Foodie Friday and today let’s visit a question that was asked of me a couple of weeks ago. If you had one more meal to eat before you threw off this mortal coil and left us forever, what would it be? In fact, the same question was the subject of a 2007 book called “My Last Supper” in which it was answered by chefs. There was a lot of foie gras, a lot of caviar; and there was a lot of fried chicken, too. They chefs kind of broke down into two camps. There were the ones that had sort of the memory meals – their mom’s Sunday Gravy, for example – and there were people who went the fancy route of elaborate preparations.
What was notable was how often it came down to the ingredients. Generally, they wanted very simple ingredients. I think answering the question does that. Which is the business point today.
When you focus on one more meal you reflect of what you’ve enjoyed eating but it’s more than that. I think you get to the root of your own food style – simple vs. complex, technique driven vs. flavor based. You think about what is important. Businesses need to do that too (well, the people who manage them!). The last meal question demands focus. We separate the good from the great. We figure out what’s important. How can that not be an essential part of every businesses plan?
I’ve given it some thought and I don’t really have an answer yet. There are so many things I would want one more time. I’m sort of leaning to a meal that’s a composite of some great Italian food and some wonderful Cajun dishes but I’m torn. There was a simple dish of linguine and clams I had in Venice that made me weep (seriously!) that might be a candidate. I’ll keep pondering it. We all should do so for our businesses too – not about a last meal but about what’s important to us. What are the simple ingredients that make our business work? What is our essence?
The NYC Marathon is this weekend. I used to be a runner until my knees gave out although the longest race I ever ran was a half-marathon. One thing I learned while running in that and other races was the importance of pacing yourself. We all have a limited amount of energy and it was almost possible to go faster by slowing down as the energy banks were always there when I needed them.
Business is a marathon yet sometimes we get focused on the “busy” part that we forget the “better” part. One client’s office has little signs posted with a red circle over a fire alarm. In other words, no fire drills. I like that. The point is to maintain focus on the long-term business goals of the organization (the marathon) and not lighting fires by chasing short-term distractions. It means a focus on process and planning which permits better execution. When someone pulls a figurative fire alarm what inevitably happens is that those processes break down, the work is less than optimal, and often everyone walks away angry. We were busy but we weren’t better.
More isn’t always better. I don’t know about you but I’ve cut way back on many of the social media channels I use. I’ve begun cutting back the number of newsletters I see – many of them were just regurgitating the same news anyway. I want to finish the marathon hand in hand with my clients and not have either of us hit the wall many miles from the finish. I want to be better, and while it’s dangerous for a consultant to say they want to be less busy, I want to be less busy with “stuff” and more busy with substance.
How about you?
A pause from the business of business today. The folks who host the screed – WordPress – are asking bloggers to participate in a campaign to get folks ready to vote. As they put it :
WordPress.com has teamed up with the The Pew Charitable Trusts, who, along with Google, and election officials nationwide, have developed the The Voting Information Project (VIP). Together, we’re offering cutting-edge tools that give you access to the customized information you need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day
Since WordPress hosts me for free, a little giving back is always a good thing. I’m a believer in participating in the process if you’re going to complain about it or keeping your mouth shut if not. As you might have noticed I have a fairly big set of opinions although the political ones don’t show up here.
In any event, Election Day is a week off and every one of us should know the basics of where and when we can vote. Given the change (no comment) in voter ID laws in some places, you need to know that as well to be sure your vote gets cast.
We’ll be back to the usual ranting tomorrow.