Delivery Leadership MSP

The Flavor of Change Management: Kimberly Russell on Wine Tasting and Delivery Leadership

Kimberly Russell

Albariño is a type of grape that grows on the west coast of Spain and Portugal — where sunny days transition to chilly nights with dense ocean fog, keeping the grapes warm during the day and cool at night. These diurnal shifts (temperature variations) create a lot of citrus flavors and acidity, which are preserved by aging the grapes in steel rather than wood oak. Plus, the open air in the region is thick with salt, which embeds itself into the grape’s flavor, giving it a slight smell and taste of the sea.

On a summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of that wonderful white wine. You chill it, and those sharp citrus flavors go perfectly with the sunshine.

At least, that’s what Kimberly Russell says, and she would know, because she has a first-level wine certification from the Guild of Sommeliers.

After taking the test 2½ years ago with her significant other, Chuck, the two are looking at their next challenge: the WSET Level 3, or the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. With this certification, they must demonstrate an ability to taste wine and pick out the flavor characteristics: blindly tasting a glass and — based on the way it looks, smells and tastes — identifying where it came from and about what year it was produced. While their studies are slowed as Chuck finishes his PhD in Hospitality Management, they make time to try new wines, blind taste at home and write their wine blog, “Wines You Didn’t Know Existed”(closely followed by their moms.)

And what is it that makes Kimberly so interested in wine? Well, actually, it’s the exact same aspects that make her love her delivery leadership engagement at Daugherty Business Solutions around change management.

“I love to learn and explore,” she said. “I like to know a certain amount about a lot of things.”

This includes new cultures, foods and lifestyles. She’s fascinated by the way geography and ecology influence all three: The composition of land affects what people can grow, and thus shapes their way of living. Wine is like the connective tissue between all of these things.

Wine has a rich history, more than 10,000 types of grapes to choose from, and a shapeshifting artistry depending on the region, food and climate. And of course, the taste.

Change management, likewise, is like the connective tissue at an organization. New technology gets introduced to accelerate the organization and ensure competitive advantage; change management unpacks the profound impacts it will have. Then it strategizes a way to adapt processes under the old paradigm and bring people along to the new one.

It begins with looking at the office terrain, the company culture, how the people work, why they work that way, and how they are connected to each other — a process Kimberly is hooked on. She likes helping people imagine what can be and supporting them on their journey to get there.

“There’s nothing more wonderful than when you are a part of helping someone do their job better,” she said.

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