24 The Pomegranate Imperative

Ok, are we over the snow yet? Had enough of winter wonderland? Over the big freeze that made the UK weather satellite picture look like one of them classy white fireside rugs you can buy at B&Q to pretend you’re cuddling a polar bear while guzzling down the entire Quality Street hamper and having your toes tickled by Lorraine Kelly, so it is?

Welcome back to this blog. Or, possibly, welcome back to work, if you’ve just made it in from Reading for the first time since a week past Tuesday.

For a nation so besotted by Dickensian workhouses blanketed in snow and black-draped in wizened widows (the obvious modern version is ITV’s Dancing on Ice, where celebrity ice hags sob into their tutus between commercials), it’s surprising that Britain just doesn’t have a clue how to do winter with any self-respect.

The Swiss invented skis. The Swedes invented Saabs. We invent excuses for not getting to work.

Come on, take the holiday, mate.
Ah, how lovely to know you’re back again, vox of the populi, not lost forever in a snowdrift. My point, and you may share it, is that for every individual in Yorkshire strapping on a couple of old wooden tennis rackets from the loft as snowshoes, there were a hundred people two doors away looking to file a chilblains suit.

Chilblains, what’s that then?
Sore toes. Previously a natural consequence of seasonally chilly weather. But now, officially, a rare condition of social deprivation brought on by your local council not providing you with free cashmere socks twice a week.

And where were you when others were choking on snow?
Sitting in the whiteout blizzard, car heater dispensing warm anaesthesia, when my reverie drifted back to winters past. To the days when people didn’t shrink and shrivel at a flurry of snow. Need to drive to Penrith via Antarctica in 1963? No problem, ma! Just bang on another reindeer pully, stick a shovel out the back windae and away we go! These days we’re worried that Waitrose might run out of pomegranate juice.

Carbound and foodless, snow plastering the windscreen, my thoughts turned to Delia Smith, stranded in her comeback career. Poor anaemic Delia. Being surgically devoid of personality, she is several TV museum rooms away from those modern pop-up tarts of the kitchen whose fame resides not in their stove skills but in the way they dish their offer up. We don’t watch Jamie or Gordon or Nigella for recipes. We watch them to hear how they talk, see how they behave.

And how this relates to business is…

In any decent business, you’ll find the people at the top have vibrant personalities. They express them as an act of leadership. It’s risk-taking and inventiveness that shows you possess a pulse and captivates the audiences who are your employees and your clients.

We have one life. As Keith Floyd demonstrated lately.

In every marketplace, it’s personality that wins. If the content’s good on every stall, it’s your style that seals the sale.

Pomegranates may seem a bit twanky, but just try scooping those extraordinary little red jewels into the cornflakes of a shivering morning. It could be your first step of the New Year on the ladder of success.

Nielsen Dinwoodie
business messages people remember

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