This is the time of year when many families host some sort of holiday gathering.
It might be a Passover seder or it could be an Easter Sunday gathering. Our Foodie Friday Fun this week was spurred by that sort of activity. I’m sure you’ve been to gatherings of this sort where the host had it all together. The food came to the table all at the same time and at the appropriate serving temperature. There were no shrieks of “we forgot the rolls” midway through the meal (you rarely hear that at a seder, by the way). The snacks and drinks are out when guests arrive and the entire experience is executed with efficiency.
I’ve been to meals of a very different sort. The food comes out one dish at a time and sits on the table until everything is ready, getting cold in the process. The menu is not quite complete, usually because it wasn’t thought through carefully. That’s really the point this week – the need for thought and preparation in the kitchen. Turns out it’s critical in business too.
The two things need to go together for the cook – or businessperson – to be successful. The hosts who don’t have it all together did think about what to serve. There was thought. The problem is that they didn’t translate that thought into preparation. They didn’t have a real plan. The opposite is also true. You can prepare all you want – make various dishes – but without careful thought beforehand, the odds are that you’ll have a meal that just doesn’t work since no one wants all proteins or to have to make a last minute run to the store for the ingredients you didn’t write on your shopping list.
It’s the same in business. Not taking the time to think a project or situation through before organizing those thoughts into the various types of preparation the enterprise needs to do is futile. That preparation will have to be redone when something that wasn’t thought through comes to light. It’s nice when someone volunteers to “dive in” to a project but it’s even better when they make that dive after thinking through the depth of the pool.
I hope if you end up at a gathering of family or friends this weekend you’ll take a step back and appreciate the thought and preparation that went into the day. If it’s been done well you probably wouldn’t notice it otherwise. It’s when there isn’t thought and preparation – done together – that you do notice because things go horribly wrong. Make sense?