The Peppermint Mocha

“What’s the peppermint mocha?” I recently asked a beloved client. He was describing workplace conflict and hostility.

He looked at me blankly.

So I told him a story. “I was at my kid’s Frisbee game,” I explained. “It was cold. Raining. Early.” The coach came over and asked me how I feel about peppermint mochas.

I told the coach I feel pretty good about coffee in general. The coach wandered back to the pre-game warm up.

I bought the coach a peppermint mocha, with extra chocolate. I did it because I’m nice, more or less, and I genuinely care about the coach.

And I did it because it is strategic: It is good business practice for the coach to be happy.

“So where’s the peppermint mocha in the internecine mess you just described — what small thing can you give them?” I asked my client.

“I don’t care about your ego, or that you’ve got your back up, or that you’re right, or that this is unfair,” I said. “The goal is to soothe this conflict that is threatening your career.”

“What is the peppermint mocha here?”