Pickled vegetables are great.
Arguably, the greatest pickled vegetable is the gherkin. It is said, that they were once cucumbers, but who knows the origin story…and truthfully, who cares, they’re tasty and add an essential twang to a barbeque treat.
But what can these pickled delights teach us?
Unsurprisingly, not a great deal typically, but there’s one specific pickle, a pickle among pickles, that shows us the way…and that special pickle… is Pickle Rick.
Pickle Rick is no normal pickle. For a start, he’s not real, he’s a character anomaly from Rick and Morty (specifically, s3e3). He’s a faux-pickle, but that doesn’t take away from his greatness.
If you haven’t seen it, then you should (provided you aren’t offended by violent pickle action), the story starts with Rick trying to avoid a family therapy session.
Transformation Is Just The Start
In exactly the same way that most people don’t, Rick uses his masterful command of science to transform himself into a pickle and evade what he sees as an unnecessary family endeavour. He’s hoisted by his own petard somewhat when the antidote mechanism he devised is removed by the family and he’s left as a helpless pickle in the garage.
Boom! I’m a pickle — whaddya think about that?
Here’s where we start drawing out lessons. Some will be painful, some will be awkward and all will result in some degree of groaning — but it’s why we’re here, so let’s crack on…
Transformation is just the start. Quite often in business, or in life, the transformation itself is often seen as the goal. As Rick demonstrates, transformation, whether that be agile, digital, or pickle-ness is merely a means to an end — Now the work really starts…why did you transform? What do you plan to achieve? To start with, you may well be weaker, you need to double-down on that transformation to realise the benefit.
Think Big, Start Small, Learn Fast
Still with me? It only gets more contrived from here. You have been warned.
The story continues, it rains and Pickle Rick gets washed into a sewer, he’s in a bad spot (a bit of a pickle?). Without arms and legs, he’s just a cucumber with a face. He needs to act, and fast. He manages to kill a cockroach and manipulate its brain with his pickled tongue to stimulate its legs. This gives him motion, it’s rudimentary, but it works.
I hope my lack of fingers doesn’t alter the perception of my air quotes
Think big, start small, learn fast. You need a vision but getting there should be a series of small steps optimised for learning. Try things out, if they don’t work, fail as quickly and safely as you can and try again. The cockroach’s stimulated legs aren’t the end-game but they are a means of mobilisation which will help towards a better way of getting things done. OK but done is better than perfect but not.
Build On The Shoulders Of Giants
Pickle Rick uses his cockroach hack to assemble machinery that enables him to eliminate a sewer rat. He then uses pieces of the rat to fashion limbs and eventually weaponry, leading to more rat destruction and gherkin evolution. It concludes with him being able to defeat the biggest, baddest rat
To me you aren’t special, you’re special to rats, now they’re dead, guess it was me you should have impressed
Build on the shoulders of giants. Make use of what’s available and don’t start from scratch if you don’t have to. Pickle Rick is obviously a bit extreme in this respect, but he builds limbs and weapons from stuff that’s available in the sewer. Admittedly it’s pretty gross, but needs must. Similarly, there are lots of products and services in the real World that will help accelerate your progress.
Be Agile And Brave
Pickle Rick escapes from the sewer, only to find himself in a mafia safe-home…and they’re gherkin’ from home (groan). He adapts quickly, sets traps for unsuspecting guards and starts to take them out one by one. The criminals are constantly out-smarted by the “Pickle Man” and begin to fear total annihilation.
We have 34 armed guards and we can’t kill a pickle
Be agile and brave. No plan survives contact with the customer. Build agility into your ways of working and expect the unexpected. Being able to react quickly to demand will allow you to out-manoeuvre the competition. Don’t let the nay-sayers sway you from your vision, listen to the data and push on. When fear, uncertainty and doubt cause others to pause, build and build fast!
Be What You Need To Be
A desperate mafia release a prisoner, “Jaguar” with the promise they’ll reunite him with his daughter if he removes the pickle threat. Jaguar and Pickle Rick battle but eventually form an alliance, defeat the mafia and escape.
This can only end with one of us dead, and I have never died!
Be what you need to be. Sometimes the situation requires cunning traps and weaponry, sometimes it requires alliances with unexpected parties. Maintaining an open mind will allow you to flex, overcome challenges and achieve your goals.
Inspect And Adapt
Jaguar and Pickle Rick part ways then Rick makes it to family therapy. The conversation between Dr Wong and Pickle Rick is absolutely brilliant, a rare example of someone sparring with Rick and holding their own. There are some truths in there that can’t be ignored and it’s time for the family to reflect on their reality.
When I don’t like something about the World, I change it
Inspect and adapt. Look back on what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. Learn from that and make improvements to your behaviour for the future. Continuous improvement is where it’s at, evolving towards a better you and a better tomorrow…
THIS IS THE END…PHEW!
Well, we got here…I guess we all need some sort of reward for seeing it through. Maybe that could take the form of some pithy concluding points and takeaways (not the tasty kind that might come with a gherkin mind — just the “educational”-ish kind). I hope you found something that pickled your fancy in this lot…and if not, I hope it wasn’t too….jarring
- Transformation is just the start.
- Think big, start small, learn fast.
- Build on the shoulders of giants.
- Be agile and brave.
- Be what you need to be.
- Inspect and adapt.
…annnnd, we’re done, the only thing left to say is