Business is like cooking…

I love to cook.

I’m a lousy cook – one that only my two kiddos can truly appreciate — but since I haven’t burned the house down yet, I’m not horrid…. just not a great cook.

The other day I was making chili in anticipation for the upcoming week; making batches of ready to heat and eat meals. But my chili – which had started as a great, soupy feast as it was cooking – turned thick in a hurry. I’d not paid attention; I’d not balanced the ratio of liquids to other ingredients so that I’d get the kind of chili that the kids and I eat.

So during this last week, amidst my culinary adventures, I was working with a colleague who has, to say the least, had a crappy life lately. If a truck were coming in his general direction, I have no doubt it would blindside him just as many of life’s little hiccups have seemingly done to him in the last month.

In our regular conversation of syncing up due dates, commitments to clients and such, I got a bit…. pushy? Well, truth be told, just down right insensitive about all the things that had landed on my plate while he licked his wounds.

As a good leader, a good project manager, a good colleague…. even just as a good person in general… it helps to take a bit of advice from that old folk-rock band, The Byrds. Yes, they, and the Book of Ecclesiastes, are right: there is a season for everything. Or as my folks used to say: there’s a time and a place for everything.

There’s a time to scold that colleague that they’re letting things slip, and there’s a time to be a good empathetic soul who just listens. There’s a time to call your best friend on their stupidity, and there’s a time to just let it be… knowing they’ll figure it out in their own good time.

My advice (that I will now be sure to take myself!): Business, leadership, collegiality — they’re all a bit like cooking. It’s all about balance.

Category: Organizational Management

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