Why You Should Treat A Business Problem Like Horse Manure

My first real “boss” was a cantankerous  75-year old man who happened to be worth many hundreds of millions of dollars, all earned from a starting base of zero.

In other words, they guy knew how to make a business successful.

And yet, of all the lessons he gave me, it was a simple little story he used to tell me about every month or so that has left the biggest mark on me.

It was about two boys who one beautiful day were exploring their neighbor’s farm and came upon an empty barn that smelled of manure – the first boy said, “we got to get out of here, this smells horrible“, but the second boy said “Oh boy, this is great – there must be horses around!“.

Guess which boy was my boss.

He ran into a lot of “smelly” problems to get to where he was, and just about every time, instead of running away from them, he saw the positive side of the situation, and dove in.

If there was a problem, there was a solution.

And how glorious that solution will be!!

Imagine if we all could treat problems like that.

I know I’ve tried these many years (it was 24 years ago when I heard that story for the first time), and wouldn’t you know it, he was right.

Problems are challenges, and in business, they usually require some hard work, common sense, some guile, and oh yes, just a teeny bit of crazy.

And when you dive in, and create those solutions, those are the most satisfying things a business person can ever do.

Believe me, I can’t walk past a horse manure pile without thinking of my boss.

Yep, I know, that’s not the best way to be remembered, but on the other hand….




  1. says

    Having grown up on a farm, I think it also says sometimes you just have to shovel it out, clear it out, and move forward! It is a trait of being unafraid of getting your hands dirty… Good “stuff”! Jon

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