The Old Woman In The Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.

Her oldest was named Alex and he was the smartest of all. Clever, as well. He always knew everything and he would be the first to let you know. The old woman relied on him day and night, for she was weary from hard work and his contribution to the family was very valuable. He grew older and wiser with time. His confidence was a comfort to her when she was so run down that she needed the peace of his steady stewardship. His brilliance shown bright, except when he needed to play well with his siblings. Then, not so much.

The woman worried. She loved Alex and knew he meant well. He made her life easy with the help he provided, but he also made her life hard because he was disruptive to the family. Some days it seemed that he made more waves than the ocean at high tide. The woman was faced with a choice. To keep him living in the shoe meant she could work less with him nearby. However, she would have 9 other unhappy children pleading with her to intervene in their disputes with Alex.

One day, the strain became too much for the old woman and she had to ask him to leave. He was shocked and incredulous. But she was firm in her decision that he had to go. It was hard at first, but over time, the others learned to pick up the slack and they all live happily ever after. Except for Alex. He was lonely and alone.


Never be clueless of how you are perceived by those closest to you. Make it your business to know.
Solicit feedback from a 360 degree perpective. Some people will never tell you bad news.
Everyone is replaceable. Believe this.
The smartest one doesn’t always win.
People would rather live with someone they like rather than someone who builds the best mousetrap.
Ditto for who they like to work with.

KEY TIP: A recommendation from a customer is worth more than one from a vendor. This is singled out for a reason. From time to time, I solicit recommendations from my customers. They frequently ask that I return the favor. They are my customer, so of course I will say nice things, but that recommendation is biased. Conversely, only a happy customer will write a recommendation for someone over whom they have economic control. A full stock of recommendations has input from supervisors, peers (internal and external) and customers. Vendor input is not needed in this context.

Likeability trumps ability every time. Be likeable. That’s the most important skill. Everything else should follow.


About Melanie M. Morris
Broker of Trust and Authenticity I'm really a sales executive, but I'd rather identify with these ideals rather than to simply say...I'm a seller.

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