Food for Thought

Like many of us, I have an interest in good food and good business.  In recent days I have been following the George Calombaris story in the press and it’s brought up a few key principles in business that are worthwhile remembering.

But before the sharpened knives of the “blame game” come out to cut down this tall poppy, let’s acknowledge that entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted.  Calombaris, together with his business partners took risks.  It is the nature of entrepreneurship to take risks, lead with passion, grow and build brands, put personal reputations on the table, hire, fire, serve clients etc.

As his tale unfolds, the course that Calombaris is currently being served poses lessons that all of us in business can learn from.  The following thoughts are a taster…

As Entrée: it takes courage to put yourself out there as the brand and as a person. It means that when things are going well, you remain humble. And when it’s not going that well, fails or falters, it’s going to be tough on you personally.

Key ingredients: How I show up (especially in the tough times) determines how I will be regarded respected and remembered.

Matched with: the question – As a leader, how do I show up? In different situations – whether under stress or otherwise. Who am I being? Am I aware enough of my own beliefs, behaviours and attitudes, and how these ‘rub off’ on those around me?

As Main Course: with the sizzling pace of fast growth that Calombaris experienced comes the need to efficiently fill the capability needed to build sustainability.  Late last year we witnessed his issues with payroll.  No doubt other aspects of his enterprise probably lacked the depth of skills needed to keep his plates spinning.

When we start our businesses, they are generally small enough for us to do pretty much most things that that business needs to keep going. Chief cook and bottlewasher.

But as it grows, we need to remind ourselves that we are good at some things and not others – that there are people passionate about the things that we are not.  Calombaris’s story reminds me of the need to put the right skills in the right areas of the business. Being one of the most creative chefs in the country doesn’t mean that you’re a good business manager, payroll specialist, etc.

Key ingredients: For my own business that means I need to trust others to do the stuff that they are good at, and passionate about. And frankly, it’s a reminder that I’m crap at doing many things in my own business (and that is “OK”).

Matched with: Knowing that – to avoid too many cooks in my kitchen, I need to be clear about roles and responsibilities, delegate to skilled and reliable people. Trust that – as a team we are going to cook up a feast!

To Finish: in leadership I must be courageous in every step I take. Business is not for the faint hearted and the risks I take and the decisions I make have consequences that effect more than just me. Regardless of the outcome, I must own it, fully.

Matched with: Surround myself with “A-Players.”  Find the right people to grow my business with me.  Be OK with the fact that the right players today may not be up for the journey.  Know that at times I need to change my ingredients – and hence my menu to ensure a winning team in an ever changing environment.

Bon appetite.

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