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Green Eggs and Ham are…

Green Eggs And HamLast night I read Green Eggs and Ham to my Son.  Because nothing is sacred in my world of blogging and project management, I drew a parallel between Sam and myself.

If you don’t know the story, Sam offers Green Eggs and Ham to an unnamed character.  This character adamantly states he does not like them.

Sam looks for different opportunities and scenarios where the character may enjoy the green eggs and ham.  Every time, he’s dismissed.  I will not eat them here or there.  I will not eat them anywhere!

Still, Sam persists.

You do not like them.  So you say.  Try them!  Try them!  And you may.  Try them and you may, I say.

The character finally laments and tries the green eggs and ham.  Guess what?  He likes them.  He likes them a lot!  All of a sudden, he realized all of the scenarios Sam recommended really are perfect opportunities to enjoy green eggs and ham.

So, what are green eggs and ham?  I think they are ideas and opportunities. Yes, the same ones your colleagues had that got shot down.  The same ones you had but were also dismissed.  It’s Agile, Scrum, Kanban, or some other approach the customer has never tried before, therefore, they don’t even want to try it.

Next time someone has an idea or opportunity, try it!  Try it!
And you may.  Deliver value in that way.

Image courtesy of themouseforless

If you liked this post, check out Compassion is the “Killer App” over at the Guerrilla Project Management website.

I also recommend reading Chug, Chug, Vroom, and Expectancy Theory, a blog post by Todd Williams, who explains its applicability in The Little Engine That Could.

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of ALM Platforms at LeadingAgile. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon). Novice angel investor.

23 Responses to “Green Eggs and Ham are…”

  1. March 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Derek,

    This is a wonderful take on Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham.

    This reminds me of the classic challenges we project managers run into when some of our customers or users love the solution our project is delivering but some absolutely hate it. It puts us in a very tough position, especially when those who hate the solution are very vocal and never miss an opportunity to voice their strong feelings. This can sometimes impact the morale of the whole project team.

    Then you fast forward a year later after the go live and the project is completed and you run into these same people and you hear from them that the solution is working for them and that everything is fine. You wonder what happened and where is the anger.

    Now, they will never admit they like or, god forbid, they love it. Now try to take that same solution away from them or try to replace with another solution and see their reaction. They will threaten you life.

    This just reminds us as project managers to expect resistance to change and have the capacity to cope with the conflict that results from some customers fighting change and fighting us to the end. When we are prepared for this, then conflict becomes a normal aspect of our projects. We develop a healthy relationship with conflict.

    Too many times we get so excited about the solution we are delivering that our feelings can get easily hurt when others don’t share our excitement. It is not easy when someone tells you “your baby is ugly”.

    But we have to have the compassion for those who are not ready for change and don’t share the same excitement about our solutions.

    I think compassion is the Project Manager’s “Killer App”. It gives us the capacity to be patient with those who we have not walked in their shoes. And when they attack us personally, compassion will remind us that it is not us they are attacking. It is what we represent. And what we represent is change that can be scary to some. And some, that fear is real and can be as real as mortgage payments, children’s college tuitions, and health insurance.
    .-= Samad Aidane´s last blog ..Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com =-.

    • Derek Huether
      March 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

      Wow!
      Samad, I think your response was longer than my actual post. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to both read my post and then to also write such an awesome response. It’s interesting your last post was about Geoff Crane. Part of this post was inspired by Geoff and his Hateful Cycle of Apathy post. Any time someone offers up an idea or an opportunity, I try to lend them support. Any time I can inspire someone to just try it, I will.

      Best Regards,
      Derek

  2. March 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Derek,

    This is a wonderful take on Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham.

    This reminds me of the classic challenges we project managers run into when some of our customers or users love the solution our project is delivering but some absolutely hate it. It puts us in a very tough position, especially when those who hate the solution are very vocal and never miss an opportunity to voice their strong feelings. This can sometimes impact the morale of the whole project team.

    Then you fast forward a year later after the go live and the project is completed and you run into these same people and you hear from them that the solution is working for them and that everything is fine. You wonder what happened and where is the anger.

    Now, they will never admit they like or, god forbid, they love it. Now try to take that same solution away from them or try to replace with another solution and see their reaction. They will threaten you life.

    This just reminds us as project managers to expect resistance to change and have the capacity to cope with the conflict that results from some customers fighting change and fighting us to the end. When we are prepared for this, then conflict becomes a normal aspect of our projects. We develop a healthy relationship with conflict.

    Too many times we get so excited about the solution we are delivering that our feelings can get easily hurt when others don’t share our excitement. It is not easy when someone tells you “your baby is ugly”.

    But we have to have the compassion for those who are not ready for change and don’t share the same excitement about our solutions.

    I think compassion is the Project Manager’s “Killer App”. It gives us the capacity to be patient with those who we have not walked in their shoes. And when they attack us personally, compassion will remind us that it is not us they are attacking. It is what we represent. And what we represent is change that can be scary to some. And some, that fear is real and can be as real as mortgage payments, children’s college tuitions, and health insurance.
    .-= Samad Aidane´s last blog ..Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com =-.

    • Derek Huether
      March 12, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Wow!
      Samad, I think your response was longer than my actual post. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to both read my post and then to also write such an awesome response. It’s interesting your last post was about Geoff Crane. Part of this post was inspired by Geoff and his Hateful Cycle of Apathy post. Any time someone offers up an idea or an opportunity, I try to lend them support. Any time I can inspire someone to just try it, I will.

      Best Regards,
      Derek

  3. March 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I must contend new things are scary
    They’re new and creepy which makes us wary

    But when we shun them without a thought
    All that’s left is to crawl under our rock

    And feed on the cast-offs of passers-by
    They’re all we have since we’ll never fly

    Sorry I couldn’t do trochaic tetrameter at 7:00 in the morning on a Saturday. ROFL

    Hugs to you and Samad! 🙂
    .-= Geoff Crane´s last blog ..Deconstructing Lady Gaga’s / Beyonce’s “Telephone” =-.

  4. March 13, 2010 at 5:30 am

    I must contend new things are scary
    They’re new and creepy which makes us wary

    But when we shun them without a thought
    All that’s left is to crawl under our rock

    And feed on the cast-offs of passers-by
    They’re all we have since we’ll never fly

    Sorry I couldn’t do trochaic tetrameter at 7:00 in the morning on a Saturday. ROFL

    Hugs to you and Samad! 🙂
    .-= Geoff Crane´s last blog ..Deconstructing Lady Gaga’s / Beyonce’s “Telephone” =-.

  5. March 18, 2010 at 10:59 am

    This post made me think a fair bit after I read it. After Samad’s comments, I picked this discussion up over at Bas de Baar’s blog, Project Shrink! http://bit.ly/av1R78
    .-= Geoff Crane´s last blog ..Vote for Papercut! (or not-that’s ok too) =-.

    • Derek Huether
      March 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

      Geoff, thank you so much for including me. I’m honored to be part of a Bas de Baar (Project Shrink) blog post!

  6. March 18, 2010 at 3:59 am

    This post made me think a fair bit after I read it. After Samad’s comments, I picked this discussion up over at Bas de Baar’s blog, Project Shrink! http://bit.ly/av1R78
    .-= Geoff Crane´s last blog ..Vote for Papercut! (or not-that’s ok too) =-.

    • Derek Huether
      March 18, 2010 at 4:52 am

      Geoff, thank you so much for including me. I’m honored to be part of a Bas de Baar (Project Shrink) blog post!

  7. March 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    This post is incredible. There are many times when reading and writing about project management can get a bit on the dull side, but everyone knows Dr. Seuss and who doesn’t love Green Eggs and Ham? The parallel is also great, and quite true – sometimes management needs to open up to new ideas, and keeping this in mind, the new ideas may actually turn out great. Thanks!

    • Derek Huether
      March 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm

      Dana, I really appreciate the feedback! Dr. Seuss was a genius. As a parent, I now pick up his books and read something completely different then I did so long ago. The messages didn’t change; we did.

  8. March 18, 2010 at 7:49 am

    This post is incredible. There are many times when reading and writing about project management can get a bit on the dull side, but everyone knows Dr. Seuss and who doesn’t love Green Eggs and Ham? The parallel is also great, and quite true – sometimes management needs to open up to new ideas, and keeping this in mind, the new ideas may actually turn out great. Thanks!

    • Derek Huether
      March 18, 2010 at 8:02 am

      Dana, I really appreciate the feedback! Dr. Seuss was a genius. As a parent, I now pick up his books and read something completely different then I did so long ago. The messages didn’t change; we did.

  9. March 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Wow, man.
    I haven’t heard that one since… Well. 🙂

    Great analogy, which makes this post very entertaining and informative. We creatures of habit are always belly-aching about not wanting to do something different. Always wanting to stay in that comfort zone.

    I enjoyed the read.
    .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..How Not To Build Your Brand =-.

  10. March 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Wow, man.
    I haven’t heard that one since… Well. 🙂

    Great analogy, which makes this post very entertaining and informative. We creatures of habit are always belly-aching about not wanting to do something different. Always wanting to stay in that comfort zone.

    I enjoyed the read.
    .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..How Not To Build Your Brand =-.

  11. Ed Sullivan
    April 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I have read that book many times myself, and now with my 3 kids. There is another lesson that I often emphasize in the story.

    In the very beginning the unnamed main character states “I do not Like that Sam I am”

    The assessment that he does not like this person is what blinds him to the potential of this new experience. Among other lessons the story demonstrates that our judgement of others can blind us to opportunity and (when we are Sam) it shows us how hard it is to connect with or convince someone who has made up their mind on an emotional level. How little importance does the data (taste) and lack of knowledge/experience about green eggs and ham in different settins have when we’ve closed our minds? If not for the beyond silly effort by Sam he clearly would have missed out on something that he actually loves.

    One last thing — in the end he thanks Sam for his persistence! So much to learn from a childrens book with only 50 different words!

  12. Ed Sullivan
    April 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I have read that book many times myself, and now with my 3 kids. There is another lesson that I often emphasize in the story.

    In the very beginning the unnamed main character states “I do not Like that Sam I am”

    The assessment that he does not like this person is what blinds him to the potential of this new experience. Among other lessons the story demonstrates that our judgement of others can blind us to opportunity and (when we are Sam) it shows us how hard it is to connect with or convince someone who has made up their mind on an emotional level. How little importance does the data (taste) and lack of knowledge/experience about green eggs and ham in different settins have when we’ve closed our minds? If not for the beyond silly effort by Sam he clearly would have missed out on something that he actually loves.

    One last thing — in the end he thanks Sam for his persistence! So much to learn from a childrens book with only 50 different words!

  13. Derek Huether
    April 15, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Ed,
    We all seem to know at least one unnamed character. The nay-say’ers are all too willing to shut you down, before you even start.

    Great insight!

  14. Derek Huether
    April 15, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Ed,
    We all seem to know at least one unnamed character. The nay-say’ers are all too willing to shut you down, before you even start.

    Great insight!

  15. Kiera Williams
    November 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you for this post and the comments are amazing as well! I was just talking with my boyfriend about how I always read Dr. Seuss books when I was younger, and how he himself had a teacher who dared the number and actually fixed green eggs and ham for her class. My boyfriend did not eat his green eggs and ham lol. I sought out to google possible images of this out of curiosity and i found your post. I’m currently a new business owner and i have to say that the comfort zone quicksand is no joke! It’s like the more i am exposed to new things that seem do-able i end up going back to my old habits. I guess in my case it wouldn’t be enough to eat the green eggs and ham just one time, but just like the story, I would have to eat it everywhere and all the time. The moral being if you don’t change what you do how will you grow, but also if you don’t change your surrounds how will you ever see different perspectives? All of it stems from getting out of your comfort zone. Who knows, maybe you will get use to the green eggs and ham and find another odd color or food choice to challenge yourself with, all in the name of self development!

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