Holy Guacamole!

Here. Havacado.I had dinner recently with one of the most kind and gracious couples I’ve ever met. You know what it’s like: When you spend time with such gentile hosts, you want things to go well.

Things did not go well.

Look, I’ve dealt with plenty of nemeses in my life, and some of my challenges have been dreadful. Like you, perhaps, I wear the scars of many a battle. I’m a legendary fighter, and have crushed overwhelming odds to extinguish the most brazen of entrepreneurial ogres.

That is, until this night. This dinner. These friends.

My undoing… was the guacamole.

It was a sustaining and delightful meal: For me, fresh salmon tacos, braised Brussel sprouts, a steaming potato with butter and herbs, and a refreshing salad. When our congenial waitress offered to bring fresh, chopped avocado for my tacos, I happily accepted. But as she walked away, I wondered why she made such an offer, knowing my plate already held a sizeable helping of guacamole.

Clearing space on my plate for the coming avocado, I took in a heaping spoonful of the guacamole. I closed my lips around the spoon to savor its creamy coolness. But it wasn’t guacamole at all. Nope. Not even close. That large dollop of green and gloppy goodness turned out to be…


Some call wasabi “nuclear horseradish.” It is so hot that a quarter teaspoon of the stuff is enough to destroy Denmark. My sinuses exploded in searing pain as if someone had forced a welding torch far up into my nose. Sitting in front of my hosts I had to make a snap judgment: That wasabi was going somewhere, but it wasn’t going to stay in my mouth.

So I swallowed.

And that, my friend, was both the end of a pleasant meal and the beginning of an embarrassing memory.

Few people can go from zero to wasabi. It has to be enjoyed in small amounts.

Some leaders get jazzed by setting goals that, while emotionally compelling, may be so large and so risky as to scare away even their most ardent of followers. You may have worked your way up to hefty and challenging goals, but those who follow your lead could spontaneously combust at the thought of your big dream. This is not to say you shouldn’t set significant, even scary goals; you should. But keep in mind what you will be serving, and to whom.

You should absolutely tell your staff about your goal. Paint the picture in bright colors; tell the story with clashing cymbals. But make it clear from the onset that you’re not expecting them to swallow the whole thing at once. Your wasabi goal can be served in amounts that are easy on the palate and will enhance the flavor of your feast. Describe the entire seven course meal but explain that you expect your staff to savor it, not gulp it down in one large bite.

Going from zero to wasabi will get you burned. I know. I’ve been there.

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