While today isn’t Foodie Friday, it is a major food day here at the world headquarters.
(Photo credit: martha_chapa95)
Cooking in earnest for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast begins. With that in mind, I want to revisit a post I did almost five years ago that talks about how one gets a massive project – dinner for 20+ – completed on time with all dishes hot. As I said at the time, Thanksgiving‘s biggest challenge is time.
“Time?” you’re thinking, “that’s the biggest challenge?” I’m sure you could put together a list of this week’s challenges which would contain items such as where to stash all the coats, how to fit 25 people around a table made for 12, and how to step over Uncle Elmer to get to the bathroom without waking him up. However, as the conductor of the Thanksgiving orchestra around old Rancho Deluxe here, let me assure you that the primary challenge of the day is delivering all 39 items on the menu to the table at the same time, appropriately hot or cold as required.
The key to the entire day is a timed checklist. Seriously. I take an enormous amount of crap from everyone who sees mine each year until they realize that the meal is being served at exactly the time requested by the Mrs. which happens to coincide nicely with halftime of the football game. This list is created by using back timing – something TV and radio producers do all the time. Beginning at the desired end time and factoring in the availability of necessary facilities (ovens, stove burners, etc.), you work backwards and piece together the time required for each dish until you have a road map. Anything I can knock off ahead of time (baking, prepping all the dressings, parboiling vegetables) is done up to 24 hours in advance. It even gets down to resting time for the turkeys before carving and the time it takes for the oil to heat up in the fryer. In fact, we started frying the turkeys in part because it frees up an oven late in the process. This sounds like a silly bit of overkill to get the meal ready, but it prevents you from leaving the soup in the refrigerator or forgetting you were serving carrots and finding a 20lb bag the next morning. Which is the business point as well.
Any project needs to start at the end and work backwards. You take into account the resources you need along with the human resources to produce the final product. You need to be honest about the time each step will take and once you’ve written each element down along with its appropriate time block you need to keep checking the list to be sure you’re on time every step of the way. My list even has lunch and shower time scheduled so nothing is overlooked.
I’d be happy to share my list with you but it really would only help you with your dinner a bit. The cooking facilities here are pretty damn good although we spent the money on them instead of indoor toilets (kidding). As with every project, you have to tie your back-timed list to the list of desired outcomes, the facilities you have available to you, and your own skills, whether in the kitchen or in the office.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream speech Dr. King gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I began to write about him and my memories and then I realized I had already done so in 2009. In reading it again, the thoughts seem appropriate to today as well so here is it once more, albeit slightly edited.
I’m old enough to remember Dr. Martin Luther King and while he didn’t light the fire of the civil rights movement in the US (I’d say Rosa Parks is that hero), he certainly brought the fire to life and tended it well until his assassination (and I remember that as well – how horrible a day it was!).
What inspired me, a young (then) white kid was his notion of bringing a dream to reality. OK, the words and delivery were pretty inspirational too, even when you read them off a page. Yesterday the Inauguration Committee had a concert on the very place where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech to celebrate, nearly 46 years later, a big piece of that speech coming to reality. One can’t help but wonder what Dr.King would have felt and said – he certainly should still be alive – he’d just be turning 80.
Robert Kennedy said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” I think that’s great business advice as well, even if George Bernard Shaw had the notion before Bobby. Mark Twain wrote that “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
So today, I celebrate Dr. King’s dreaming of a better world and making it happen. Tomorrow, we can watch it become real. What are you dreaming of? Can it be real? Why not? Or better – why not!!
Image via Wikipedia
Last night marked the start of the Jewish New Year. I didn’t go down to Times Square to see if they were dropping a giant knish at the stroke of sundown – probably not. L’Shana Tova – a happy and healthy New Year to all of you.
One of the things Jews do over the next 10 days (or at least are supposed to do) is to reflect on the year gone by and think about where it took you on life’s journey. It’s not really as much about looking back in my mind as it is about looking forward. Oh sure, one is supposed to think about where one strayed from life’s path in terms of dealing with other humans and human codes of conduct. We get a day of fasting next week to get that sorted out. But it’s also a time to think about a fresh start. Which, of course, promoted a business thought. Continue reading
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Finally Friday, and given yesterday’s exacta ticket of St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of the NCAA basketball tournament, I’m sure there are more than a few hangovers out there. I’ll try not to use many big words, OK?
Foodie Fridays now feature one of my favorite shows, Kitchen Nightmares. If you’ve never watched it, I think it’s worth checking out, especially since it’s really a business show. The premise is that Chef Gordon Ramsey steps in to save failing restaurants, and in most cases the sub-par food is only a fraction of the problem. Kind of like your office, right? Continue reading
Image via Wikipedia
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of glad that the Super Bowl now gets played in February. I mean, every month should have an outstanding food day. President’s Day? I don’t think so. Valentine’s Day? Maybe for some. But seriously – almost every other month has a holiday associated with a big food blow-out and now February does too. Yippee!
So what does this have to do with business? Continue reading
Today is the day we pause to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. I went back and looked at my post from two years ago, which was about dreams – specifically one of Dr. King’s dreams becoming a reality. That was sort of focused on what he saw – his vision. Today I want to focus on one of the great man’s best qualities that influenced how he acted to make that vision real. I think it’s applicable to business. No, it’s not going to be another ethics rant (although those are never out of style in my book). Today, it’s about the most important skill I think all great businesspeople – and great leaders – posses. Continue reading
It’s Friday so we’ll do something food related but it’s also New Year’s Eve so let’s have a bit of a party. Hopefully you read this screed enough to know that besides business and digital media we spend a bit of time on my two other favorite topics: golf and food. Because this is the last post of 2010, I thought it might be fun to combine them. Recipes from a golf course chef? Not a chance. Way more fun than that! Continue reading