If you want it to work there is no short cut

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Some jobs are just plain boring

In the dim and distant past I was a Development Manager for a frozen food company.  My role was to launch new products, beef-burgers, potato waffles, ready meals, you get the idea.

Part of the job was very exciting, but part of it was as dull as dishwater.

The dull bit came first

Developing a new ready meal is not that thrilling.  Imagine creating a new chicken curry, test batch after test batch, everybody tasting it, everybody watching you, everybody a critic…

  • It needs more salt — test batch
  • Does that starch thicken properly? — test batch
  • Saffron costs how much? — test batch
  • I don’t like the mouth feel (I kid you not) — test batch
  • Now it is runnier it tastes too salty — test batch
  • That chicken is cut too small – test batch
  • The sauce is overcooked — test batch

Test after test after test. It wasn’t unheard of to create 70 or 80 versions of a recipe.  Cooking should be fun, this was tedious.  There is only so much chicken curry you can eat.

Then came the exciting bit

First production, teaching the guys in the factory to make the new recipe, winding up the new equipment, ironing out the glitches.  Chicken curry takes on a whole new meaning when somebody is pumping tonnes of it at you.

But it is a thin line between excitement and disaster.

Imagine explaining to the Factory General Manager why he had just wasted 3 days producing 150 tonnes of yellow sludge that you were busy shipping to land fill. Those guys had no sense of humour.

If you want it to work there is no short cut

You have to put in your homework, no matter how dull it is.  Your recipe must be right…  The ingredients have to be there…  The machines better work…

There is no short cut

Something to remember next time you are:

  • Investing in a new IT system
  • Building a new retail store
  • Launching a new business planning process
  • Spending huge amounts of money on …

Unless, of course, your dog likes chicken curry.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of James Lawther – View the original post

Published On: 11th Apr 2014 - Last modified: 13th Nov 2018
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