It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans. ~Mark Twain
I have been very busy this past week with a coaching assignment for a CEO. I am always excited to meet a new CEO who is interested in improving their communication and leadership skills. And this CEO, a woman who took over the family business, is fiercely committed to learning and growing in order to help grow the business and provide for her employees. As a woman in the largely male dominated engineering sector, she is keen to bring her clients a professional service that will create lasting customer loyalty.
So, besides this being an interesting assignment, it is also in an interesting part of the world, New Orleans. The jazz city! The Mardi Gras city! A city with colorful history and stunning architecture. The Hurricane Katrina city! And the city where over the past 50 years many of its politicians have wound up in prison for fraud and other crimes! They even have a highway named “Chef Menteur” which in French loosely translates to Great Liar!
Legend has it that the Choctaw Indians in the region were great lovers of the truth. One of their chiefs who had a reputation for lying was banished, along with his family and a few devoted followers, to a tract of land near the bayou in the east. So the tract of land has the name Chef Menteur, or “Lying Chief.”
Who couldn’t fall in love with a place like this?
If no tourists came, we’d still have Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a state of mind.~ Ed Muniz
But back to Old Wine in New Bottles. Many might think that putting old wine in new bottles is a way to fool an unsuspecting buyer into purchasing bad wine at high prices. And that is one explanation.
But for me, the “old wine” represents the basic and fundamental wisdom or principles, the “old truths” that sometimes need to be dressed up a bit so they can be more easily understood in today’s world. That’s basically what the coaching for the past two days has been about. Nothing new, just the few basic principles of effective communication and leadership, but dressed up with new analogies, stories, examples, and even jokes. Whatever it takes to help this CEO understand at a deeper level the basic principles.
So, our formal coaching is finished (a couple of follow-up telephone discussions to be held every other week) and I am on to cold, snowy Michigan for a Quarterly Business Review session with another client. But I am leaving with this old and quirky city having made a deep impression upon me. Hopefully our coaching work had an equally deep impression on the CEO.
In the classic words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator: “I’ll be back!”
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress