Who Moved My Pimento Cheese?

In my life, I have attended many receptions, church fellowships, and general ‘finger food’ types of gatherings. Over the years, I began to notice a strange occurrence – if there were pimento cheese sandwiches on the table at the start of the event, there were almost always pimento cheese sandwiches on the table at the end of the event. Perhaps I noticed this because I don’t particularly like pimento cheese. In fact, it nearly repulses me. I don’t think cheese is supposed to be that color.

This phenomenon created questions in my mind like, “If no one eats them, why does someone always bring them?” And, “Are there really people who like the stuff or is it that even the person who brings it doesn’t care for it?” Or, “Could it be that it is just a very inexpensive sandwich to make?”

I decided to write about and use as an illustration, these people who brought pimento cheese for everyone else but probably wouldn’t even eat it themselves. Because I’m a question-asker, I checked with a few of my colleagues in the office where I work to see if I could get some “Amens.” I asked, “Why are these sandwiches always left over at every event and why do people keep bringing them?” The response I received surprised me: “I love pimento cheese!”

“Well,” I thought to myself, “now I know who is bringing all those pimento cheese sandwiches to the parties!”

These co-workers of mine were a bit offended that I would dare question their beloved sandwich spread. They rallied together and one of them decided that now she was in the mood for a pimento cheese sandwich and went out to buy one for lunch! We laughed and joked about that for the next few days. And I learned a couple of lessons:

It is wise to look for common ground if you seek to communicate effectively.
If you want people to come together for a project or cause, help them find common ground.
When people find common ground on a cause, they will bind together and stand against any enemy attack on that cause.
Do not mess with people’s pimento cheese.

This is what we find in chapter 6 of Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, by John Maxwell. (Not the ‘pimento cheese’ thing, but the ‘connecting on common ground’ thing). The title of the chapter is, “Connectors Connect on Common Ground.” John quotes Jerry Ballard as saying, “All miscommunications are the result of differing assumptions.” That’s what I had. I went through the office looking for sympathy and agreement with my theory that no one likes pimento cheese. I assumed that I was right, only to find that everyone I spoke to was a pimento cheese lover. Had I not taken the time to look for common ground myself, I would not have discovered how wrong I was on my assumption.

I’m so thankful for the wisdom found in this particular chapter where John gives 8 choices we can make everyday to get and stay connected with people:

Availability – “I will choose to spend time with others.”
Listening – “I will listen my way to common ground.”
Questions – “I will be interested enough in other dr to ask questions.”
Thoughtfulness – “I will think of others and look for ways to thank them.”
Openness – “I will let people into my life.”
Likability – “I will care about people.”
Humility – “I will think of myself less so I can think of others more.”
Adaptability – “I will move from my world to theirs.”

Now those of us working together in my office have a ‘pimento cheese’ bond. If we’re having difficulty connecting, we just bring up those sandwiches and we find ourselves on common ground. So before you go messing with someone’s pimento cheese, choose to follow the guidelines above and you’ll not only communicate, you’ll connect as well.

About the Author

David Jochum imageDavid has enlisted, trained, and developed leaders in churches and small businesses for over 25 years.

He is a Founding Partner of the John Maxwell Team and enjoys coaching and training leaders to increase their leadership capacity.

Contact David at : www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/davejochum