Creating a successful business venture is much more of an elaborate adventure than cooking dinner. Some of the ideas may be the same, but the functionality of the process can be radically different. How many cooks have made a junior mistake of misreading the ingredient list and adding a tablespoon when a teaspoon was required? A pint is much different than a liter. We must not only get the right ingredients, we must also get the right amount in the right order.
In any organization where multiple people are involved there is a high risk for directions to get lost in translation. When we mix in different cultures, different backgrounds, and different expectations the intended request and produced outcome can make for a humorous or forehead slapping result. We must ensure that we are Translating our Expectations in a language our people understand. This means we must understand our people.
Understand Your Team: Your team is integral to success. They bring the skills, the talents, the flavor needed for the perfect dish. We hope they walk in ready to succeed. Their passion is the source of either success or failure. Do you understand their desires? Do you understand what drives them? Knowing your team well means that you can speak to the heart of what motivates them. This helps you get them ready to work your plan and find success in your mission.
Face Your Failures: As you learn to cook, you make mistakes. These mistakes help you understand different types of food and cooking processes. People will make different type of mistakes. As the leader, it is critical that you navigate your team through the failures of high pressure environments. Train your team to learn from failures. This translates into honest communication. There will come times when they get stuck. Great leaders create a culture where employees speak up when they are stuck. We learn together and prepare ourselves for a better future. The best dishes are not a recipe well followed, but the product of a cook who has the experience to know what to add and when. That experience is born from failures.
Define the Objectives: Understanding your team and learning from your mistakes are great qualities of good leaders. However, they only get you so far. A cook that is “one with the food” and patiently learning from bad recipes may be still quite hungry. We must understand that objectives are set to reach our outcomes. Objectives are not just big picture ideals. They have smaller components that lead us to the larger outcome. A good stew is the sum of its parts. The potatoes work because they were cleaned, cut, and placed in the broth. Having potatoes in a bowl does not a stew make. Each person must be consistently fulfilling their objectives as a function of the whole. Help your team break it down. Help your team execute the plan. Help your team intentionally succeed.