Chocolate Chunk Yogurt is my all-time favorite dessert. I even eat it in January. I sing its praises to anyone who will listen. I drag my friends to Hartigan's Ice Cream in Evanston, IL just so they can have a taste. Together we indulge over scoops of Chocolate Chunk Yogurt. Some might call it bonding over chocolate.
What’s not to like? Imagine licking a sumptuous-tasting cone full of chocolate yogurt and suddenly finding yourself reveling in melt-in-your-mouth chunks of dark chocolate. If there is heaven on earth, this is it.
So there we (my wife Emily and I) are on a Friday night having convinced our long-time friends Tobi and Mike to partake in this splendid dessert at Hartigan's. We stroll up to the counter scanning the vast array of ice cream tubs looking for Chocolate Chunk Yogurt. But it is not there. No worries, I say to myself, sometimes they rearrange the freezer. We walk the length of the freezer looking for my precious chocolate chunk yogurt. It’s not there. It is gone forever. Cedar Crest Ice Cream, chocolate chunk's creator, just stopped making it. Hartigan’s owner’s pleas to bring back Chocolate Chunk Yogurt fall upon deaf ears. No more Chocolate Chunk Yogurt says Cedar Crest. You’ll love our Chocolate Fudge Yogurt.
Now if I had never tasted Chocolate Chunk Yogurt, Chocolate Fudge Yogurt would be fine. But once having tasted Chocolate Chunk, nothing else will do.
To satisfy their customers’ cravings for Chocolate Chunk Yogurt, the folks at Hartigan's come up with an ingenious idea. They purchased dark chocolate chunks and chocolate chips and hand mixed them into the yogurt. If I can’t have Chocolate Chunk Yogurt, this is a reasonable substitute. But, as good as it is, it’s not the same.
Who was the marketing genius who decided to substitute chocolate fudge for chocolate chunk? Perhaps they are the same folks who came up with New Coke?
When not eating Chocolate Chunk Yogurt, I consult to organizations on organizational change. Ruminating about my reaction to the loss of my beloved Chocolate Chunk Yogurt--which in the grand scheme of things was a relatively minor loss, of course--I realized there are some organizational change lessons in this tale. They are:
- All change involves loss. We like certainty in our lives. We expect the Chocolate Chunk Yogurt we’ve enjoyed for years to be there when we want it.
- People don’t resist change as much as they resist having change thrust upon them. We don’t like having something beloved and familiar taken away from us. When it does, we try to find ways to get the familiar back. We put our own chocolate chunks in Chocolate Fudge Yogurt to create Chocolate Chunk Fudge Yogurt.
- When it comes to change, people want to know that their voice counts. As we sat there eating our Chocolate Chunk Fudge Yogurt, we began to conspire about how we could get back at the evil empire (the manufacturer) that had taken our precious Chocolate Chunk Yogurt from us.
Next time you seek to bring about organizational change, remember these change lessons from Chocolate Chunk Yogurt. You’ll be glad you did.