May 22, 2012
So, let me say at the outset that I’m reasonably confident that this is the world’s first leadership development blog post that includes a story about roasted cauliflower. (I Googled “roasted cauliflower leadership” and the top result was this recipe from Northern Michigan’s News Leader.) Here’s my back story.
One day last week I was working from my home office and went into the kitchen to get some lunch. My amazing wife, Diane, had a baking sheet full of raw cauliflower out on the counter. I asked her what she was doing and she said, “Making some roasted cauliflower for lunch. Want some?” I think I made a face, semi-politely said no thanks and that she must be the only person in North America who was making cauliflower for lunch. She kindly reminded me that I’ve demonstrated over the past couple of years that I actually like cauliflower and noted the different occasions that proved that point.
That’s when I said, “I’m still working with my long held story that I hate cauliflower and I’m sticking to it.” So I went for a sandwich and missed out on tasty cauliflower with peas and Indian spices.
The lunch-time lesson got me thinking about that phrase we hear so often, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” It’s usually offered in a lighthearted kind of way but like most jokes there’s often a deeper truth that lies underneath.
Even when presented with recent and verifiable evidence to the contrary (e.g. I’d said on numerous occasions that I liked the cauliflower dishes Diane had made), we tend to stick to our long-held story. For real. Why do we do this?
I can think of three reasons. Here’s my take on their implications for leaders and what we can do about them.
What long-held story are you sticking to? What have you or your organization missed out on as a result of that? What are a few easy things you could do to shake up your story?
May 22, 2012