Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis

Stone Soup

Once upon a time two soldiers were passing by a small village that was hit by a drought. Everyone in the village stocked up on supplies as a result of the drought. The two soldiers asked quite a few people if they could give them some food to eat as they were weak and hungry. But no one was willing to give away their supplies. So eventually the soldiers spread the word that they were going to make their own "stone soup". This has caught the attention of all the villagers who gathered around a huge water filled pot with fire under it. One of the soldiers threw three stones into the boiling water chanting some magic words and this caused the villagers to be more interested in the process. One of the soldiers said "the main ingredients of the soup are salt and pepper, which I unfortunately do not have with me right now" on hearing this one of the villagers sent his daughter to run home and fetch some salt and pepper. The other soldier said "oh and some carrots and potatoes will make the soup great" after hearing this villager told his son to run home and fetch some carrots and potatoes from their storage. And one of the soldiers also said "some salted beef and barley would just make this soup taste magical" and so another onlooker ran home and brought some salted beef and barley. In this way the soldiers managed to talk the villagers into brining one or two ingredients for the soup until they had all the ingredients to make a tasty soup. All the villagers got together with the soldiers and had the soup for dinner and agreed that it was the most delicious soup they have ever had. They danced and sang in to the night.


When every individual could give their best to achieve this one common goal, it will be a great success. As opposed to not sharing stacking up on their resources, which will not lead them to achieve any big goal that requires various skill sets. And leaders such as the two soldiers in this story are able to make people do the contribution willingly.

There is a necessity of executive managers to be like the two soldiers who can convince employees to willingly contribute to the process. The soldiers in this stories were also clear in stating their requirements. The soldiers displayed clear planning in their process. And have also encouraged user (villagers') involvement by making them curious and by driving them to contribute to the process by bringing their resources to the table, in this case ingredients to the pot.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

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