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What I can learn from a fairy tale. 7 quotes from “The Little Prince”, which can help motivat employees and understanding some management methods.

5:30 – for some people – very early in the morning, and I’m thinking about the wisdom of the little prince, which can be implemented in any company.

The Little Prince teaches more reflection than a book about management, e-learning and HR taken together. On the occasion of reading bedtime stories for my daughter, The Little Prince has once again charmed me with wisdom, but this time I am at a different stage of development, which brought new reflections for me.

Who of us does not know the “Little Prince”, one of the most famous work of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, whole generations of Europeans were brought up?

What can a manager learn from a book about Little Prince?


During my studies I learn about the “small and large stones” method, the “Eisenhower matrix”, were used to prioritise. After one evening with my evening with reading for my daughter, I got one more method – Baobabs.

“there is no harm in putting off a piece of work until another day. But when it is a matter of baobabs, that always means a catastrophe.”*

Remember that you have a certain amount of energy at your disposal, therefore you should properly assess your skills. The effort lost on the simultaneous implementation of many projects and the performance of less important tasks is an effort lost forever. You must define your correct job and focus on it.

Remember the words of Confucius: “The one who chases two rabbits will not be able to catch even one”

20% of work brings 80% of effects (Pareto rule). Most of our tasks are not significant or that only seem to be very urgent. That is why it is so important to identify really key projects and focus on them.

Rules, methods, quotes, you can probably multiply here forever. Sens is one. Understand what your baobab is and take care of it.


the same is with an employee, you must know the strengths of the employee and use his skills in a reasonable way. And what does The Little Prince say?

“One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform. Accepted authority rests first of all on reason.”

We can assume that:

  • each manager is interested in having authority among subordinate employees,
  • each organization wants the managers to have real authority among subordinate employees.

Did you hear about the Pelz effect?
It is based on communication processes, so it should be managed in the organization to give managers space to build authority. Of particular importance are situations in which significant changes must be reported in the organization.

At every managerial training, one of the most interesting topics for participants is, how to use communication to build authority.

Some managers are convinced that having information alone strengthens their position – as a result they act according to the principle

“the less my people know from me, the more important I am”.

A little-known (unfortunately) research in the field of management psychology indicates, that this really is not working.

Donald Pelz – an American psychologist who in the 1950s wanted to explore what style of management is the most effective.

His research, however, showed a slightly different phenomenon: each style could be potentially effective, but only in a situation where employees saw one key thing – whether their superior had strong relationships with his superiors.

If a manager is a person that senior managers count for (and so communicate with him regularly and provide relevant information), he automatically builds authority in the subordinate team, which also translates into its greater efficiency.


There is a tendency to reward several outstanding units, and at the same time ignore their dependence on the support of the systems around them.

“The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen.”

Many companies employ “stars” to quickly improve the results of their organization.

Unfortunately stars “transplanted” into the new ground do not fulfil hopes. Why? Because they were detached from people, structures and standards that allowed them to shine.

Professors from the Harvard Business School conducted a study in which over a decade followed the fate of over a thousand recognized equity analysts. Monitored changes in their results when they switched to new companies.

There is an unpleasant conclusion from this project:

“When a company employs a star, its results decline, the group or team they work with is rapidly deteriorating, and the company’s market value is decreasing”.

Interesting things have also been discovered by Bain & Company, which has undertaken a comprehensive study of employee performance (Click and read more).

The research have shown:

  • On average, 15% of a company’s workforce — roughly one in seven employees — are A players, or “stars.”
  • The amount of star talent does not differ dramatically between the best-performing companies in our sample (the top quartile) and the rest (the average of the remaining three quartiles). Stars made up 16% for the best, and 14% for the rest.

What does differ between the best and the rest is how each group deploys its star talent.


Since the beginning of the war for talents, companies have invested billions in attracting, improving and maintaining the best of the best. And what about the stars  in the company says a kids book?

“Men?” (…) The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.”

The development of employees should be visible in the company at the recruitment stage. Its first point should always be internal recruitment, in which everyone employed in a given enterprise can take part. This allows to build attachment to organization.

Rather, eliminates the frustration at the “Glass ceilings”. It allows employees to fulfill themselves within organization, even if their career plans change during their professional life.

The implementation of a training policy in a company should always be preceded by an appropriate needs analysis. Because of this, the proposed directions will be tailored to the needs of people.

The training offered should be as diverse as possible. From those concerning hard and substantive competences, to those that shape soft skills.

Help yours employees “take root” in your company for longer. Research shows that the employment costs of new employees are often higher than cost of trainings.


Teams very often consist of people who are at different stages of their professional career. The manager’s leadership style is important, individual and skillful adjustment of activities and care that development is always planned and continuous.

At each level it is worth inspiring to increase knowledge and motivation, but by doing it in a completely different way and to varying degrees by participating in this process depending on the employee’s professional stage.

“No one is ever satisfied where he is, (…)”

It is worth to convince mid-level managers that you often forget about e-learning in your company.

The managers should understand what the training is about, they should be positive about the training and understand how important the training is. It is important to support your employees in participating in this form of learning.

Senior management is to understand that e-learning is not e-testing. The main task of WBT is not to examine the employee’s level of knowledge, but to supplement it.
The employee should want to improve his skills and not be forced to do so.


„You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

Maybe I am not the best manager in the world, but I just showed you that even books for children can teach you something.

*all quotes come from the book “The Little Prince” of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Translated from the French by Katherine Woods.

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