I come by this naturally, as my Dad used to famously say, “I only like two kinds of pie; hot and cold.” While I can’t quite say that, there is little doubt how much I love pie. And I’ve had lots of it too – as a kid growing up we had fresh pie nearly every day all summer. I learned why many years later when my mom admitted, “I learned that if there was pie, you all wouldn’t notice if we were having sandwiches again.”
She was right.
So why am I talking about pie?
Because today is Pi Day (3/14/16 and pi is 3.1416), and I was challenged to connect two of my favorite topics – pie and leadership.
And I think you will see as you read what follows, the connection is actually pretty powerful.
Great pie requires great ingredients. This almost goes without saying. The freshest, best-tasting ingredients will make the best pie. And to be an effective leader requires the right inputs. If we want to lead successfully, we must be reading, thinking and learning about leadership to become the leader we want to be and that our team deserves.
The crust matters. My mom makes the world’s flakiest, best pie crust (and thankfully, my mother-in-law’s is a close second) A pie connoisseur will tell you – the crust is key to a great pie. Yes, no pie can be great without a great filling, but even so, the crust matters. As a leader, your external personality and style will make a difference. To be an effective leader, we must ultimately be approachable, open and willing to interact with those we are leading.
Pie is best when shared. While I could (and have, over a day or so) eaten a whole pie, part of the value and pleasure comes in sharing and enjoying it with others. As leaders, we lead not just one person, but a team or an organization. We must be willing to share ourselves: our perspectives, our time, our encouragement and more.
Pie comes in different flavors. Apple, raspberry, peach. Cream, pumpkin, butterscotch. Chocolate, strawberry, rhubarb. There are many different flavors of pies – and they can all be delicious. Similarly, there is more than one way to lead. There isn’t just one leadership style or approach that encourages people to follow you. Let your style and personality show through as you build your leadership skills.
Pie is best warm. Like my dad said, pie is good hot or cold. But it is better warm from the oven (or reheated in the microwave). And everything else being equal, people want to follow people they know, like and trust; which means we must be willing to open up, be human, be real and be warm. You don’t have to be sappy or effusive (styles again, remember?) But warmth with those around us allows us to lead more effectively.
Pie is something that we need. Don’t think you need pie? Speak for yourself! Maybe you aren’t as over-the-top about it as I am, but most people would at least like more pie. The same with leadership. We need leaders and leadership in order to reach our goals and make the difference in the world that we want to make. Regardless of your personal feeling about pie, you do need leaders.
There is seldom enough pie. There have been a few times in my life when there was more than enough pie in my house – but those times are rare. And while you might think of a time when there were almost too many leaders in a situation, that is a rarity too. Good pie is in short supply, and so is good leadership.
I hope you got at least one morsel to enjoy in reading this celebration of pie. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry.