Respecting The Process

It’s Foodie Friday and that has me excited because the weekend is upon us and I can spend more time cooking. Oh sure – I cook during the week but the weekend is when I get to stretch my culinary legs a bit since I don’t have work distracting me. I can watch my usual plethora of sports while chopping stuff but it’s hard to get any work done while sauteeing.

Not everything I make takes a lot of time. My kids are tired of hearing my tell them that it’s possible to make a number of dishes from scratch in less time than it would take to prepare their frozen counterparts in the oven. The weekend, however, allows me to make dishes that do take more time. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t rush certain things. You have to respect the process the dish requires. You can’t, for example, smoke a brisket in a couple of hours nor speed up the time it takes to bake a decent loaf of bread. Using higher temperatures to speed up the process will probably ruin either of those. As one of my technical team reminded me on more than one occasion, you can’t get nine women to make a baby in a month.

It’s a good business lesson. While the temptation is always there to go faster and push people to finish, certain things just take time. I’ve found that most mistakes happen when people are rushing or when they’re tired from being pushed and are stressed out. Respect the process. While I believe in Parkinson’s Law that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” I also believe in setting reasonable deadlines. If the deadline requires adjusting your thinking about what the completed work is, so be it. Sure, there are times when the team has to work overtime to stretch the “available timeframe” but like most cooking cheats (using store-bought pie crust or stock), the results are never quite as good as when we have the time to honor the process.

You know I believe in investing in the best tools in the kitchen and the best people in the workplace. Either of those can help expand your time available by allowing you to be more efficient. We still, however, need to acknowledge that even with the best tools, the best ingredients, or the best people things do take time. Enjoy that – it’s almost meditative – and have a good weekend.

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Filed under food, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

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