The little engine that could

I realized tonight that there is more to the story "The little engine that could" than meets the eye. When the train breaks down, the dolls and toys encounter many different engines and plead with them to help them over the mountain to deliver their goods to the little boys and girls (their customers). This book is a good analogy for business.

The shiny new engine represents companies that are too arrogant to help others or improve. They feel that they are above the competition. But what happens when they are no longer shiny and new?

The big steam engine represents large companies blessed with virtual monopolies, who refuse to change or see the value in collaboration. They go through life believing that they only serve one purpose, to service large companies like themselves. What happens when the virtual monopoly is taken away?

The rusty old engine represents those companies that have been around forever and refuse to try new ideas or innovate. These companies die in the roundhouse (or get government bailouts).

Then you have the little blue engine. An engine that, despite her size, is willing to take a risk because she sees a need. The dolls and toys need to get over the mountain, and even though it is a seemingly impossible feat for the little blue engine, she tries and tries and eventually succeeds.

I never thought that I would read so much into a children's book, but it provides some good insight into business today. Which engine does your company represent?

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