Hi All,

Adam Gopnik is an American writer and essayist. He is best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker—to which he has contributed non-fiction, fiction, memoir and criticism since 1986. Gopnik says happiness lies in unexpected pleasures, like finding yoghurt is vanilla when you expect it to be plain.

He presented a BBC Radio 4 programme today called, ‘Point of View’ and talked about the results of some, evidently serious, research suggesting that happiness could be found in a pot of vanilla yoghurt!

In fact the truth is more that it’s the ‘surprise’ one gets when one sees a pot of what is thought to be plain yoghurt, but in fact turns out to be vanilla yoghurt, that produces happiness. Actually a major factor in the generation of ‘happiness’ is also attributed to the sugar content. What that says about our Government’s plans to tax sugar I leave to your contemplation.

As I listened I wondered how vanilla yoghurt and the challenge of leadership motivation might be connected. As you can imagine, I had time on my hands but it didn’t take too long to figure out the link.

Since it wasn’t really the yoghurt, but the ‘surprise’ discovery of the sweetened and flavoursome potted treat, this question arose in my mind…

How surprising are you?

When was the last time you ‘surprised’ a member of your team by displaying consciously given gratitude or appreciation for a job well done.  In that ‘surprise’ you’ll become the leadership version of ‘vanilla yoghurt’, possibly creating happiness and a generally good feeling amongst your people.

Who knows maybe vanilla-based dairy products might turn out to be missing motivational link in the chain!

Bon Appetite