11 Jan

Mis-en-place a recipe for success

About a million years ago, when I was studying at hotel school I learned about and practised the french discipline of ‘mis-en-place’.

Roughly translated it means, “putting in place” or “everything in its place”.  This practise is not just a term, but actually a way of life for any chef who wants to have a highly organised, productive and efficient kitchen. To ensure a successful end-result, which would be happy customers eating well prepared dishes, you should always have all of the ingredients, utensils, equipment and staff at the ready before even thinking about starting any cooking.

How does this have anything to do with business you may be thinking? Well, it is extremely relevant and pretty simple. If you want to be successful, to work smarter not harder, you need to be pre-prepared before heading out into the big wide world of business.


In the kitchen these would be the very best fresh produce, meats, dry goods, herbs and spices. Think about why you would go to a restaurant and order a specific dish. Is it because it’s something you cannot create yourself? Is it something not commonly available, so unique, so indulgent that it makes your mouth water just thinking about it, and you know for certain that you just have to order it?

In business, your ingredients would be your products and/or services. Do you believe your products and/or services are unique to your target audience and that the value they add is so good that your customers will return, because they cannot purchase it anywhere else, or that it is so good they just have to have it? If not, what would you need to do to make your products and/or service a high demand item or service?

Equipment and utensils

Depending on the desired end result, the chef  could use something as simple as a chef’s knife or as complex as a food processor. It just depends on the need.

In business I would equate this to your systems and processes. Do you believe you have the best procedures and structures in your business to guarantee the best outcomes? Do your processes allow you to work smarter, cut out the unnecessary clutter and provide the customers with the best service?

If not, what would you need to do in order to make this a reality?


A restaurant can have the best location, state of the art equipment and top notch suppliers, but if the staff working in the kitchens as well as in the front of house are unskilled and incompetent you might as well close your doors.

Think about the team members in your business, or if you are a one-man band, think about our own skills and capabilities. Are you able to deliver on what you are promising and not stopping there, what is the self-development plan for the future?

What is the mis-en-place that you need to do in your business to ensure that you are on the road to success?

02 Feb

To Delegate or not to delegate? 5 things to keep in mind

Delegation can be a wonderful thing or it can land up being your worst nightmare. Your feelings about delegation may depend on past positive or negative experiences, your personality type, how you view control and how confident you are to relinquish control  to someone else.

However, we know that if we don’t delegate and try to do everything ourselves we limit ourselves and our business growth.

To get it right and to avoid the nightmare of everything going wrong, here are a few ideas you can keep in mind when delegating to your colleagues, team members and suppliers.

1. They are not you

The sooner you come to terms with the fact that the person you are delegating to is not you, and therefore will not execute the plan in precisely the same way as you, the better it is for everyone concerned. Yes, you may have better attention to detail, but they may work better under pressure. Everyone brings their own strengths to the table and everyone will complete a task in their own unique way. Just remember, their manner is not wrong if the  performance standards have been met along the way and the goal has been achieved.

Allow them to take control of the project or task. Let them take ownership. Give them authority.

2. Know the capabilities of the person you are delegating to

For you the task may be simple and something you could achieve with your eyes closed. This may not be the case for the person you are delegating to. Before you hand over the task, put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to see the task from their perspective. It may be a breeze, but it also may be quite overwhelming, stressful and a real stretch for them. By understanding their capabilities and limits you can work with them. Remember they are not you, so go into the delegation process with your eyes wide open.

3. It’s not over till its over

To delegate successfully you need to understand that you still play a part in the project execution, your role however has just shifted from “doer” to “observer”. You are sadly mistaken if you think that you can completely wash your hands of the task after giving out instructions.

Depending on the length of time it will take to complete the task as well as how complicated the task is, it is always a good idea to install a few safety nets. Decide prior to the start of execution together with the person who is performing the task how often they will be checking in with you and reporting back on how the task is progressing.  No safety nets can result in disastrous outcomes.

4. Have realistic expectations

As we have already established this person who you are delegating to is not you. Therefore your personal  abilities with regards to achievable time frames, required resources and skill set is not necessarily theirs. Prior to pushing the go button on the project, be very clear what both parties expectations are.

Agree and sign off on method of execution, time frames, resources, additional training or assistance. Making things transparent from the beginning will save huge amounts of time, energy and money and less headaches.

5. To delegate or not to delegate?
Yes, there are tasks and projects that you cannot and shouldn’t delegate. This would be based on your job function and level of responsibility. The general always has the final say on the attack strategy, the CEO will always have final sign off on a new business initiative and IT manager will always be the keeper of the master passwords.
Think about what your speciality is. Why are you in the business? What is your area of expertise? Why would you want to delegate these tasks or projects out? You may just delegate yourself out of a job. If that is the plan and you wish to move on or shift roles in the business, then go ahead and implement a succession plan. But if not, hold onto the reason why you are there and the unique value that you add.
Need assistance and want to utilise the services of a business coach? contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz