Cookies, Conversations Worth Having and Poetry at Work Day!

Jan 11, 2024
An unknown set of hands breaking a chocolate chip cookie in two representing how what we focus on becomes our beliefs.

In celebration of National Poetry at Work Day, we're sharing a delicious poem that highlights a valuable Conversations Worth Having principle. We hope you'll enjoy the poem as much as we did! Please read on and discover the parallel (or scroll to the "Try It!" section at the bottom if you're short on time). 

"The Cookie Thief" by Valerie Cox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. . .grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

The Parallel Between "The Cookie Thief" and Conversations Worth Having

What we love most about this poem is that it demonstrates an underlying principle of Conversations Worth Having -- the Poetic principle (how serendipitous)!

Rooted in Appreciative Inquiry, the Poetic principle reminds us that our focus of attention can influence our beliefs and the stories we make up about people and situations -- just as the woman in the poem could only see how often the gentleman was eating "her" cookies! 

Understanding this highlights the imperative for people in business to talk about and pay attention to what's working, what's best, and what's possible at work. These are the products, services, projects, practices, and processes to replicate or scale. 

Try It!

To locate useful resources and strengths that already exist in your organization, start an appreciative strategic conversation that inquires about its successes rather than its problems.

Try these generative questions to start the conversation while promoting positivity at work:

  • What do our customers love most about us? (It helps to take notice of when people genuinely say "thank you," and make note of the specifics.)
  • Ask yourself and others, "What are we/you most proud of as an organization?"
  • What high-quality moments have we created in our organization and what allowed it to take place? (It's ok to include high-quality moments from the past or previous organizations. Baked in the story are ideas and strengths that can be applied to the present day.) 

Learn how to shift the tone and direction of the conversations in your organization with our Strategic Conversation Bootcamp. It's practical knowledge and an effective way to put emotional intelligence into practice.


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