Penny Hunt's blog coffee conversationsDo you ever get the feeling that you are being watched, in a Truman Show sort of way?

The café lady and I had been chatting about raw food.

(I yield to no one in my ability to listen intently while scooping, methodically, every last powdery grain of icing sugar from a plate.)

The addiction to sugar on Penny Hunt's change chemistry blogAt that very moment an email pinged into the inbox – rather brusquely I thought – with a huge headline about sugar addiction.

(And no, it’s not a great look, reading all about how serious this is while some white sweetness floats from one’s chin.)

The article noted that the tongue map that is so familiar to us, with a small update for umami (a fifth taste), had remained more or less unquestioned for decades of the twentieth century. Had experiments conducted in 1901 by a German graduate student not been misinterpreted, then the ease with which the entire area of the tongue embraces the taste of sugar might have been more widely known. But since the 70s, the sheer level of this addiction to sugar, the intensity of the craving, has been oh so perfectly well understood – by food manufacturers.

Sugar junkies, all of us. Hopeless. Apparently the craving is of a biochemical nature that overrides all other ‘biological brake’ signals to …. stop.

So we think we know what we are doing, and that we are making decisions, but in reality an addiction has bypassed all available ‘control methods’.

And a train of thought pulled gently out of the station…

I had just finished a series of interviews in a medium sized company, and heard a word used quite automatically, and frequently. The word was ‘Change’.

I too love the word.

My consultancy is called ‘Change Chemistry’. The name came from a distinction between change that is reversible (physical change) and change that is real / permanent (chemical change). And my approach uses the idea of the change paradox– we cannot ‘decide to change’, we can only become super-aware of where we are so that change can emerge.

Check out a few current business articles and you will see how often the word ‘change’ is used – often alongside the word ‘disruption’.

Might the business world be addicted to the idea of ‘change’?

I think some companies and cultures are more entrenched than they realise: just too big to change in a season or two. Change is unrealistic. It would be far more worthwhile / profitable / sustainable and less painful for these companies to start little offshoots of difference and see where that goes and what it produces.

And in a glorious irony – or indeed homage to – the raw food conversation that was so rudely interrupted by the news of hopeless sugar addiction, I recall the raw foodies advice….

Don’t try to change your diet and cut things out. ADD the wholesome new thing, and let nature take its course.
So, business leadership teams – face your addiction to ‘change’, overcome your cravings. Encourage instead new wholesome off-shoots to spring up alongside your main business and effect the shifts you want to see: naturally.

The zones of the tongue on Penny Hunt's change chemistry blogThe myth of the tongue map;
that 1 tastes bitter, 2 tastes sour,
3 tastes salt, and 4 tastes sweet.

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