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Get back in the kitchen

Updated: Dec 7, 2018



There is a scene in The Simpsons, the king of sitcoms, where Homer goes to the Japanese restaurant. He orders the blowfish. Now the blowfish is the mostly poison, with a little bit of tantalising meat around the certain death. To not kill you, the puffer fish must be cut with the utmost precision, and incredible skill.


In the episode, the capable and trained chef isn’t in the kitchen. He’s having a tryst with Miss Krabappel in a car. When the apprentice makes the right call to go for help, he tells the apprentice to do it.


Now the apprentice has no idea what he’s doing. He gives it a go. But the assumption is that he’s poisoned our favourite yellow buffoon.


The rest of the episode is Homer waiting for death. With a sigh of relief, Homer greets the dawn of a new day.


A happy ending. But whilst “just do it” is a wonderful tag line. It sucks to hear it from your manager.


A Deloitte report claims 87% of millennials rate growth and development as important to them. They want to understand, to challenge and to grow. They want to learn to cut a blowfish.


How we treat our juniors, how we nurture and train them matters. And with the current generation, it matters more than ever.


Very often, I hear of ‘sink or swim’. We tell them to cut up a blowfish, leave them to it and deal with the consequences later.


But this shows up sink or swim for what it is; it isn’t a developmental technique, it is simply the absence of any development at all.


Believing in development how to get and retain your people, and for them to perform at the level you need. Anything else is then just chopping aimlessly at a deflated, poisonous fish.


Thus, it’s time to get back in the kitchen.


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