For my birthday, my colleague and his brother-the-chef created a wonderful watermelon cheesecake especially for me.  It was an original recipe and a labor of love that was delicious.

From my sister, I also received a package of Watermelon Oreos.  (Do you see a theme here?)  When I was growing up, Oreos came in one style only, but, like with everything else, the brand extension has exploded and now there are many version:  watermelon, Neapolitan, Berry Burst ice cream, sherbet, colored versions for holidays, golden, mega, double stuff, etc.  Instead of a mainstream brand, Oreos have practically become a niche product with each variation appealing to a limited crowd.

What was interesting to me is how willing, even eager, my staff was to sample the two new products.  The chefs themselves hadn’t even tasted the cheesecake, but I think everyone wanted to have a try.  When I passed the cookies around today, even those that weren’t crazy about watermelon took one “just to see.”

I am sure no one else even noticed this, but it made me feel good to know that my staff was willing experimenters.  It was a symbol to me that they are comfortable “trying” things — not just cheesecake and cookies, but I believe that mentality and mindset translate over to processes and tactics.  We have been very successful this year, and I attribute part of that to the environment where we embrace change — even if it is Oreo flavors.

How do you introduce small new experiments into your organization?  Bring in new food (example:  we had the holiday flavored Twizzlers last week and spice-coated nuts).  Rearrange the offices or even location of computers/things on the desk.  Share new apps for your technology.  Spread the word about a new restaurant.  Try new flavors in the Keurig.  There are more options than Oreo flavors.

Once again, it’s an example that the little things that really do add up to make a difference.

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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