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When you’re resisting change, embrace pie

Feb 16, 2023
Cherry pie with slice about to be served

I’m an avid baker. In fact, beyond all my professional accomplishments as a leadership coach, my favorite line in my bio reads: “She makes a mean apple pie.” I’d consider my life a success if that sentiment appeared on my tombstone.

I started baking as a teenager, inspired by my “Nana” and Aunt Mame and my love of pie. I bake apple pies, cherry pies, coconut cream pies, peach pies, blueberry pies—and even the occasional vegetable quiche.

I love to get my hands in the dough, roll it out, pat it, scallop the edges, fill it with delicious ingredients, and make each pie look and taste beautiful. And now, I have the added pleasure of sharing this craft of love with my grandkids—nothing could be better!

A few years ago, I began hearing about “pie stones” and how important it was to put them (or dried beans) in an unbaked pie shell and bake the shell first. Why’s that? Well, the thinking is that the weight of the stones keeps the shell from shrinking while helping it bake more evenly.

“How silly,” I first thought. I’ve been baking for years without them. I don’t need any fancy new stones now.

But something stuck with me. The theory of the stones made sense. And if I was being honest with myself, my pie crusts didn’t always bake as evenly as I would like.

And that was when the leadership coach in me questioned why I was resistant to change.

Why didn’t I want to try a new way of doing something in an activity I so thoroughly enjoyed? Why couldn’t I embrace this “pie innovation,” especially if it meant I could make something even better?

I imagine you’ve felt that way, too—maybe not over pie, but the reluctance that comes with trying something different. I told myself that I didn’t need to change my ways or invest in the time or the expense.

And yet, once the idea of “pie stones” was planted in my head and I acknowledged I had been doing something without as much success as I wanted, it opened the possibility of trying something new.

So, I asked for “pie stones” this past Christmas and already am a convert. At first chance, I made a crust for a quiche and poured the stones into the pie shell. I noticed the weight and how they held everything in place. When I pulled it out of the oven, the crust came out perfectly—and so pretty!

This experience with “pie stones” made me reflect upon resistance to innovation.

It’s a challenge I talk about with many of my leadership coaching clients: Someone may suggest an idea or a new way of doing things, and perhaps your initial reaction is to rebuff it. Why do something different when what you have been doing for so long is just fine?

That’s growth, my friend. We always are being pulled forward to learn, to try, and to experience.

Being open to innovation is an essential part of what I call “Gourmet Leadership”—combing the tried and true that we’ve cultivated over many years with the new, the creative, or the different. Each of us can be “gourmet leaders” when we focus on what makes us truly excellent—and embracing change or innovation is certainly one of those essential traits.

The best part: Once you’ve done it, the result (more often than not) is as delicious as a piping hot apple pie.


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