Saving stars

Salvando estrellas

I entered the quarterly meeting with the management committee; the first two days of the meeting were destined to introduce those responsible for sales and business; the last day was reserved for functions (we ‘business partners’) to discuss quality, marketing, supply chain and, of course, human resources.

As a human resources manager I had a hundred new processes to present to the committee: performance evaluation processes, processes to improve engagement, processes for detecting and retaining our talent… even processes to achieve a more diverse and multicultural team.

My team mates were joining the presentation with a friendly smile, but I did not detect enthusiasm anywhere. Maybe because we had been for almost three days immersed in numbers and processes! And suddenly I saw myself there, in front of the committee, telling a Sufi story that I heard many years ago.

The story

One morning, a man walking along the beach, was surprised to see hundred of starfish on the sand. He felt sad to see them, knowing that these stars could not live out of the water. He thought he could do nothing to save them and kept walking on.

A few minutes later he saw a little girl in the distance; she kept running from one place to another: from the shore to the sand and from the sand to the shore.

The man approached her and said: -Hey girl, what are you doing running from here to there?

The girl looked at him and convinced she replied: – Do not you see? I am returning the stars to the sea so they don’t die.

– Yes, I see – said the man –. But there are hundreds of stars on the sand and you can never save them all… your effort does not make any sense.

The girl bent down, picked up a star at her feet and threy it strongly to the sea.

For this star, it made sense – she replied.