A Bowl Of Learning

This week’s Foodie Friday Fun was inspired by a salad I had for lunch yesterday. Business thinking from a salad? You bet! As I keep reminding you, we can learn from everything. So what was so special and businesslike about this particular bowl of greens?

Salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt a...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The salad in question was a chef’s salad of sorts, even though it went by another name. It was basically a pile of greens – some frisée, some watercress, a couple of various lettuces – topped by turkey, various salumi, chopped bacon, and a hard boiled egg. Not exactly the sort of thing that a cook would have to spend years in culinary school to develop. There was a dressing on the salad too – a white balsamic dressing that was a simple vinaigrette made with white balsamic. So what can we learn from this?

The salad was delicious. Every element was carefully chosen. The mortadella was not too fatty to throw off the balance, the bacon was nicely cooked, slightly smoky and not greasy. The egg was hard-boiled perfectly – not overly cooked so the white was rubbery. Even the salami and turkey were cut into perfectly bite-sized pieces, and they were terrific on their own. So where is the business lesson in all this goodness?

Even the simplest product or service can be great if it’s executed properly with the highest-quality materials. A kid could put this salad together (although you might want to cut the meats up for them) but an expert had to choose each ingredient. The cooked elements – again, very simple – were done to perfection. There wasn’t too much dressing and the salad had been carefully tossed to coat the greens without a pool of vinaigrette in the bottom of the plate.

We have a tendency in business to forget how important the ingredients are. Those are the people we hire, the simple but clear plans and presentations we deliver, and the objectivity we bring to every business decision. Every one of those ingredients needs to be the best quality we can find, since inferior ingredients mean an inferior product, even if the execution is perfect. On the other hand, imperfect execution can ruin even the best ingredients.

Simple doesn’t mean easy.  This salad reminded me of that. You?

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