Byron's Babbles

How Many Flavors Do You Need?

 In Lesson #47 of The Disciplined Leader John Manning (2015)taught us to Avoid The “Flavor of the Month” Syndrome. I actually blogged about this back in Flavor Of The Month Or Research And Development? I put a little different twist on it, but this is an important topic when it comes to putting strategy in action. Founded in 1945 by Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in Glendale, California, Baskin-Robbins is known for its “31 flavors” slogan, with the idea that a customer could have a different flavor every day of any month. Now, if we look at using this theory for strategy, we will surely fail.

Because of being focused so heavily on culture building and leadership development this year I have thought a great deal about alignment of the team to our strategies while still making sure we, what I call, hyper personalize the professional growth and development. Training and development programs almost universally focus factory-like on inputs and outputs: absorb curriculum, check a box; learn a skill, advance a rung; submit an assessment, fix a problem. Flavor-of-the-month remedies, off-the-shelf programs, immersions, and excursions stuff people full of competencies and skills but produce astonishingly few great leaders. This is why I believe these programs must be developed and personalized by the leader of the organization to fit the context of the individuals being developed. The program must also be customized for the context of the organization at the time. We are taking applications right now for our next cohort of our Focused Leader Academy. I already know the curriculum will need to be adjusted as I look at those who are applying and where we are as a school. 

Just like Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors to satisfy every individual taste, every day of the month. We must not resort to cookie cutter development for those we serve by jumping at anything that comes along as the next “silver-bullet” of leadership development. I would propose using Manning’s (2015) three ways of avoiding the flavor of the month syndrome when developing your leaders and putting all strategies in action:

  1. Create consensus during planning.
  2. Stay committed to identified strategies.
  3. Formalize decision making for new ideas. 

My challenge to you is to unleash the most initiative, imagination, and passion and the job of leaders is to expand the scope of human accomplishment in your organization. 


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