Chocolates Kill Leadership

neuhaus

When the Q&A session is just as insightful and engaging as the rehearsed part of a speech, you know that the speaker is great. We had one such speaker yesterday in Class. It was the CEO of Neuhaus Chocolates (Jos Linkens). It was truly a great talk. But that is not what this post is about.

Before the advent of computers, the ruffles of the plastic cover were used to replicate fireworks sound in Hollywood movies. And it is for a good reason the plastic covers were used :) 

During the presentation yesterday, the CEO was kind enough to pass a cover (Plastic cover) filled with chocolates to the class… Each time a student dug into the cover to pick a chocolate, it was like fireworks going off! And then the cover would get passed on for the next student… It reached a point where the voice of speaker and the ruffles noise were competing for our attention. It was amazing to see how different students behaved… some didn’t care how much noise the cover made, they dug in as hard and deep as they could, others had an animated face as they tried to pick the chocolate without touching the walls of the cover which would make the noise (except that each and every student failed and failed miserably)…

I wished someone would show some leadership to hold the cover and not pass it on to the next person until the talk was over… None, absolutely none did… when one student tried to hold it… the person sitting next to him practically demanded his right to make the noise and grabbed the cover away from him… it was not just the students, we even had a couple of faculty members who found the chocolates way too irresistible :) It was a 90 minute interaction out of which the fireworks went on for nearly 20 minutes.

It might just be me who was overly distracted by the noise because the speaker himself was in his splendid flow of ideas and seemed least the bit distracted.

We have had our embarrassing moments during other presentations. But the other times, it was usually was an irrelevant or rhetorical question which we could blame on one person. As funny as it sounds, this was clearly the first time that, as a complete group, we let ourselves down… I wonder if it’s immaturity or just irresistible chocolates :)

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