Maximilian was the Managing Director of a rather large manufacturing company. There were quite a number of self-opinionated executives working under him. Somehow he managed to keep them under control.
One day at a meeting they all ganged up on Maximilian and demanded a pay rise. Maximilian employed his time-honoured technique:
I agree with you, he said. A pay rise would be a good thing. But let me tell you a story:
Once there were a group of intrepid adventurers. Their boss took them white-water rafting. They were in kayaks going down a fast river that went bumpty-bumpty-bump over boulders and looked more horrifically dangerous than in fact it was. The kayaks were sturdy and safe.
The following week their boss took them mountaineering. They brought their kayaks along with them. Why have you brought your kayaks with you? asked the boss. The kayaks are safe, they replied. We don’t want to drown while climbing the mountain.
All the self-opinionated executives nodded in agreement at Maximilian’s response. They went back to work.
Maximilian bit into his lunchtime sandwich. “Ah yes!” he thought. “Yet another crisis forestalled with one of my meaningless parables.”