Too Many Cooks?

November 29, 2008 at 12:44 am (change, Introspection, Leadership, Musings) (, , , , , , , , , )

Imagine you had a great recipe for the best tasting smoothie.  The recipe was handed to you by a famous smoothie chef, and over the years, you’ve refined it oh-so-subtly to improve the texture, flavor, and aroma.  Over the years, you’ve gained acclaim as everyone wants to taste your smoothie.

Well, one day, you meet some new people and you tell them about your smoothie.  They seem interested and want you to make a smoothie for them.  But as you begin to pour in the ingredients, your new friends grow skeptical of what you’re doing.

“Bananas!?” They ask incredulously.  “Nobody has ever put bananas in our smoothies.”

You try to explain that bananas are the perfect smoothie fruit.  But they resist; so you leave the bananas out.

As you’re measuring out the vanilla, someone mentions that they don’t like vanilla.  They would rather you put in chocolate.  “But…but….” You cry.  No buts about it, they want chocolate.

When you begin to add the pureed peaches, someone else asks you to substitute cherries instead.  Apparently their grandmother used to make the best cherry-chocolate milkshakes and suddenly they want to relive that memory.  Again, you protest.  We’re not making milkshakes, we’re putting together a world class smoothie.  Something beyond their wildest dreams.

At this point, there seems to be no point in continuing with your demonstration.  The healthy, wholesome, delicious smoothie isn’t going to emerge.  So, you graciously step aside and offer the chef’s hat to someone else.

“Oh no!” They protest.  “We want you to make the smoothie.”

After much friendly discussion, you ask if you can start from scratch and make the recipe you started to make.  “Of course!  That’s what we want.  We want your famous smoothie to taste.”

But as you step up to the counter again, several voices murmur that it would be a shame to waste what you’ve already started.  Just add some more ingredients to the mixture already started.  It can’t be that different, they say.  Just keep going.

So, now, what do you do?  Do you continue with this strange concoction, or start over?  If you keep making this smoothie as directed by the crowd, what will it turn out to be like?  But, will they let you make the drink you know and love?

If you finish what they have started, they will never trust you to make another smoothie again.  But if you don’t cooperate with their collective effort, they may grow frustrated with your stubbornness.

How many cooks are best for this broth?

Or, a better question… do people always want what they think they want?


1 Comment

  1. rog said,

    interesting analogy given our phone call today. Good….

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