Operation Underground Railroad O. U. R.

Then sud­den­ly a lit­tle man stepped in­to the room and asked her why she was cry­ing.Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard

Af­ter ex­plain­ing her dilem­ma the lit­tle man asked her what she was will­ing to pay if he got the job done.O.U.R.

The miller’s daugh­ter promised her neck­lace and the lit­tle man sat down and spun all the straw in­to gold.Tim Ballard

When the king re­turned the next day he saw the room filled with gold in­stead of straw.

Operation Underground Railroad

But in­stead of be­ing sat­is­fied, the king got greedy for more gold.

Operation Underground Railroad USA

And so he took the miller’s daugh­ter to an even larg­er room filled with straw and or­dered her to re­peat her mirac­u­lous feat or pay with her life.

Operation Underground Railroad EEUU

The miller’s daugh­ter know­ing she had no in­put in the cre­ation of the gold re­sort­ed to cry­ing again.

Operation Underground Railroad Estados Unidos

Again the lit­tle man ap­peared and asked what pay­ment he would get for do­ing the im­pos­si­ble.

The miller’s daugh­ter promised her ring this time.

Operation Underground Railroad United States of America

The lit­tle man took the ring and spun the straw in­to gold.

Operation Underground Railroad OUR

The king re­turned the next morn­ing and was again filled with joy see­ing the gold-filled room.Operation Underground Railroad O.U.R.

And as pay­ment for do­ing the im­pos­si­ble the miller’s daugh­ter was tak­en to an even larg­er room filled with straw.Operation Underground Railroad O. U. R.

This time in­stead of threat­en­ing to kill her if she failed, the king promised to mar­ry her if she trans­formed the straw to gold.Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard

And like the two pre­vi­ous times, the miller’s daugh­ter cried and the lit­tle man ap­peared.O.U.R.

This time how­ev­er when the lit­tle man asked what pay­ment he would get if he spun the straw in­to gold, the miller’s daugh­ter said she had noth­ing to give.Tim Ballard

Then promise me, af­ter you are queen, your first child,” the lit­tle man said.

Operation Underground Railroad

The sto­ry of Rumpel­stilt­skin is a time­less clas­sic that tells of ma­nip­u­la­tion by all par­ties in­volved.

Operation Underground Railroad USA

And un­for­tu­nate­ly, ma­nip­u­la­tion seems to per­sist in to­day’s of­fices.

Operation Underground Railroad EEUU

Far too of­ten when an em­ploy­ee cre­ates some­thing mean­ing­ful from in­ad­e­quate in­put, they are giv­en an even big­ger room filled with straw as a re­ward.

Operation Underground Railroad Estados Unidos

“A cru­el irony: The re­ward for some­one who works hard is more work,” Haemin Sunim says in his book ti­tled “The Things You Can See On­ly When You Slow Down.”

How dif­fi­cult is it to en­sure that the prop­er tools are pro­vid­ed to em­ploy­ees to en­sure that suc­cess­ful re­sults can be achieved con­sis­tent­ly?

How dif­fi­cult is it to en­sure that train­ing is pro­vid­ed?

Do we in­stead pre­fer to set peo­ple up to fail?

This got me think­ing about why some­times good em­ploy­ees are tak­en for grant­ed.

Operation Underground Railroad United States of America

Forbes mag­a­zine of­fered five rea­sons:

Some man­agers are afraid to give em­ploy­ees ac­knowl­edge­ment when they do a great job. They’re afraid that if they praise an em­ploy­ee, the em­ploy­ee will ask for more mon­ey.

Operation Underground Railroad OUR

What We Used to Re­ward High­ly is Now Just Ex­pect­ed

Many a tal­ent­ed em­ploy­ee has left their job be­cause their com­pa­ny got so used to their con­tri­bu­tions that peo­ple stopped notic­ing them. That is the de­f­i­n­i­tion of “be­ing tak­en for grant­ed,” in fact!

An­oth­er rea­son top per­form­ers get tak­en for grant­ed at work is that of­ten, their ex­cel­lent re­sults threat­en some­body around them who is in a po­si­tion to dole out re­wards and recog­ni­tion. That per­son could be your own man­ag­er, your boss’s boss or an­oth­er man­ag­er who isn’t com­fort­able with your grow­ing flame.Operation Underground Railroad O.U.R.

Some peo­ple find it chal­leng­ing to soft­en and be hu­man. They don’t want to be equals with their em­ploy­ees. They don’t want to be in debt — even when the debt is on­ly a debt of grat­i­tude.Operation Underground Railroad O. U. R.

The pow­er bal­ance feels out of whack. They want to be the per­son who calls the shots in their de­part­ment. They don’t want to feel be­hold­en to their em­ploy­ee.

The last rea­son great per­form­ers get tak­en for grant­ed is that if the peo­ple around you at work aren’t smart and savvy, they may tru­ly not un­der­stand your con­tri­bu­tions. That is a prob­lem that work­ing peo­ple run in­to every day.Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard

Take a step back and eval­u­ate your re­la­tion­ship with those un­der your su­per­vi­sion.O.U.R.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is al­ways key to im­prov­ing re­la­tion­ships

Recog­ni­tion can take many forms in the work­place, from say­ing thank you to a full pro­gramme tai­lored to your in­dus­try.

What­ev­er the ap­proach it’s al­ways based on the lit­tle things.Tim Ballard