In the English folktale, Jack and the Beanstalk, young Jack trades his mother’s milk cow for a handful of “magic” beans. When he tells his mother what he’s done, she angrily throws the beans on the ground and sends Jack to bed without his supper. Next morning they awake to find a gigantic beanstalk reaching to the sky. This will become Jack’s pathway to finding riches, success, and living happily ever after.
Magic beans are like that. They can perform a similar magic for your business, if you know where to find them. In the original folktale, the magic beans come from an old man who meets Jack and the cow on their way to market. In the business world, you find can them in stories told by your employees, co-workers, and clients.
Getting to know your customer’s pain points can be a source of magic beans. So can understanding the ways that your organization has dealt with failure, success, and those all-important, should-we-go here-or-there forks in the road.
So make it a habit to listen. Probe. Listen some more. And when you find those magic beans, don’t throw them on the ground the way Jack’s mother did. Cultivate them. Nurture them. Plant them deep in your organization. Turn your magic beans into narratives that capture who you are and become the foundation of your company’s brand.