Beneath the shade of an old walnut tree

Recently I have developed a bit of habit in the evenings… binge-watching cooking shows.

Now, those that know me, know I do enjoy a bit of cooking, especially making anything new (fresh mozzarella anyone… the latest project, although not quite sure how this will turn out!).

These shows are great for new ideas, as well as making me very hungry late at night… but it is not the only reason I find them fascinating.

The other reason is the compelling nature of watching chefs designing new creations and the process they use to do it.

A dash of inspiration, a bucket load of hard work, together with trial and error.

All of this got me thinking about the pursuit of excellence and similar themes I started to observe in many places.


A recent holiday in Italy was a case in point – the Amalfi coast and Capri. It was wonderful, but on taking a wrong turn, down the wrong street, and getting lost I happened upon the part of town that I do not normally go to… the expensive part.

It was a world full of art galleries, perfume shops, and manicured streets; perfect hotels with perfect swimming pools, empty sun loungers, and of course wonderful food… with a view.

What is there not to like?… I had my “Fraiser Crane” moment and drank the atmosphere in.

Then the realization dawned on me that high-quality, perfected processes really are a wonderful thing to behold… albeit rather an expensive thing to buy.

And, I thought this has relevance in the real world… back at home and in the office.

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Sometimes this can be done without much thought, running the same process each day, on auto-pilot, just another thing to complete before the end of the day.

Many of us spend much of our working lives managing and operating processes.

Yes, we may say we want to achieve process excellence, but in the melee of day-to-day operations, it does not seem to happen.

The Chefs Table

Yet there are tips we can learn and use from the chef’s table right here too.

Excellence and perfection seem to be found in setting a clear single objective, then using the iterative process to tweak, test, and taste to constantly change and observe… only to then retry and retry again… hopefully getting better each day.

No doubt there are setbacks, and bad days… but the key appears to be watching and listening carefully to what works and what does not.

In the end, with dedication and practice, the process gets gradually perfected.

Yes, just running the process is important, without the basics it does not get done.

But, once we have the basics mastered, in reaching for excellence the difference between good and great, seems as much a state of mind and a great deal of practice, if anything else.

This was a source of great comfort. Excellence is something we can all achieve if we put our minds to it…

It is of course not only good news for process design and management but hopefully also for my future cheese-making endeavor too (I will let you know on this one mind you!).

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Have a good week everyone.

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