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Uncorking Diversity in a Bottle of Wine

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your appreciation of diversity. Reading time: 3:36.

            The fine wine glasses looked conspicuously out of place, especially at 9 am in a team project room. The team leader was pouring what seemed to be white wine as his team members assembled for their next project update meeting.

            “Yes, I know it’s still early but I think a toast is in order,” the team leader said.

           He served the filled wine glasses to his seven team members who all looked at him like he just had a nervous breakdown. Alcohol in a project room or anywhere on campus was against company policy. And besides it was 9 in the morning. Most folks were still on their second cup of coffee.

          The team leader smiled and said, “No, no. It’s just water.” Now everyone thought the team leader had snapped. The team leader took a sip and then he offered his toast.

         “I’ve always been intrigued that you can make white wine from a red grapes,” said the team leader, hoisting his glass to showcase the clear liquid with a tinge of lemon food coloring.

            “White Zinfandel wine is actually created from the same grape as red Zinfandel,” the team leader added. “You used new resources that we’ve never even thought of using before in bringing this project this far on time and under budget. You made white wine out of red grapes. So I toast your resourcefulness.”

Making White Wine Out of Red Grapes

        The team leader sipped his cold refreshing “bottled” water with a touch of lemon for color that he had poured earlier into an empty wine bottle he brought from home to stage his demonstration. His team members in unison first smelled the liquid in their wine glasses and then drank to the toast. They were delighted to realize they were drinking water. Their team leader hadn’t lost it. Yet.

       In fact the team leader gained plenty of credibility and memorability in delivering his message to his team: diversity in resource utilization is a key to a project’s success. The team leader could have simply just stated that fact at the team meeting that he wanted his team to focus on greater diversity in resource utilization.

      But the team leader wanted to make a lasting impression and a demonstration is an attention- commanding tactic to engage the team in a more meaningful and memorable message, a message of the utility and value of diversity that authors George Land and Beth Jarman cite in their book In Breakpoint and Beyond : “The growth potential of any system is fulfilled by connecting with the different and the dissimilar rather than building on similarities.”

     Next time the team leader vowed to his team: “We’ll be toasting champagne at a fancy restaurant celebrating our new product launch.”

      Chances are then the team leader will find it hard to resist another salute to diversity: champagne (white in color) is made with more red grapes (Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier) than white grapes (chardonnay ) . Cheers!

 Today’s ImproveMINT

Diversify your resources to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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