A Lesson Learned From Chefs


I am impressed at how organized chefs are.  They undertake one task at a time: when preparing a recipe with shrimp, they will remove all the shells before de-veining; when mincing garlic, they peel all of the cloves before chopping and so on.  Because of the pressure they work under, to make a profit and turn out quality food, chefs must be organized.

Managing a construction firm, I discovered, to a large extent, the profit on a job was determined by organization. Essential to success was the ordering of materials; the sequencing of work and the organization of the job-site.

Remodeling homes with my brother, I learned the importance of completing one task before proceeding to the next: for example, completing demolition before beginning renovations.  By doing so, you could move from one task to another without tripping over uncompleted work.

Today, the distractions of technology make it difficult to organize and focus. People pride themselves on being able to multitask: jumping from project to project; making decisions on the fly and talking to one person on the phone while answering an email from another—perfect opportunities to create misunderstandings and harm relationships.

Planning, organization and focus are essential to making good decisions, performing quality work and maintaining relationships.

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Alexander Graham Bell

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5 responses to “A Lesson Learned From Chefs

  1. I agree Bill. Being present to the moment and in the moment is necessary for forming relationships.
    I’m an organized, make a list, scratch things off when they’re done, type person. Some people laugh at me for doing this, but it sure helps to keep me on track.

  2. I think I need to learn to cook like that–Ha! Good point about being organized and preparing before you get in too deep. I have a project I need to start working on, and I will take your advice to heart. Enjoyed your post, as always.

    • A blindness to details is one of my great problems. I am honest with my family, employers and friends by telling them, “You don’t want to put me in a position where I need to deal with details.” As much as I try to avoid having to do so, I must still deal with details and that is why organization is so important to me. Thank you for your comment.

  3. I was quite the opposite Bill, very poor at organisational skills which led to a lot of “inconveniences” doing my job. A hard lesson to learn, I am still learning. Yes, I salute the chefs too. They work so quickly without compromising quality.

    • In this modern world with so many distractions it is hard to organize and focus. I have gotten better at it by observing people who have jobs that force them to do so. As you said, “A hard lesson to learn.”

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