Once upon a time there was a shepherd. He was standing by the side of the road, looking after his flock of sheep.
Suddenly, a brand new Cherokee Jeep appeared and stopped near the shepherd. A young man wearing a Hugo Boss shirt, Yves St. Laurent trousers and Nike trainers got out and said to the shepherd:
‘If I can guess how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one of them?’
The shepherd looked at the man, looked at his sheep – who were eating grass peacefully – and said: ‘Yes, OK then.’
The young man parked his car and took out his laptop computer and a GSM phone. Then he logged on to a NASA website and scrutinised the local area with the help of a GPS (global positioning system). Next, he created a database and 60 Excel tables full of statistics. After that, using a hi-tech micro-printer, he printed a 150-page report. Finally, he turned to the shepherd and said: ‘You have 1,586 sheep in your flock.’
The shepherd replied: ‘You’re absolutely right, I do have 1,586 sheep in my flock. Now you can take your sheep.’ The young man took a sheep and put it in the back of his Jeep.
When he had done this, the shepherd said: ‘If I can guess your profession, will you give me my sheep back?’
‘Yes,’ said the young man.
‘You are a business consultant,’ said the shepherd.
‘How did you guess?’ asked the young man.
‘Three things,’ said the shepherd.
‘Firstly, you came here when nobody asked you to.
Secondly, you charged me a sheep to tell me what I already knew.
And thirdly, you have no idea what I do, because you took my dog, not a sheep!’
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A Business Consultant
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