We probably all read “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr Seuss when we were children. Sam-I Am tries to get Guy-Am-I to eat green food.
Why was Sam-I-Am so persistent?
Sam-I-Am believed that green eggs and ham was the best food and he didn’t want his friend, Guy-Am-I, to miss out. When you have a good thing that you believe in, you want to share it with your family, friends and the world. When you’re leading others or inviting others to join you in an endeavor, you had better believe in it whole heartily.
How far was Sam-I- Am willing to go?
Although some might argue that Sam-I-Am’s determination bordered on being annoying if not even harassment, I would suggest he was looking for the answer that would get his friend to try and enjoy the product. He tried locations such as house, box, car, tree, train ... He tried companions such as mouse, fox, and goat. None of these worked out. Sam-I-Am exhausted every idea he had to try to get Guy-I-am to join him in the dining of this culinary delight.
How far are you as a leader willing to go to figure out what it will take for others to join you in your pursuit? I am not recommending you harass and annoy others but too often we don’t take the time to figure out how to tailor present our vision, idea or pursuit to our audience.
Why didn’t Guy-Am-I want to try the food?
I almost don’t want to answer that question because if someone offered me green eggs and ham I wouldn’t be interested in eating it either. In my up bringing, food that had spoiled was classified as green food. Setting that idea aside, I think Guy-Am-I was just not willing to try something new.
I had a leader who once said to me, “Steve, tell me six times and I will get it the first time!” What he meant was that when a new idea is brought forward it probably is going to be rejected first time around but be persistent. Keep bringing it up. By the time the idea is brought forward multiple times, others will eventually own it as their own and say, “I have this great idea!”
What was the result?
Guy-Am-I finally tried the green eggs and ham. He was sold on them, thanking Sam-I-Am and expressing how great the food was. He was now a champion of green eggs and ham! I wonder what the sequel book would have looked like with Guy-Am-I telling others and trying to convince them to eat green eggs and ham? If Sam-I-Am believe in and could convince Guy-Am-I to eat green eggs and ham surely we can do the same for a greater cause.
Leaders need to believe in their product. They need to know that it will make a world of difference to staff, clients, or the organization. I know that I am hitting the mark when the person I am talking with says, “Steve, you are really passionate about this aren’t you?” They may not have heard it six times but they’re on their way to owning it as their own!
Go out and help others to enjoy “green eggs and ham” even if it takes six tries!