The first Foodie Friday post of Spring, or maybe I should be calling it “Boozie Friday” given the topic. Either way it seems as if Spring has taken forever to get here. Now that it has arrived so too do some of my favorite sporting events, one of which is the Kentucky Derby. There are many beloved traditions associated with the first Saturday in May but the one in which most people seem to indulge is the Mint Julep which of course means bourbon, Kentucky’s whiskey.
Bourbon is aged in barrels, specifically new, charred white oak barrels. That’s right – charred. Before the raw whiskey is put into them, the barrels are “toasted.” The heat burns the wood which imparts flavor to the end product. Which is, of course, the business point today.
Many managers spend an awful lot of time trying to avoid conflict. In some cases, they legislate the conflict away – they make all the decisions and the staff is there to follow orders. I disagree. I think businesses need to be more like bourbon barrels. No, I don’t advocate burning them down. Applying heat to them in a strategic manner is, however, something in which I do believe. People need to bat ideas around. They need to have a good debate about product, marketing, resources, and anything else that affects the business and, therefore, them. Those discussions will, by their nature, generate heat. It can’t be allowed to set the entire enterprise ablaze (you want to char the barrel, not burn it up) and that’s part of the manager’s role. Heat imparts flavor – you don’t hear of any foods that are frozen to impart taste (you cook ice cream before you freeze it, wise guys).
Don’t be afraid of conflict. People will disagree and that friction can lead to better things if it’s managed properly. Letting your team know that it’s ok to have differing points of view brought to the surface is important. Ultimately the supervisor needs to help everyone reach consensus and if that’ not possible, to make a decision as to the final direction. But even if a team member’s desired course of action isn’t the one taken, knowing that they had input which was considered as one option strengthens the team. A little heat for a brief time added flavor and made for a better product.
Now where did I leave the mint?
Image via Wikipedia
Well, the power finally came back on late yesterday after five days in the dark. It was an interesting departure from broadband internet access, cable TV, and hot water. More on that next week.
For now, as promised yesterday, here is the second of our business tidbits the personal energy crisis caused me think of. Since it involves a restaurant here in town, I thought it appropriate for our Foodie Friday Fun post. We were having to eat out since cooking on the stove (the gas still works) is hard in the dark and without a range hood the place is kind of smoky and smelly (in a good way, mind you!). In the process, I learned a little something. Continue reading
Let’s end the week with some drinks. It’s Friday and that’s sort of food-related, right? I’ve written before about the “Eat This Not That” series which took a foray into the world of cocktails the other day. Turns out there was a business point to be made along with all the health talk. The newsletter featured four of the world’s healthiest cocktails since, as they put it, if you’re going for the buzz, you might as well get some benefits right? Not so much. Continue reading
One of the things that we pass over during Passover is beer. The whole yeast thing makes it a no-no and frankly, I miss it. Sure, it’s only been a few days now and I probably would not have quaffed any during this time anyway, but the thought that I couldn’t makes me want it even more so I have beer on the brain. That seemed an appropriate theme for our Foodie Fun Friday post.
No, not beer on the brain but the stuff most of us drink and call beer. If you go into most bars outside of most big cities you’re lucky to find much beyond the Bud/Miller/Coors family. As my friend Mongrel likes to remind me, that stuff isn’t beer, which is supposed to have substance, flavor, and other things not generally found in mass-produced offerings. Yet, most of us settle for what we realize, once we’ve had the real thing, is a pale (no pun intended) imitation of true brew. Which, of course, is the business lesson.
We can’t settle for what passes for something in name only. A customer service call which is a telephone chat with a customer but in which no assistance is given nor problems solved. An analysis which is a regurgitation of facts and data but which doesn’t edit them into a coherent whole. A manager who doesn’t manage people or situations. You get the point.
Enjoy a cold one this weekend – I’ll catch up to you next week.
Every bar has beer. No, not all of them stock exactly the same mix, but one can generally get something cold, frosty and satisfying in any local watering hole. Same with other beverages one can find. Lots of the same bottles sitting on shelves behind the bar no matter where you go.
Yet people have very specific preferences when talking about why they choose Bar A over Bar B. Why would that be when the primary products that draw customers – booze! – is identical? Continue reading