A couple of Foodie Fridays ago, I wrote about a Cooking LIght piece that discussed some of the more common mistakes we amateur cooks make. Since it’s Friday again (funny how that happens every week or so), I thought I’d present a few more lessons from the kitchen and remind us how what goes on in the kitchen is a lot like what goes on in business.
Today’s first mistake comes from the world of baking. Unlike cooking, baking is very precise, mostly because it’s chemistry. The problems come when untrained bakers begin to make substitutions in a baked good. You know – something sounds too fattening (I hear that’s possible) so you change the butter to oil or applesauce. Maybe you use a sugar substitute instead of some or all of the sugar. That’s a noble idea but it disrupts the basic chemistry of the cake and it often comes out badly. Business is a lot like that. Some supervisors think that all their workers are interchangeable and ignore the basic chemistry of a good team. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking often results in a less than optimal result.
Error number two is not understanding the difference between boiling and simmering. Boiling something happens at a much higher heat than does simmering it gently. While boiling rather than simmering can cook a dish more rapidly, the result is rarely edible. Boiling a stew instead of simmering it can result in tough meat, for example. In business, the equivalent error is yelling and screaming at someone – turning the heat way up – instead of applying a gentle heat that might take a bit longer to work but yields better results.
Finally, many home cooks don’t use thermometers to check the temperature of meat. They rely on timing as stated in a recipe or some calculation like 6 minutes per pound instead of checking to see if the meat has come to a proper temperature. This can result in a product that’s over- or under-cooked. I know of people who don’t rely in measuring devices such as analytics to run their businesses and that’s the equivalent mistake. There’s no way to tell how a business is doing – digital or otherwise – without using impartial measurements of some sort. Just as a beautifully browned roast may not be cooked, a business that looks nice on the outside may not be fit for consumption once you dig in.
Enjoy the weekend!