Creativity: Making an Issue Out of Tissue

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help spark your new product creativity. Reading time: 3:38.

      gas maskThe vice president walked into his staff meeting late as usual. Wearing a gas mask.

      Eyes widened and jaws dropped around the table. His staff couldn’t make sense of what they were seeing.

       “No, I’m not a terrorist and I ‘m not going to blow the place up,” he laughed while taking the gas mask off his face.

        You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief among the staff, their hearts still pounding faster than normal, their breathing still accelerated from the visual shock.

       “But maybe this gas mask can spark our creative discussion this morning on new product ideas,” the vice president added in ramping up his teaching point.

      He explained that Kleenex, the $1.2 billion facial tissue and category leader, initially was developed as a filter for a gas mask during World War I.  Then as a facial cream remover in 1924. And finally as a facial tissue that today catches running noses in 140 countries! Continue reading “Creativity: Making an Issue Out of Tissue”

Feeding Others When Your Cupboard Is Bare

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to strengthen your sense of resourcefulness. Reading time: 2:10.

              It’s the July 4th holiday weekend. People flock to your house. More than expected. You run out of food. So, in a panic, you raid your refrigerator. But all you find is four-day old bread, a few eggs, Romano cheese and some Romaine lettuce. What do you do?

             You improvise. That’s what Caesar Cardini did on Friday July 4, 1924 when his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico ran out of food supplies. Caesar improvised with whatever he had on hand. And Caesar invented: Yep, you guessed it, Caesar salad.

       Effective leaders improvise.

         They see ahead beyond what they don’t have. They see ahead to what they could have. In fact the word “improvise” stems from the Latin “to see ahead.”

          Leaders see ahead to innovate resources and to broaden marketing opportunities. Caesar Cardini compensated for the lack of food supplies with his resourcefulness and showmanship.

           He tossed his Caesar salad in a large wooden bowl in front of the patron’s table while other patrons looked on and the curiosity got the best of them.

         Caesar gave us all a solid leadership lesson 88 years ago today with the same innovative spirit that gave birth to America 236 years ago today: leverage whatever you have on hand and  turn your tunnel vision into funnel vision. Consider the possibilities.  Not the improbabilities.

        Continue reading “Feeding Others When Your Cupboard Is Bare”