The missing ingredient: a lesson in communication from a baking mistake

It was a recipe I made at least every year (usually around the first of October in celebration of pumpkin season!) and every year the pumpkin muffins were consistently met with a hard-not-to-eat-the-whole-batch-in-one-sitting reaction. This year I was too confident as I tossed in the simple ingredients in record time. 25 minutes after mixing the flour, sugar, pumpkin, eggs, etc., together and indulging in the spice-infused aroma lofting from the kitchen, I pulled the muffin tins from the oven.

Huh? Something was wrong.  They didn’t rise. They looked dense.

Risking burning my mouth, I pulled a piece of a hot muffin to taste it.  I definitely burned my tongue and it definitely was missing something.

Ah! Baking soda!

I had the featured ingredient – pumpkin. I had the sweetener – sugar.  And I had the other items that were important. But I forgot the leavening agent.

I could still make it work – still eat ‘em (and my friends did) – but the muffins were heavier … not as appetizing.  Similar to creating strategic communication messages, without the leavening agent – whatever it is that makes the information easier to digest like an acknowledgement of concern or the how good news benefits those involved – the message doesn’t go down as well.

The recipe only called for 1 teaspoon and so we only need just a small pinch of a leavening agent in communication messages … just enough to make a difference.

Now I have three dozen muffins to eat.

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