I've become a bit of a chef in recent years. I may not be ready for prime-time yet, but I'm told that some of the dishes that I create are worthy of a repeat performance. Food should do more than sustain us; it should bring joy and satisfaction to our days. I'm not sure what got me started cooking (grilling, mostly) but I've given careful thought to what I like about it. It's much more than the "Man meets Fire" thing. The realization came to me this week and I'd like to share it with you.
I'm a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy, but I have learned it takes more than those basic ingredients to make a memorable meal. It requires the stuff that you can't see; the magic is in the basic stock and carefully-selected, fresh spices. Then there's the love that must be poured into it. When you get those things right, the result is Special. My satisfaction comes from watching others enjoy what I've created and it makes me want to prepare the next thing. I'm inspired to keep trying and creating new things.
Turning to business, as I usually do, this realization about grilling translates perfectly. Meat and Potatoes = Employees and Customers. You can put the two together, but if that's all you have, something crucial is missing. It's the Stock and Spices, which in a business sense, create the Culture of the business. You can't "see" it, but you sure can taste it and smell it. Culture makes the recipe worth repeating, over and over again, and customers will come back for more.
It's that simple, really, and also that complex. Culture requires cultivation in the same way that a winning recipe requires thoughtful preparation. What are you cooking up? More importantly, however, what's your Secret Sauce?