I stumbled upon Kitchen Nightmares one night when I was doing some mindless tasks in the studio, and what I intended as a diversion turned into a 4 episode marathon that lasted the better part of an evening. Gordon Ramsey is brilliant at so many aspects of management, but there were three things that really stuck out to me:
- Gordon really cares about the product, not just the bottom line
Most management leaders really don’t care that much about the end product, just so long as it’s selling well, and costs are low. Gordon takes a different approach- he starts with improving the product, and then works backward into retraining management and staff. He intuitively realizes that all the coaching in the world isn’t going to sell a crappy product. As a result, the restaurants that he rehabs are almost universally successful, which also makes them profitable as a side effect. It's a great reminder to me that if I focus on the things that are most important, a lot of the other issues are going to resolve themselves.
- People will take a lot of abuse for a dream
Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I’m always afraid that I’m going to offend the people I lead. I’m afraid that if I push too hard, they’re going to bail out. While this can happen, I think that I underestimate how hard people will voluntarily work for a dream. When making hard choices, make sure that the goal you’re communicating is big enough to be worth sacrificing for, then ask for people to sacrifice for it.
- People are the most important part of any organization
I know we hear it a lot, but I think that we often forget that no matter how much great equipment and programs we have, it simply doesn’t compare to the power of a few effective, teachable people who are excited about a vision.