The Temple Courtyard

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The monk is carefully tracing a spiral in the gravel of the temple courtyard as you approach.

'Oh Teacher'

you say, bowing low.
'All my staff keep demanding job descriptions and proper organisational structures. What am I to do?'

The old man's eyes gaze impassively from his weather-beaten face. Is there a hint of pity in that expression? Or contempt?

By some mysterious psychic process, you realise that he wants you to recount your own job description. You do so at some length, correctly in every detail.

As the echoes of the final functional operating procedure die on the mountain breeze, there begins a long silence. Then at last he speaks:
'Your boss has written your job description. Frank-ry speaking, it not too bruddy good. Your staff must write their own. They will do it better...'

The crickets chirp. You feel panic. You need more. Is he demanding that you should speak, or will he continue?

you say.
'You think you Managing Director/Head of Sales/Operations/Engineering/Finance, etc/Derete as Appropriate'

he cuts in, his eyes now blazing and impatience rising in his voice.
'You not get anywhere trying to be that just a rong as Temple Baboon he got ho-rin-ass!'

He pauses, waiting for the message to sink in, or perhaps for the stupid, stunned expression to leave your face. It doesn't, and so he continues, more gentle now :
'... You got to help them write their job description. But they got to do it. You not know what they can do. Only they know that. You not know what they want. Only they know these things...'

Another silence, and then:
'They have forgotten that they know these things. You bruddy sirry management have taken away their abirity to think for themselves all these years. Now you got to give it back.'

Suddenly you understand.

'You want me to be a Leader, not just a Manager!'

you gasp.

This time the silence is terrifying. The eyes harden again. The voice, when it comes, is quiet and chilling:

'For a rittle while. Soon, they will be the Reeders. You are onry their Teacher, as I am yours. When your teaching is done, you can go back to being a manager. Now my teaching is done, I go back to creaning the Sacred Parace.'

He turns, and begins to scrunch away across the gravel. You long to call after him, to ask why a mind so great is devoted to tasks so menial, but something holds you back.

The old man halts and turns, regarding you intently. Is that a twinkle in his gimlet eye?

'You can rearn a rot from correcting goat-turds'

he declares.
'Provided you do it humb-ry.'

And with that, he is gone. The day seems much colder than before. You know what you have to do, or at least try to do. But is anyone going to listen?


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