Perhaps one of the coolest mascots ever, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket, is a feisty little bee that looks to me the perfect mixture of cute and menacing. I was visiting the campus for an event unrelated to the school when I noticed a bookstore loaded with bee accessories. It was the perfect find for a father in need of ample booty to return home to little ones.
I rolled into the store and surveyed the horizon. Armed with a reasonable budget, I was blown away when I discovered the bumblebee mascot. Cups, little shirts, little hats, little socks, stuffed bumblebees. It was catnip. I stepped back and took a breath. I decided that I should call home and make sure my little girls would be as enamored with the bee as me.
I made the call. The first discussion went quickly: “No bee, Daddy, I want a stuffed cat or candy.” Okay, that works. For the second call I knew I had to work for it if that little bee was joining me on the plane.
“You want Daddy to bring you a yellow jacket?” Who could resist that leading statement? Of course she said yes. Our discussion continued with a complete description that included my confirmation that the yellow jacket had antennas and a stinger. I had this little guy all picked out; he was amazing – a little scary, I admit, but certainly something we could overcome. I had visions of her loving it so much, taking the bee to bed every night as her go-to animal and rewarding me with sweet kisses and an endless supply of “I love you’s.”
I arrived home anxious to give my gifts. The prized bee had traveled the entire trip by my side. I took out the bee and was greeted with screams. Her cries of sorrow and disappointment were not because of the bee’s menacing look. Instead, it was a mismatched expectation. You see, she was expecting a yellow jacket that she could wear, complete with antennas and a stinger, not a stuffed bumblebee.
It was just another reminder of how important clear communication is for people and businesses. It’s a reminder of how important it is never to make an assumption that who you are talking to will understand your jargon. It’s important to remember you have to be thorough. Well, it’s something I’ll remember every time I see that bee staring at me in his new home – my office.