Bourbon versus Scotch.

The following is the original and the re-write can be found by clicking here.

I "discovered" Bourbon about two years ago and have been developing my palate ever since; along with that I have carried the presumption that everyone sees it as the finest of all the whiskeys, has the same enthusiasm for the amber ambrosia, and wants to raise a glass whenever the opportunity arises.

You know where presumption takes you? 

More or less the same place as assumption... and that brings you face to face with that ol' adage. *

Recently I had the opportunity to join a number of old friends for a weekend out of the city; an agenda of good food, relaxation by the water and at my insistence, bourbon tasting (because I am still looking for my "signature taste") - I have very obliging friends as each arrived with a different bourbon in tow. 

The tasting started in earnest the first evening after dinner with plenty of amateur commentary about bourbon, the odd "blind taste test" bet, and many life stories. It was in the middle of this I noticed someone was operating on an empty glass so I "enthusiastically" convinced him to pour another bourbon and join in. My "enthusiasm" continued as it became apparent he was not drinking. With that he looked at me, offered a frank and appropriate perspective regarding my pushy enthusiasm, took a sip and said, "I don't really like bourbon, I prefer Scotch". **

"Me, me, me... me, it's all about me, think like me, me, me; be me, me, me... you should all be like me, think like me... me, me, me..." Am I ever exhausting! (As well as humbled and embarrassed.)

You would think after all my years in sales and marketing, launching products, involvement with a focus group or two, and being someone who has always said listen for the needs of the customer, that I would have been able to "read the room" much better than I did. As I dissect why this happened (not in a neurotic way but more for intellectual understanding), I have to say it simply comes down to my enthusiasm. It was like an emotional blindness had occurred, preventing me from seeing anything else but my view on bourbon; accompanied by the enthusiastic belief that everyone else also saw it my way.

This story of "Bourbon verses Scotch" has now been added to my collection of pity stories, fables and metaphors that have come in handy over the years as I meander through business and life. Its lessons still ringing in my ears:

  • It may be the best Bourbon ever made but there are people who just don't like Bourbon.
  • Just because you "really, really like it" does not make other people "really, really like it".
  • Ask yourself, "Is emotional blindness impacting your ability to see something for what it really is?" And then ask others.
  • Look in the mirror and ask, "Is this about me?"
  • Don't forget to ask the simple question, "Do you like Bourbon?"
  • When someone says they like Scotch, serve them Scotch. There are some battles you just won't win.

The next time I see Kevin I will buy him a Scotch, thank him for his patience, and for giving me this story. I will have Bourbon... I really don't like Scotch.


* They say when you "assume", you make an ASS of U and ME.

** Three weeks earlier a group of us caught up for drinks and Kevin had a Scotch when we all had Bourbon. It was an $18 Scotch so I think it's fair to assume (see above) he's quite sure about his whiskey of choice. Interesting how I knew he liked Scotch but was blind to it.

Vujá dé (voozha-day)... the beginning of a "wee bit of an obsession".

I was informed of the term Vujá dé the other day and in short order it has gained momentum to be "a wee bit of an obsession".

Derived from Déjà vu, the phenomenon where an event happens and you feel that it has happened before, Vujá dé is the direct opposite... it's when something (or somewhere) that should be familiar, is suddenly very different.


A propensity for discovering something new in something you've already seen a million times before.


Noticing something for the first time that has been there all along; the realization that you've been unaware of something you should have noticed a long time ago.

Why the obsession? Being able to see things differently, particularly in something that is familiar, leads to new ideas, uncovers opportunities and leads to better ways of doing things. Accomplishment is found in something new and different.

So with this obsession taking hold, there is a couple of things I will need to do right away:

  1. Research and understand Vujá dé* further. This will include reading the book Weird Ideas that Work by Bob Sutton (who was one of the first people to write on the subject).
  2. Develop the discipline, perspectives and tools to notice something that hasn't been noticed before.

I will let you know how it goes.


* It seems that George Carlin, the master of seeing things that others have not, was the first one to introduce the concept of Vujá dé.


Ever hear of Leadership Leprosy? I hadn't...

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I was told a story the other day that introduced me to the concept of "Leadership Leprosy"... it went something like this.

A friend of mine was recently at a networking event and happened to meet someone who brought up the concept of "Leadership Leprosy", went on to explain he had forwarded the concept onto his boss in an email (as part of a managing-up exercise I suppose), and was fired for it.

To this I asked, "What's Leadership Leprosy?" He went on to tell me and I then did some more research which I will say did not include reading the book entitled Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth by Samuel R. Chand who introduced the term.

The book (I didn't read) also introduces this premise: 

Growth = Change

Change = Loss

 Loss = Pain

Thus, Growth = Pain 

From there it was pointed out "Leadership that doesn’t produce pain" is either in a short season of unusual blessing or it isn’t really making a difference. 

The author also introduced his experience with lepers in India and how the disease impacts a person's ability to feel pain which severely damages parts of their body (noses, ears, fingers, and toes) because those inflicted don’t sense the warning signs of pain to stay away from dangers - It is with this, the author connects "Leadership and Leprosy"... so now you have it.

Leadership Leprosy is a term applied to a leader who avoids (or can't appreciate) "pain", reflecting their lack of ability to drive growth, change and make a difference. - At least this is how I interpret it. 

Is there a point to all of this other than information transfer? Not really; I just want to pass on a story and something new I've learned.


Wait... I guess I do have something more to say, again with the caveat that I haven't read the book so maybe what I am about to say is covered off... I do agree that Change = Loss but Change can also = Gain, and although Gain doesn't generally = Pain, getting to the Gain most likely does. So in the end, I have a new leadership concept for my "tool bag" and as off putting as the term is, I suspect it does have utility.

And one more thing, if I take the story at face value and the person was fired for forwarding the concept of "Leadership Leprosy" onto his boss, he should either be glad that he is no longer part of that organization or he should be a little more reflective as to why he was really fired. 

Just saying.

OK, now iamgpe

PS: I've just added Leadership Pain: The Classroom for growth to my reading list.