In the movie Rhinestone, Dolly Parton (Jake Farris) takes on a challenge to turn Sylvester Stallone, (Nick Martinelli), into a country singer. Yup, it’s terrible.
To get Nick to fully embrace country, Jake takes him to her small home town in Tennessee. One night during dinner, Nick picks up some butter and as bad as this movie is, it delivers one of the best lines I’ve ever heard and it goes like this:
Dolly (Jake): “What are you doing now?”
Stallone (Nick): “I’m trying to get some butter.”
Jake: “You’re supposed to sop up gravy with your biscuit.”
Nick: “I don’t want to use my biscuit to sop up gravy. I got other plans for my biscuit and they involve butter.”
“I got other plans for my biscuit and they involve butter”!
Awesome! It gets me every time.
Nick left New York and went with Jake to Tennessee. It’s way out of his comfort zone, but he did that. He’s learning the jokes and demeanor, the twang, how to sing country, and making personal concessions along the way.
But there came a point when gravy just didn’t butter the biscuit. Sorry, that was too easy.
Bosses, managers, coaches, teachers, trainers, and parents when working with individuals, believe that they want to grow their business, or to get better, more efficient, stronger, faster, smarter, and so on. It seems natural, right? Of course they want that!
Not always true. From the coach’s position, we think we have to push them to break through that wall. But before we even move in that direction, we need to take a step back, have a conversation, and find out if they actually want to. Some are very comfortable in their current situation and way of doing things. They’re happy and all is good in their world.
Some will say they want it, but we can hear and feel a different story. In cases like these, we need to use more diplomatic candor and dig deeper to find the real answer and their “why” factor.
For those who do want it, let’s make it happen! But, even most of them will have a biscuit threshold and it’s not the end of the world. Once we know what it is, we can work with that. We can readjust our approach.
Back to that Rhinestone seen earlier: they end up arguing, Jake calls him a bum, and he leaves. Her father, having just observed the whole thing, quietly sits down at the table, when Jake says, “Damn bum; calling me a drag.”
Her dad says, “Imagine that. Pass the biscuits please.”
Jake: “You don’t think I’m a drag, do you?”
Dad: “Well …”
Jake: “Tell the truth.”
Dad: “Okay, but first pass the biscuits.”
To which Jake responded knowingly, “Never mind.”
She had something to prove and Nick was whom she needed to prove it through. He was up for it and along for the ride, but she pushed too far and from the wrong perspective. As a manager, teacher, or coach we see our job as needing to squeeze the most potential and results from someone. We make it about us, when it’s really about them.
Everyone is an individual and that goes for businesses as well, which means we all have our own approach to life, our goals, journey, and philosophy. Pushing without knowing their motivations, wants, needs, or what’s in their soul will quickly push them to throw their half-buttered biscuit on the table and leave.
Not everyone wants to use their biscuit to sop up gravy. They got other plans for their biscuit and they involve butter!
And that’s okay. We can work with that.