Friday, November 18, 2016

The Pickle Juice Analogy

A few years ago I was working with an affiliate whose name was Rob Statham (  Rob is a master at creating analogies.  My favorite of his is one about pickle juice.

He said something like:

People are like cucumbers who have been immersed in pickle juice.  No matter where a person lives, no matter what that person does, s/he is being influenced by the pickle juice.  It’s not their “fault,” in fact they have no choice.  It’s there and they are immersed in it.

It’s interesting what happens when something goes wrong.  We find the former cucumber, pull it out of the pickle juice, and then complain that the cucumber has turned into a pickle.  How dare you are a pickle!  We hired a cucumber.  You’re fired!

Most distressingly, what most companies do is look for a new cucumber to insert into that same pickle juice. 


The pickle juice is, of course, the culture – a way of life of a group of people – the attitudes, beliefs, values, and assumptions that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed on by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

When things go wrong, let’s focus more on the pickle juice and less on the cucumbers.