Have you seen the new ad campaign from Nissan? You can find the videos on YouTube and a Facebook page is home base – check it out. What I like most about it is that it asks a very simple question and does it in a way that I think makes an excellent business point with which to start the week.
The campaign raises the question “What if everything ran on gasoline?” The absurdity of the things depicted in the videos (I like the gas-powered alarm clock myself) gets you thinking about your assumptions. This, as you know if you’re a regular here, is one of my favorite themes. Why do cars have to run on gasoline? Why do we do the things we do in business (or our own lives for that matter) as we’ve always done them?
This is going to be a brief post to start the week but that single question – why do we do things as we always have – is probably the most important one each of us can ask on a regular basis. Challenging assumptions has always been the catalyst to big advances – man can’t fly, there’s no cure for polio, etc. Hopefully that’s what we’re going to continue to do together in this space.
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Back to Friday and so back to food. When we go on the annual golf trip, my group likes to cook. There are plenty of restaurants in Myrtle Beach. The food they serve is another matter (with, of course, a couple of exceptions). So we cook; sometimes in the kitchen, sometimes out on a grill.
This year, we found ourselves in a situation where we had to share a large grill with another group. Actually, I don’t know that I’d call them a group – they were four young guys from Canada who had ventured south to play some golf. They’d purchased themselves some steaks and when we found them they were trying to figure out how to cook them. Clueless would have been an upgrade – they were totally lost. Naturally, we insisted on cooking them for them, excellent international hosts that we are (and no one wanted to see them starve) and in the process teach them how to do it for themselves the next time. Of course, there was a business point that came to mind as well. So how about a quick grilling discussion for the holiday weekend and maybe that point too?
The keys in my mind to grilling a great steak are preparation, the proper environment, lots of attention, and doing nothing. Yep, just like business and I’ll explain that. The preparation is to season the meat before you cook it. I generally will apply salt 15-30 minutes ahead and make sure the meat is at room temp before cooking. You need to set yourself up to succeed with the right environment. The environment I like is a two zone fire – one really hot area to sear and one area a bit less hot to do the grilling. Lots of attention is obvious – things happen quickly on a hot fire so you can’t walk away and have a beer unless you want to eat charcoal. But doing nothing is important too. You can’t keep flipping the meat or inserting a thermometer to see if it’s done. You need to trust your preparation and that you’ve provided a good environment. You must be attentive but balance that with giving things enough space for them to come together.
Doesn’t that sound like a pretty good management philosophy too? It sure does to me. Enjoy your holiday!