ABC Resolution: jelly beans

jelly beans

May 7 – May 20
What if you really liked different?

Jelly beans, those sweet little treats, come in all sorts of colors and flavors. On the surface they seem pretty much the same — similar sized outsides, same jelly insides. Upon closer look they aren’t. Jelly beans are, well, different. Some jelly beans are solid coated, some are speckled and some are even misshapen. The real wonderfulness of jelly beans? They don’t all taste alike. Of course, there are the classic flavors like lemon, lime and orange. Then there are jelly beans with flavors like liver, popcorn, rotten egg, ear wax, dirty socks and …

Why put in flavors that someone may not like? Because, no matter what they look like on the outside or what they taste like on the inside, someone will like them. The more variety, the wider appeal. The wider the appeal, the more new flavor ideas are invented and consumed. Their intrinsic and inherent diversity is deliciously valuable. Treat everyone you work with, everyone you know and everything you do like jelly beans.

 resolve to: enjoy flavor


Why connect our work relationships to a jelly bean analogy? Why not, say, talk about M&Ms®? As employees the latter are no muss, no fuss and always there in readiness (not melted) when you need them. Because the difference in the two candies is a comment on true diversity. The latter candy is all the same, except for a few different colors, on the outside and all the same on the inside. This is homogeneousness, not diversity. Too many companies claim that because they have people of different colors, genders, races, ages, et al, they are diverse. Look deeper into their true culture, however, and you most often find their policies and procedures influence everyone to act, perform and be alike.

Jelly beans value difference and different outcomes. The consequences of all-the-same is a simple equation,  1 + 0 =1,  one input plus zero difference equals one, predetermined solution. As a company, department, team, et al, you need creativity and innovation, a diverse set of ideas and answers to succeed and survive. This won’t come from a group of all-the-same nature. All-the-same may have worked in the past for single-tasked, factory jobs, but even those repetitive jobs now require qualitative thinking, judgment and reasoning. 21st century businesses and work need an inclusive business strategy to succeed.

So, the next time you think about sending that boisterous, opinionated, rotten-egg-tasting jelly bean employee over to HR to be retrained and assimilated, stop and rethink. That person is probably just the flavor you need to attract a new target market or expand an old one; find a way to refine a current process or invent a better one; see work from a different perspective that results in a whole new product and profit line. Toss out that flavor and you wind up tossing out your company’s new possibilities. Keep tossing, so all the employees are the same perfect shape, size and taste, and pretty soon you have a business with as few offerings and solutions as you have varieties of flavors. The fastest way to a flash-in-the-pan, non-sustainable growth and future I know.




Microaggression – I finally have a name for a very real and rapidly growing problem. One I have experienced on numerous occassions over the last few years.


Thank you to Columbia University professor of psychology and education Dr. Derald Wing Sue for his work in this area (and the above video). I look forward to reading his book. Also thank you to Gayle Kiser. Director of Communications and Marketing, CUPA-HR,  for her blog post I found that introduced me to the word.

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ABC Resolution: imperfection


April 23 -  May 6
What if the perfect picture of you wasn’t perfect?

Imperfection, the hallmark of our humanity, gives us strength to explore what is different about ourselves. Without physical imperfection, we would not uncover our unique beauty. Without personality imperfection, we would not try to become better people. Without systematic imperfection, we would not strive to improve our existence. Without human imperfection, we would not evolve. Imperfection is not a weakness, rather the portent of our potential.

Imperfection is:
A ripple on a pool of stagnant water creating energy and flow; A lopsided grin on a smooth face exposing the brain behind the mask; A chip in a slab of granite connecting us to the earth whence it came; Air bubbles in blown glass, remnants of the breath that blew it into shape; Errors in a computer program reminding us that perfection is a man-made construct.

When we embrace imperfection, we find talent yet to be developed. By its very existence, imperfection tells us that we, our world and our universe, are all meant to be imperfect.

 resolve to:
celebrate flaws


Acknowledging imperfection is most important when it causes us to question what about us is the same. We are constantly bombarded with the formulas for perfect, based on the supposition that imperfection is a lack of something in us. When all-the-same is the goal, we have to fill that void and correct any flaws to achieve this perfect oneness. Whether expressed directly or indirectly, the inducement not to question compels us to believe something is ‘wrong’ with us. Leaving us not with choices but a directive to fix something based on a false construct at the onset.

When we question and, if necessary, ignore the perfect imperative is when we can we start to engage in critical thinking and begin to determine our own destiny and happiness. More often than not, we discover our imperfections to be our best assets, the uniqueness that is our true strength. I encourage, entice and plead with you to celebrate flaws in yourself and others. Only then will we start to truly value, instead of disdain, our differences and accomplish what’s truly possible.



Kudos to Eliza Barclay of NPR for raising the Girl Scout cookies issue. Except, everyone continues to miss the point. Girl Scouts is about teaching girls, not about selling cookies. Three years ago approached my local cookie table and ask if they had a healthy cookie. The experience so shocked and saddened me, in response, I wrote this story for the book, reprinted for anyone interested in different possibilities for future girls.

Cookies – the story

What if different leaders really led differently?

Last year, 2012, the mothers and daughters were out again in force selling boxes of cookies. I buy cookies faithfully every year and this year was no exception. Neither was the fact that I typically spend the previous months trying to manage my weight. Unfortunately, most, if not all, of the ingredients in these cookies are on the bad-for-me list — processed white flour, check; unrefined white sugar, check; hidden artificial flavor, check. As I like to support what might be budding female entrepreneurs, this year, as I went to purchase the cookies, I thought I’d go and find out if they finally had a cookie I could happily eat. Continue reading


ABC Resolution: hieroglyphs

hieroglyphs: April 9 -  April 22

What if you could draw the true picture of you?

Hieroglyphs are an ancient writing system that uses pictures and characters to represent thoughts and objects. We still use hieroglyphs today, perhaps more than ever in modern history. From software icons to text messages and smiley faces, pictures and symbols now shorten and deconstruct our language into images that depict words and ideas.

If you had a hieroglyph instead of a name, what would the symbol look like? How would you represent yourself to the world? Would you have one version for family and friends and another for business? Would you draw it with one thin line, or would yours need bold lines and many strokes to fully render your complete character? Once done, would you dare show it to the world, or even one other person? Would you dare to show you to you?

Create your personal hieroglyph. The process may seem difficult at first, but know, when drawn, you will revel in the picture of You.

resolve to: render you


dare to grow what's possible in business & life