Broken Mayo & Adopting Change

avocad lem

After years of learning, I believed I was an accomplished chef and foodie. That is, until I went paleo and tried to make my own mayonnaise.

Stocked with new ingredients to make me and my tribe of five healthier, I studied a few paleo mayo recipes from sites such as my new favorite, Nom Nom Paleo. After glossing over a few recipes, I was ready to experiment. Avocado oil, lemon and eggs in hand, I was ready to conquer. Ten minutes later, I stared at the yellow slime before me, and knew I failed. Broken paleo mayo.

Oh, how mad I was to waste an entire cup of expensive avocado oil on this experiment! Why didn’t I try this with a smaller increment of work, or maybe use cheaper olive oil? A bite sized attempt would have made the fail a less painful.

My daughter Lauren, a Chemistry major and chef-foodie in the making, noted my fail. We had a retrospective about it, and I determined I didn’t study enough. I read just enough about homemade mayo to cowboy my way through it, only to have my plan backfire. There are core elements that make homemade mayonnaise amazing, and I had missed most of them. Not unlike the core business values of any change being missed by companies. You can kind of make mayo, but no one will eat it. You can kind of adopt Agile, but no one will do it.

Lauren did her own studying, and two days later, wanted to give it a try. She wanted to make a full recipe, but with less expensive olive oil. I was still busy studying my effort, but I gave her the go ahead. Being a servant leader, I made sure she had everything she needed for her experiment, and then got out of the way. I didn’t ask her how her studying went; I was fully confident my Chemistry major would learn from her research and my mistakes.

Halfway through her attempt, she called me into the kitchen, “Mom! I’m going to feel so bad if this doesn’t work.” We looked at the yellow slime that was sort of mayo, but not really. “This is a lot of olive oil to waste.” I assured her to go for it, that I believed it was worth the risk of a cup of olive oil to make our tribe healthy. Yes, this was a tribal experience on all levels.

paleo mayo

Her attempt failed. She was flustered, for her worst fear of wasting the olive oil happened. Had we both studied making mayo enough at this point, we would have known that broken mayo can be salvaged. I assured her that her fail wasn’t the end of the world, and that we would not give up. We were no longer experimenting; we were on a quest!

We rallied and collaborated on all we learned, including how to fix broken mayo. The third attempt (with olive oil, on a smaller scale) worked, and we indulged with our luscious, paleo mayo. Adoption can be over-studied, but it can also be glossed over. Adopting any change without understanding its core business values will only make something that is broken.

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