After a short break, Nick scrawled the words, ‘Five practices to defeat “Three Kingdoms” thinking’ across the whiteboard and underneath wrote ‘Think silos’ and ‘Think one team’.
‘Is everyone familiar with O’Donnell’s attempt to launch the green jelly bean last year?’
There were groans, nods and a few laughs all round.
Many years of consulting had taught Nick the art of quickly finding the best in-company examples of Three Kingdoms thinking and it didn’t take too many chats with team leaders and operations staff around the canteen and car park to pinpoint ‘Project Green Jelly Bean’ as the perfect culprit.
Just about everything that could go wrong had gone belly-up with the attempt to launch a fourth jelly-bean colour the previous year. The green jelly bean was described in the national newspaper (with some accuracy) as ‘tasting like cats’ urine’; however, this gave Charles — who enjoyed any chance to strut his stuff in the media — the chance to deny the claims on the Sunday business program. Unfortunately, he met his match in a smart young journalist who enquired how he actually knew what cats’ urine tasted like. Charles’s answer still appears occasionally in television bloopers highlights (and was briefly trending as a top-five hit on YouTube), but the green jelly bean was gone before breakfast the next day and recriminations followed quickly afterwards. ...